Blaming Amazon is a total cop out. The death of "cool Seattle" started before Amazon was even a thought in Bezo's head.
It's also funny that many of the people complaining about this issue were first wave gentrifiers pushing out people before them in an effort to get to the hot neighborhoods. It's frustrating how many Seattleites refuse to admit their own hand in this process. Never mind the fact that your Ad Agency's contract with Amazon allowed you to buy that house.
Anyways, everyone in the region knows the "new Seattle" is Tacoma. So if you really want that "dive bar but might get stabbed" vibe you can move there?
This, right here, is what drives me the most nuts about all of the complaining. Of the handful of native-born Seattleites I know (yes, yes, anecdotes don't make data, I get it), they're split about half and half between "meh, who gives a rat's butt" and "holy shit my family is rich for the next nine generations because my parents got divorced in the mid-90s and both of them bought a house in [Ballard | LQA | Capitol Hill | Magnolia] and they've said that's my inheritance."
There's a poster on reddit who typifies this to a T. He regularly whines and moans about the construction, traffic, noise, and people around his place on Capitol Hill. The thing is, in his rants, he gripes about how things were so much different when he moved here 20ish years ago. He refuses to see that HE was also a "dirty gentrifier" considering people didn't move to the Hill in 1997 who weren't looking for that hippy cool vibe and bar doors you could get all kinds of exotic diseases by simply walking past.
Cities change. They always change. Sometimes they change in ways a particular person likes; sometimes they don't. But this whole business of "good Seattle" is just crap.
> everyone in the region knows the "new Seattle" is Tacoma
I've been to Tacoma several times. They can keep it.
Sometimes I think people on the west coast seem to think of a city as a place that's supposed to stay the same forever ("forever" being defined as starting at about 1960).
The lower east side was a German neighborhood, then a Jewish, Italian and Ukrainian. Dutch before that, of course. Then the Italians moved to Little Italy. It mostly became a Hispanic neighborhood. The Ukrainians mostly moved away and the Jews mostly moved away. The north of the neighborhood sort of became Japanese and Chinatown sort of started encroaching on the south and Little Italy slowly declined. Artists and then eventually giant condos started moving in. As you walk around you can still see marks left behind by the groups that departed many decades ago. For example, a few buildings still have prominent German inscriptions on the front, from Little Germany's high point in the 1880s – the Germans were gone by around 1900. You have no doubt whatsoever that your turn there is temporary. A city is a place of constant change. You are every bit a part of that constant change. But the city will slowly move on without you.
Don't expect anything to last longer than 10 years.
No, forever is defined as "the day after _I_ moved in"
But that’s why we have to be very clear about rejecting the complaints this mood inspires. I don’t want to tell people they’re wrong to have these feelings. They are perfectly valid and normal feelings. But those feelings don’t outweigh the benefits of allowing the functional and unavoidable change that happens in neighborhoods over time.
And when you really start to dig deep into the types of things people want to do to stop this change, you end up with well-meaning, but ultimately counterproductive interventions. And that’s the nice way to say it; much of what incumbents want to do to prevent the free flow of people into and out of neighborhoods is positively dystopian.
I am sure there are reasonable things we can do to help more people afford and benefit from booming cities like Seattle, New York, and San Francisco. (For starters, we can build more housing!) But the language of gentrification is such that one new luxury tower in a sea of affordable housing is now opposed in cities like Cleveland and St. Louis on the grounds that it will change its immediate neighborhood.
That sort of stuff isn’t just nonsense; it’s harmful nonsense.
It turns out that it's really hard to be against communities democratically controlling their own destinies and not look like a monster. Local governments and the policies they make to preserve their built environments are about as pure and non-corrupt as democracy gets.
Does any place in America have high-density market-rate construction because the community genuinely supports it? Far as I can tell, it's only possible to have a city in America when the government is sufficiently corrupt / community is sufficiently disempowered that developers can cram it through.
I'm grateful for these places. I'm happy to live in one. But you have to recognize that cities in America are only possible to the extent that America is corporatist and undemocratic. Any strengthening of our communities, our democracy, or local government has always and will always reinforce the overwhelming majority support for sprawl and "fuck you, I got mine."
I know what I sound like when I get deep enough into a rant about the way in which Americans fetishize local control. But I still think that what I am proposing would generate the best outcomes for the most number of people.
