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