Oct 9 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
UC Berkeley economic geographer Richard Walker will be speaking on his new book:
“Pictures from A Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area”
About the Book
This exploration begins by tracing the concentration of IT in Greater Silicon Valley and the resulting growth in start-ups, jobs, and wealth. This is followed by a look at the new working class of color and the millions earning poverty wages. The middle chapters survey the urban scene, including the housing bubble and the newly exploded metropolis, and the final chapters take on the political questions raised by the environmental impact of the boom, the fantastical ideology of TechWorld, and the tech-led transformation of the region.
About the Author
Richard A. Walker is professor emeritus of geography at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Living New Deal Project, whose purpose is to inventory all New Deal public works sites in the United States and recover the lost memory of government investment for the good of all.
“San Francisco has battened from its birth on instant wealth, high tech weaponry, and global commerce, and the present age is little different. Gold, silver, and sleek iPhones — they all glitter in the California sun and are at least as magnetic as the city’s spectacular setting, benign climate, and laissez-faire lifestyles. The cast of characters changes, but the hustlers and thought-shapers eternally reign over the city and its hinterland, while in their wake they leave a ruined landscape of exorbitant housing, suburban sprawl, traffic paralysis, and delusional ideas about a market free enough to rob the majority of their freedom. Read all about it here, and weep.” —Gray Brechin, author, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
“Too many studies of cities dwell on their peculiarities; this fascinating book balances the dramatic story of the Bay Area against a profound understanding of urbanization. It eschews a descriptive narrative in favor of hard-hitting critical analysis. The book is not only about the inherently contradictory development of the San Francisco region, but also about where it stands in relation to the rest of the United States, even the world and why it matters so much. No one but Richard Walker combines such an intimate knowledge of one city with the theoretical insights necessary to make sense of it.” —Kevin Cox, author, The Politics of Urban and Regional Development and the American Exception
“Debunking the Horatio Alger-promotional blather of self-flattering tech moguls, the real Bay Area comes into view, based on nurses and teachers, drivers and clerks, homeless and the desperate. Real estate bubbles have given way to tech bubbles which have given way to housing bubbles, and now have given way to a chimerical prosperity that is as fragile as any of the prior ones.” —Chris Carlsson, San Francisco historian and co-founder, Critical Mass
“Walker has given us a brilliantly accessible and fact-laden political economy of the San Francisco Bay Area—America’s richest and fastest changing metropolis. Pictures of a Gone City explains both the miracle of Silicon Valley and the heavy price, in growing inequality, unaffordability, and environmental impact, that the Bay Area is paying for it.” —Wendy Brown, author, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution
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