In my experience this isn't a west coast thing - it's just the cities here are "newer" (compared to the east coast) so haven't quite graduated to the density and usage characteristics that modern large metropolises have.
I find that what you're describing is the standard Boomer longing for the "good old days" applied to the cities they probably showed up in during their 20s. Or how they pictured them anyhow.
Usually they're the worst NIMBYs.
It’s a joke, but it’s also true: my high street had two pubs that had been around from the 1700s, a tourist information center that’s from the 1500s, and - in the middle of the shopping center - a ruined chapel from the 1130s.
That some places here are all excited about being founded in the 1850s took some adjusting to when I first moved. For me that was the age of my friends small houses...
In the US that’s likely “sit on this one highway for about 90 minutes”. In the UK you’d have to have do a ton of road changes and work around or through several major towns and cites.
It’s just lots more dense. So it’s less that it’s a “long way” - it’s more a pain in the ass to drive 100 miles most of the time.
Now, you have displacement, but few people feel prosperous. You also have old signals of nice neighborhoods disappear as people don’t marry, push back having babies, and utilize daycare. There is zero new construction, zero, that is with reach of a median income family. The old ethnic neighborhood where you knew your neighbor is dead. But we have that image burned into our consciousness.
The Seattle subreddits (both of them, because drama) are particularly toxic as far as city forums go. Not exactly sure why, but there seem to be a lot of people who have nothing better to do than post angry rants all day. I had to unsubscribe.
It’s mostly accepted. Growing up we learn to ignore it, avoid these people, or enjoy getting caught up in sterile discussions.
Maybe if you are talking about which vibe is your favorite. But cities can definitely go the wrong direction on quality of life, with increased pollution, decreased walkability/bikeability, safety, access to nature, and so on. And that might be objectively bad/good.
I echo this sentiment here in Boise, Idaho, and we seem to be in the middle of this change. Companies all over being recruited into the Treasure Valley, and the cities here are dealing with these growing pains of being an attractive place to live that has jobs and low unemployment.
Some of the "locals", however, seem to think we can have economic prosperity and growth without the negative externalities that sometimes accompany it. I think the "locals" would be happier in small towns a few hours outside of Boise, where they're not really changing (although brain drain is a bit of an issue in rural America).
Living in a growing city is much better than living in a dying city. Ask Detroit or the hundreds of them in middle America. They'd swap in a hot minute.
Then there are forgotten cities, that have good employment and affordable housing, but aren't as sexy such as Minneapolis, Raleigh-Durham, maybe even Chicago.
I'm currently in LA and the exodus is real. It sucks for people that grew up here since the wages aren't great in most jobs, housing is out of reach, and they want to be around their family.
Seattle has been dying before, particularly when it was more dependent on Boeing who would go bust every 10 or so years. Seattle will probably die and be reborn again.
Thing is, I remember the 'old' version of the city. Almost zero tech jobs. One of the current most popular places for hanging out, restaurants and bars was a place you never went after dark (or much in the day time). Infrastructure was much worse (one of the more popular places to live now had a sulfur problem with the water so it smelled and tasted horribly). I understand the frustration with growth, but I like the new version city much better than old, and hope it continues.
Almost zero tech jobs.
I moved here in 99, part of an influx at Microsoft. I interviewed there on a Friday, stayed the weekend to get familiar with the area, and flew out on Sunday. As we are leaving, my wife and I sat at the airport gate wondering why we would ever want to sell our full two-story, 2800-sq-ft brick Tudor in our hip east coast neighborhood to pay $300 more per month for an 1100-sq-ft 2br apartment in Seattle. Three other couples within listening distance were doing the exact same thing, with a few of the ladies in tears. Everyone was struggling with the same thing -- a job offer in hand (I got mine same day), but how can we ever afford to live there?
We decided to come to Seattle. We bought a house in the confluence of Wallingford, GreenLake, and the U-District. On a bus, it was 15-20 minutes downtown -- and that includes stopping in Fremont and getting stuck at the bridge every day. The south side was much more sketchy (our impression) and we didn't really know anyone who recommended that side of town.
Nowadays, the commute is much longer and the houses around us are all much nicer. Few can afford to move, so everyone is remodeling their existing house.
This notion of "old Seattle" being wiped out has been happening for a long time, and it didn't start with Amazon -- they're just the latest flavor to blame.
As somebody who's lived there my whole life, :(
I know we were just ranked the most violent city in Washington (or something) but tbh it's never _felt_ that way.
