The NY Times provides a balanced piece about the benefits the 1% can bring to a downtown neighborhood. San Fran’s Market Street has always amazed me. Before Twitter showed up, you could walk 300 yards from the Embarcadero BART stop and be in a different world. Whether Twitter’s presence at 1355 Market Street is the sole cause of the recent neighborhood upgrading remains an open question. As an urban economist, I would be interested in knowing what new restaurants have located nearby? Have local public school API scores jumped with new Twitter kids moving into the area’s new housing? Has crime fallen? Has crime fallen because the police have stepped up patrols there? In a zero sum game, where did these new patrols used to patrol? Are the properties near 1355 Market Street now being restored and repaired? From the city’s tax appraiser’s data —- how much has local property tax revenue increased by? Given that the city has introduced time of day parking prices, has it considered charging more for parking close to Twitter? Such price discrimination would allow the city to engage in some land value capture. What high tech firms gain from being close to Twitter? Are they leasing commercial property nearby? This case study provides an opportunity to study how a center city can revitalize itself. While all jobs used to be in the city center, we now consider it a rarity when a major company chooses to locate downtown. Center cities would be stronger if this became a more common place event. The environment is protected when more activity concentrates in center cities. Compared to their Facebook rivals, the Twitter nation has a smaller carbon footprint as they walk to work and commute by public transit.
UPDATE: For those who want to see the content of a UCLA undergraduate class on Environmental Economics, I have posted all of my lectures, notes and readings here.