“The social media giant announced plans to erect a community development a mere 1.5 miles from the Menlo Park, Calif. sprawl. The $120 million, 630,000 square-foot complex will house 394 units including studio apartments and three-bedroom apartments, with a handful of units set aside for non-Facebook employees and low-income residents.” from Time Magazine
I can understand the hardship that employees in the bay area are feeling in terms of availability, affordability, and commute time. The economics are compelling for companies to offer solutions, and they may get some extra impetus from shortening the commutes, protecting trade secret by having employees mostly hang out with other employees, and easing housing for new recruits. This seems to be a natural next step from having corporate bus services replacing public transportation, the way Google has been doing it in San Francisco. But it gives me a chill that we are losing something important.
Having employer subsidized housing could spread in the non-profit domain as we have been describing with Foundation Housing. With Foundation Housing, I hope it would be very different, in that it catches on enough that there would be many buildings to choose from and have each building have people from many non-profits. That would be synergy non-profit style: mixing between groups– which is not what companies want. But in early days, when there are few Foundation Houses, it may overlap on the disadvantages as well as the advantages. This should be watched carefully.
I can not help thinking the corporate enclaves superimposed on public infrastructure is a drastic and not healthy turn. I hope our cities persevere.