I moved to Seattle in 1978 after graduating with MSEE. So I have seen a lot of changes over the years, but my family going back generations have seen even more.
I recall fondly living on Queen Anne Hill (first hill north of downtown) which was my first place here in Seattle. I rode the trolley to work every day and would stop by and get coffee at a goofy place down in Pike Place Market called "Starbucks" and would tell people at work " hey you gotta try this Italian coffee, it's really good".
But the "old Seattle", pre-Amazon and pre-Microsoft had a real grungy industrial patina to it (maybe that is where the music got influence?).
Do I Love the old Seattle? Absolutely. Do I long for it? Not in the least. Every phase this great city has gone through has changed it, before Amazon, Microsoft, before that Boeing before that Weyerhaeuser. Each transformation, in my view, has brought in new people and new character and for me, I welcome it.
I am going to post here a poem from a book of poems my Great Grandmother wrote for family back in Germany. It is about this area as it think it expresses my view of the changes, maybe I see it the way she did?
The Sleeping Washington
The forest, a sound is not quiet in.
Washington sleeps and with nature.
Small bird mutely and the bear rests hidden,
Fleeting often only one deer hurries as frightened.
Even the Pine Trees, deliberate,thoughtful and old,
Bend the heads and nod soon.
Slumber sweetly, only lock the eyes,
Know not for a long your power rests.
If light clouds in the sky draw
And your persistent rushing wind shakes.
Sleep only, State of Washington, as child.
Sunday is today, in the solemn silence The forest is.
The serious pines their treetops bends as to the prayer.
But the environment of God's spirit and breath everywhere.
So I want to bend myself in deep humility Before you,alone
With fervency, for your benediction ask you, God the father.
Retain also all my serene love
Also ask I you, carry here a flowering Of colonies;
With work, quite soon, railways, churches, schools, Culture drawn in
The jungle country, a rich bit of earth in Washington.
Therefore, I beg you, O Father, Thy blessing
that it draws them not.
But I have to admit that I'm having trouble understanding the last line. The author begins by extolling the quiet beauty of Washington state, continues by thanking god that she can be a part of it, then asks for the benefits of new growth (a "flowering of colonies"). But then it concludes with "I beg you...that it draws them not". This seems to contradict the previous part. Or is she hoping that they are not drawn to the jungle country, so "the rich bit of earth" can remain untouched?
Please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules from now on.
Have you lived in any other big cities? I am not from Seattle, but have lived there and extensively been told about this 'old Seattle.' I imagine there was indeed something perhaps a little bit special going on below that grungy, steely grey patina. Not just aesthetically, but pragmatically.
When Hendrix went into the military, he was called a weirdo. He was caught masturbating in the toilet, which was listed as a reason he was subsequently discharged after twisting his ankle on a jump.
Kurt Cobain one of my favourite artists, also, a weirdo. By today's standards of rape, he did rape a retarded girl in order to lose his virginity.
Layne Stayley... A bullied, self-destructive drug addict with a history of self-harm. Even after some early successes, he was kind of like Musk in the sense of receiving a lot of bullying among all the praise (for example, Hetfield frequently made fun of him).
Some of the most important people in defining Seattle as producing great artists were, perhaps, prone to failure in life.
In the city I grew up in, under the shadow of glitz, glamour and wealth, we have high occurence of violence, aggression, intolerance for deviance and a strange love of veneers of wealth and success. I can imagine not all the great artists who grew up here made it.
Also, I would wonder what would happen to those guys if they were born today.
I hoped to erase some personally-identifying info, and also just be clear about Cobain's rape or sexual encounter with a disabled girl--while that sentence came after I mentioned him as one of my favourite artists, millions of people appreciate him but I in no way condone that unfortunate aspect of his life.
And the "weirdo" part should be in quotes, his superiors in the military unfortunately called him that.
You know what everyone bitched about then? Microsoft. And MS has done more to take over sections of the city than Amazon ever has, and ever will. Microsoft "killed" Seattle's soul by setting up shop in Redmond and Bellevue and causing urban flight. (Note: I don't particularly believe any of this stuff.)
Now Amazon is the new target. Whatever. Fair enough, that always happens. But Seattle was "dying" just like every other West Coast tech city before the bigger players got there.
What's not cool is railroading "techbros" who are merely 23 year old graduates making good money working a job they probably don't necessarily like very much, but living in a city that is still pretty damn awesome regarding quality of life. And regressive housing practices are driving prices up north of the Bay Area in some locations, all legacy policies that were long on the books before any of this expansion occurred.
