The Post‐Industrial “Shop Floor”: Emerging Forms of Gentrification in San Francisco's Innovation Economy

John Stehlin

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Abstract

The San Francisco Bay Area in California is undergoing a technology‐driven wave of growth arguably more thoroughgoing than the first “dot‐com” bubble, fueling hypertrophic gentrification and tales of a deeply class‐divided, “Blade Runner kind of society”. While Silicon Valley is still the industry's employment center, San Francisco is seeing faster tech firm growth, and is transforming its downtown to become more “livable” and promoting public space as key to innovation. In this context, this paper offers a reading of urban public space not just as a consumption amenity but also as the “shop floor” of a labor process that goes beyond the walls of the firm to mobilize the social itself in the production of privately appropriated value. With innovation now the watchword of gentrification, the stakes of this shift oscillate between the total commodification of urban vitality and the recognition of the social process of value production itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-493
JournalAntipode
Volume48
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sept 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • gentrification
  • innovation
  • technology
  • San Francisco
  • public space

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