Worse yet, trying to make tech people feel bad just for finding a job they actually like and going to a city where those jobs exist! If only we could all be so lucky. Like the job or not, I haven't seen very much indication that people are going into tech in droves just for the money (unlike what I assume you see in banking).
Oh, and the traffic has always been beyond abysmal, Seattle. You know it, and I know it.
Funny, I know more people who have moved from the PNW to CA and particularly the Bay Area than the opposite. Offhand I can only think of one person who moved north who wasn't returning 'home' after college.
My home state of N Carolina has a lot of people move down for more affordable housing and decent jobs from up north. The city of Cary (near Raleigh) is casually joked about as the Central Area for Relocated Yankees.
No one really cares outside of joking about their poor tastes in sports teams.
Before Weyerhaeuser Filson, Nordstrom and the gold rush ruined Seattle.
Before the gold rush the Denny Party ruined Seattle.
I don't think I would describe a single one of the programmers I've ever worked with as a "bro."
The poor in Seattle are actually mostly allied with the landlords politically in maintaining the zoning status-quo. This is what has led to the increasing housing prices.
Yep, and that part is sad. To me it feels like they're projecting the few arrogant new-hires' attitudes onto everybody. Also, as a female dating in Seattle, there's the all-to-real reality that one eventually picks up on the stereotype of the inflated-ego-Amazon-guy. This happens to the point of people refusing to date those that work at Amazon.
I used to work there, and I feel the same about the stupid egos TBH. I just feel that I choose to apply that assessment selectively rather than across all Amazon employees.
Seattle as a whole could have/ should have done a better job planning for that growth and taking advantage of the opportunities it presents.
An urban campus will promote urban housing which is dramatically more energy efficient than single family homes.
Further, commuting from a condo building to an office tower (or whatever) is very likely to not involve a car and to involve significantly more walking - so you have positive environmental and public health externalities there.
... and then there are networking effects as the new condo building needs a new neighborhood cafe which needs a new bus station and bulb-outs for bike lanes ...
Fast forward 20 years and you have a new train line.
While it's definitely a terrible idea to fossilize a city, some parts of town are entirely unrecognizable, even from what they looked like three years ago. I don't long for the SLU of old or the abandoned lots of the Denny triangle, but there was an entire "sense of place" that was wiped out almost overnight. The wrong people are blamed for it, but I can completely understand where the grievances originate.
I'd place the blame most squarely on the NIMBY establishment and our single family zoning. There were bound to be growing pains from all this growth, but they didn't have to be so extreme. If we could upzone Magnolia and Wallingford, it would give the CD/south seattle renters quite a bit of relief.
I also think that the HQ2 stuff has much more to do with hitting the limits of our transit and housing infrastructure than the leftward swing of city politics, but that's probably best left to another post.
Seattle native who also grew up on Capitol Hill, and still lives here. As a home owner since the late 90s, the Amazon boom has dramatically increased my net worth.
But that said, I'd much rather have the house be worth $300k if it would mean the last 7 years hadn't happened. It's really been too much, too fast. I didn't buy a house here to get rich, I bought here because my family and friends are here.
The thing that really bugs me is the loss of community, and what exists where the sense of community used to be: crowding, the ever increasing spread of pockets of artificiality, pretentious restaurants, luxury cars swarming the hill, and outsiders absolutely as far as the eye can see.
Furthermore, if you look at the responses in this in comments on Reddit, or in comments on articles, you can see the response we get for saying that that the wholesale destruction of our community makes us uncomfortable: "shut up you fucking ingrate", or my favorite, from people who actually believe that they are liberal, "yeah, it sucks that people can't afford it, but I got mine".
We are talking about the wholesale, unchecked destruction of entire communities. Virtually all of my friends who don't own property are gone. We have neighbors from China who don't talk to anyone. Everyone is from someone else, and just here to consume or make it big or whatever. The property values are attracting people with real wealth and/or speculators, and if I wanted to live around Yuppie Gentrifiers, I would have moved to Madison Park.
There is very little sense of community left. I feel like Amazon should have made its own town somewhere else, and left us ours.
Many newcomers didn't choose to not have enough jobs in their home town. I'm sure many would have preferred being able to stay with their friends instead of moving to Seattle for jobs.
You could try making friends with newcomers instead of walling yourself off from them.
There are plenty of cities that aren't growing, even very nice ones. Cincinnati, St. Louis. If you wanted things to stay the same for your entire adult life, you should have picked one of those.
You are empowered to vote for representation that can protect these communities. In this case, for whatever reason, it appears not enough people in the community wielded their power to create the outcome that you think is best.
Aside: I'm from a small town that is experience crazy growth as well. In my life time, we've gone from a single stop light to 10 and have doubled in size. Our water table is unable to cope with the new amount of people -- there is a real risk that the aquifer will deplete. Another side effect, water is becoming more expensive. The response to this problem hasn't been to blame new residents, it's been political efforts to restrict new development.
More generally, would you please stop posting unsubstantive comments here? If you have a substantive point to make, make it thoughtfully; if you don't, please don't comment until you do.
Seriously, housing prices didn't go up because of Amazon. Housing prices went up because there was an imbalance between the zoning for jobs and the zoning for homes. Vancouver doesn't have any employers anywhere near the scale of Amazon, but we've managed to create a much worse imbalance -- and median home prices well over $1M.
The real estate crash you're talking about had nothing to do with the Japanese economy; it coincided with the Hong Kong handover and an overnight 50% reduction in immigration. Keeping the supply of new homes fixed while the number of prospective new homeowners dropped dramatically had exactly the effect one would expect...
Seattle is very different. Sure, we have our share of Chinese speculation, but it is the $200k salaries driving most of the bubble. It doesn't pop until tech does.
Do you have a source for this? And is it specific to Seattle?
> But most of that is buying and selling presales; it doesn't affect the supply, because it's not eating up any housing units which actually exist.
I'm not sure this follows. If a Seattle resident would have been willing to buy a presale (to ultimately live in), but it is instead bought by a foreign investor, then the resident has a smaller pool of housing to choose from.
Only if the foreign investor holds on to the condo in question. If they sell the unit before construction is finished (which is the most common scenario), there are just as many units of housing available for local residents. The only supply being reduced is the supply of pieces of paper which entitle people to purchase units which don't exist yet.
This is a self-inflicted wound that Amazon shouldn't be held to blame for. Seattle refuses to add density- a common pattern on the west coast it seems. When supply is limited and demand increases, prices rise. This is basic economics. If Seattle wants all those juicy tax dollars of Amazonians working there, they either have to allow for the growth in homes, or accept that homes will get more expensive.
It seems growth is outpacing the density that's being added -- not that no one wants density. (Yes, there's some nimbyism about, but the buildings are going up at an insane clip.)
One possible answer: leave the single-family housing. Ration via high prices.
Another possible answer: build a lot more housing in an attempt to accept more people and drive down prices.
I guess you could also somehow try to reduce demand, but I suspect you'd regret that "solution." Just ask St. Louis or Cincinnati or Tulsa their thoughts on that.
If you just want to say, "I don't like any of those options!" then, I mean, OK, that's definitely a fair emotion to express. But it's not a legitimate policy position.
That said, they're almost universally building apartments (exceptions being Insignia, LUMA, and Nexus, that I know of).
Got a source for that? https://archpaper.com/2017/08/booming-seattle-dominates-nati... puts it closer to 20%, although that's only counting fixed cranes...
I suspect he took "about 60% more than any other city" and radically misinterpreted it (and I went and parroted him -- oops). Original conversation was right around when this article was published: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-ha...
Apologies for the error!
This is utterly and preposterously false.
There are huge apartment and condominium complexes going up all over town. Ballard has been strip mined and turned into a virtual Las Vegas strip of luxury apartments. Capitol Hill has been strip mined and turned into block after block of luxury apartments.
I've visited the web sites of nearly all these buildings, and with the exception of projects by Capitol Hill Housing Authority, it's virtually all been built for people with high incomes.
The fact that so much housing has been built for solely for wealthy people is really, really, really central to the argument against gentrification.
Gentrification says "Hey, if your community doesn't have have money, it doesn't exist. If it doesn't exist, we don't even have to erase it. You'll just be gone and no one will care."
This is an incredibly destructive ( often totally racist ) message, and it's really at the heart of the problems that arise with income inequality.
1) When a city has constrained housing supply, wealthy people compete in lower tiers of the housing market, driving up prices. Building more luxury homes allows those people to stop bidding up mid-tier homes, taking some of the pressure off the housing market at large. Thus, while it might not feel like it, those luxury homes are a good thing for Seattle's housing market. The concept is called "filtering" and you can read more about it here. 
2) While it seems like Seattle is awash with cranes and construction is running rampant, it's surprisingly not enough to keep up with population/job growth. There have been so many people showing up in the city that housing stock just hasn't been able to keep up. Something like 20K people in the last year and only ~6K housing units. This is a large part of the housing problem in general, and there's nothing to be done but build even more (and make it easier to build, through re-zoning and densification).
It's been a dream of mine, since attending UW, to live and work in Seattle. It was amazing to do as a student, but since graduation I can only find work across the lake. I finally gave in and moved across last year.
Bellevue is boring, which makes for a great base of operations - I can hang out at home while traffic dies down (instead of networking at a bar), then goto other cities when highway demand is low. But yeah, people don't really live in this city, women don't really goto the expensive dive bars, and there's so much construction.
It feels like there are a lot more people over here than last year. How many other people are also moving across the lake?
The tallest in the “now” image is this building.
My girlfriend and I moved up from Texas completely unaware of the stigma. She worked in bars and restaurants, where the staff would disparage customers suspected of being tech yuppies. I even remember being a guest at a BBQ once, I told someone I worked at Amazon (timidly) and the response was "Oh, you're one of those assholes."
Coming from small town Texas and being lower income, it was a weird time for me. I was newly middle class and when I would go back home I felt weird about my income, but then being in Seattle I felt unwelcome.
Frankly, and I mean this with all sincerity, fuck those people. They're what happens when empathy dies and envy takes its place. Ask any one of them if they'd have liked to immediately be vaulted into a six-figure salary with a stable company and a benefits package that would make a Congressperson blush and I bet you six shares of AMZN (that I've never own, full disclosure) that they'd take that deal in a hot minute.
The bulk of the animosity about the "asshole tech-bros" seems like simple envy to me. To wit, lots of people are moaning about all of the wealthy people moving into the Central District and decrying that others are being "pushed out." Something like 72% of the CD was, four years ago, owner-occupied, so the people who are leaving (and, presumably, making bank on those properties they've owned for two decades) are doing so of their own free will and profiting from the sale.
Yes, housing costs are a beating here but the bleating coming out of Wallingford and Magnolia and Roosevelt can just shut the hell up because the bulk of those voters ARE THE REASON that new housing doesn't get built at the rate it needs to be built.
//sorry about that
Well, forgive me for pointing this out, but what you wrote contains a fairly shocking lack of empathy.
Feeling bad or angry about being driven out of a neighborhood by an enormous wave of outsiders isn't about envy. The change hasn't even been incremental; the bulk of the changes have taken place in the last five years!
In the central district, entire communities that existed for decades are being destroyed. They are bulldozing people's communities to make room for people with more money.
How can you expect people to not feel angry?
Being angry at the macro effects is one thing. Calling someone an asshole to his face simply because he did what everyone else on the planet wants to do (earn an income) is entirely another.
> In the central district, entire communities that existed for decades are being destroyed. They are bulldozing people's communities to make room for people with more money.
First, which community? Do you mean the Jewish community that existed there before the folks from middle-Africa moved in? Or do you mean the Catholics before that? Or the Native American tribes before that? Yes, the people who were redlined into the CD had little choice but to move there. That they're cashing out is a good result, in my opinion.
Second, if someone sells his or her property and leaves, that's not destruction, that's exactly what everyone who owns property wants to have happen. You can't decry the loss of community on one hand while taking the check from the closing table to the bank with the other.
(For what it's worth, I've no property interest in the CD. I live in Greenwood.)
Before everyone was whining about the recent increase in property values, they were bitching about the increase from 02-7, and then before that....
"OK guys let me see your Boeing employee IDs!" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i21XcyMG4cU
"You know the rules in Redmond. You're not allowed to play any kind of sports within FIVE MILES of the Microsoft campus except for hackey-sack." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pxGDSucCEI
"Whadda ya mean you don't want to practice the accordion?!" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGlDVmBLibg
"You're entitled to have a crystal present at any interrogation..." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJZplI5L_Fs
Not the same theme, but...
"Did you have to dial a '1' before?" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9jlo4Ht2YA
That's particularly destructive to a thread like this one, which managed to stay pretty thoughtful and have lots of interesting substance despite the controversy of the topic. Whether or not you intended to turn the discussion into a flamewar, it's negligent enough to count as arson. Moreover, you've unfortunately done things like this on HN before.
Would you please not comment like this here again? The guidelines are at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and we would appreciate your reading and following them, even when it comes to Amazon.
Give me a break. A city's economy changes over time. Sometimes you get company towns and sometimes you get diversified economies, but cities evolve and develop around the economies/industries of the rather than industries settling on a population to thrive on. Even the Bay Area where you might say companies come for the talent --that's BS, the talent comes to the companies who are attracting it. If GOOG, FB, MSFT, etc. opened campuses in Mesa, AZ, you'd have people move over there following the cos and growing their econs.
If this is true, then why do these companies keep setting up shop in the most expensive cities in the country? If they can draw talent to wherever they want, why not someplace cheap like Mesa?
(The answer is because while people do move to meet companies where they are, companies also try to go to where the highest concentrations of talent are or would like to live)
I still think for the most part, it's people coming after the companies rather then companies coming for the people. At YC talent goes to YC, rather than YC going to the talent, for the most part)
Occasionally, you get companies having satellite offices to accommodate some people (like Japanese auto opening design offices in the US and US companies opening offices in IL, to have access to some hard to get talent) --but I think that is a minority.
First off, Google has lots of offices all over the country and world, although Mountain View is still by far the biggest one.
Secondly, what offices they have opened in the US are disproportionately (by headcount) in expensive cities like NYC, Seattle, Boston, etc. The only cheap city they have a significant number of devs in is Pittsburgh. So your theory fails here again.
Heck even looking at Europe, you know what the two biggest dev offices are for Google there? Zurich and London, two of the most expensive cities in Europe. Where's their German dev office? Oh it's in Munich, the most expensive city in the country.
Per the U.S. Census American Community Survey, Seattle has added 56,410 housing units between 2007 - 2016. In that same period, we've added no less than 142,252 people. The growth in population has simply outstripped the housing supply, and until supply catches up, we're in for a ride...
Take a look a Detroit's population boom at the beginning of the last century:
- 1900 285,704
- 1910 465,766
- 1920 993,678
- 1930 1,568,662
How did Detroit do it? They built vast tracts of densely-situated multi-story apartment buildings. Did that change the character of those neighborhoods? Obviously. So what?
There is no mystery here.
I think it's insane to claim that any level of housing production is sufficient until rental prices approach maintenance costs, but it's important to remember that a 1:1 person:household ratio only applies if we're talking about adults who are not in intimate relationships.
I was shopping for a new house in the Seattle area and randomly some people started talking to me (from the Southwest). This never happened to me before. I was kind of weirded out. I said, "so you guys MUST NOT BE FROM HERE." They are like, "no way. We are from the Mid West!"
We invited each other to back yard barbecues within a month.
Never happened with a native here.
Maybe what makes it more neighborly is the blue collar or non tech people in the mix.
Maybe it’s us the techies who are the weirdos. But techies who are natives are “REALLY weird.” I guess they just like to keep to themselves and be anti-social?
Fellow techies who are natives: what’s up with that?
And those developments have been concentrated in a few areas barely zoned for such. The vast majority of the city is zoned for single family buildings not townhouses/low-rises/mid-rises nevermind NYC-style high-rise apt buildings the city and the young so desperately need.
Because things just change.
We didn't even have a big company come in or anything, it just changed over time one thing leading to another.
Get one of those coffee table books of historic Seattle pictures, and you can see the overwhelming constant change.
They have made it clear they are willing to give a lot:
This is such a terrible non-argument.
If you go to a lot of those cities and ask people 'hey, do you want to be forced to move away from you home' or 'do you want to share the city with 50,000 new people in five years', or 'do you want your commute time to double', how do you think they would answer?
Honestly, as a Seattle native, it's been a mixed bag, but mostly bad.
Does Sidewalk have any clever insights or ideas? https://www.wired.com/story/google-sidewalk-labs-toronto-qua...
Cities have revitalized, and this has brought some salutary benefits, but not without costs. And the huge degree of income and wealth inequality makes revitalization of cities problematic in many ways. Growth doesn't translate to a "rising tide that lifts all boats", it translates to an economy that some people can participate in while others are increasingly pushed out of it. This is not only unsustainable, it's inhumane. There are many ways to tackle the problem but they are going to take years of concerted effort just to get started. For one incomes at the bottom need to be lifted up, and the easiest way to do that is increasing the minimum wage. A lot. It used to be the case that if you had a job, any job, you could at least keep your head above water: pay rent, pay your bills, indulge in a few minor luxuries, and build some savings. Now that's not true, not only for people at the very bottom, but for an increasingly large chunk of the entire workforce. We also need to address affordable housing, but addressing inequality is the more important fix.
All the "rough around the edges" components were what gave the city its character. There's a reason, growing up, why people made fun of Bellevue and how lifeless everything felt. Its also why they felt so passionate about their hometown, despite the weather.
Now Seattle feels lifeless. I used to want to move back at some point, but now I don't feel like I'm missing out on much. Thank god Amazon has realized how much it has affected Seattle and is trying to move the next 50-100k employees to a city that could really stand to benefit from the growth.
I don't blame Amazon entirely for this, but I do hope it serves as a lesson for other companies (and cities), who welcome growth at all other costs.
The greatest irony is I live in the bay area now, which seems to predict the future of Seattle quite nicely. Its clear no one gives a shit about where they live, or the communities and culture they inevitably displace. They are just trying to make as much money as possible and get the hell out.
I went back to visit with my fiance in 1998, and I-5 is now like 18 lanes at one merge, my old house is now worth $1.5m, and the sleepy little village I grew up in is now full of people making over $200k/year, or retirees who held on to their houses and have huge nest eggs if they can ever sell.
I had a buddy who was in the Navy, he bought a house in Encinitas, sold it when he retired, and moved to the Midwest. Bought a helluva house on an acreage, lives off his pension, and enjoys life without the stress of the West Coast.
Everything changes, and people hate it. But people will hate it when things don't change as well...
But Boeing moved a lot of the company to Chicago for tax breaks and eventually setup another factory in South Carolina to avoid union labor. Despite being long-retired by that point, my relatives all felt betrayed by the company. And though those family members have all passed on by now, my guess is they wouldn't blame Amazon for taking Seattle's soul, they'd blame Boeing for abandoning it.
A similar phenomenon is in San Francisco, where people argue that SF is some kind of hippie paradise being ruined by tech, although in the larger context SF is defined by a long history of capitalist conquest, and the summer of love was a small blip on the timeline.
The better mindset is to try to grasp your city from a larger perspective, and stop comparing how you found it vs. how it is now.
Better these cities are in demand than decay. In the words of Neil Young, "you're either dying or growing"
It was either a ghost town of a city that depended on one company Boeing or now as it currently is.
That is, for example, will it be "established" or more on the other of "we can impose our will on this area"?
Time will tell.
I'm on HN for the science and mindblowing stuff and I'm tired of this kind of facebook post articles.
I suppose I'm not the only one.
I moved to Seattle in 1995 from 90 miles away. Let me tell you about Seattle then vs Seattle now.
1. It had neighborhoods that were distinct and varied. 2. Street life was more vibrant 3. You could have a part time job and still live.
Some of these things change because they changed for everyone, everywhere and not Seattle specific, but also not good. Now, Seattle is the same everywhere and more of the people moving here are moving for the job. Not for the place, or the people or the culture, if we can call it that. The job, they are interested in the career, in the money, in buying into a hot housing market, etc.
Listening to tech people talk about their 2 and 3rd Seattle house (concurrent, not serial) sickens me. The poorly run record shops, lazy tea joints and bookstores with esoteric books are gone. Now it is Gucci and 200$ t-shirts. Seattle is LAME now man. Not only does it cost upwards of 3k to rent a house, everyone is burnt chasing pointers and promos. There is no slack, nothing that exists between the places. Tech people use a city, they don't make on.
The majority of tech workers who recently moved to Seattle rent their homes. I can't imagine they're happy about high rents either. Certainly less happy than a third-generation homeowner who's made $300K by doing nothing but watch prices inflate.
"Tech people use a city, they don't make on."
Isn't that what natives have said about immigrants since the beginning of time? They're uncultured, they're greedy, they crowd out the natives, they're only here for money, they ruin the neighborhood, etc.
What Seattle would be well served with is the most draconian rent control that a region has ever seen. You own the place you live in, period. Owning a second home and renting it out should be legislated into oblivion.
Would you please not create accounts to break the site guidelines with? They're here: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Please read and follow them if you want to comment here.
As a tech person in Seattle, could you please tell me where all these fantastically megarich Seattle tech people are? I'd like them to take a look at my resume.