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Innovation and Diversity in The City

Published: July 20, 2016

Innovation and Diversity in The City

Provocative messaging in the windows above City Lights: Open Door — Open Mind — Open Books — Open Heart.

Faculty in Silicon Valley

Daily posts and photos from the ACM SAIL faculty seminar on Silicon Valley as an Innovation Ecosystem.

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Day 6 – Saturday, July 16, 2016

Posted by Paul Jackson, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Environmental Studies, St. Olaf College

Another bright day of sunshine welcomed us as we stepped over the half-way point of our time in California and embarked on our trek north to The City, otherwise known as San Francisco. The day provided an opportunity to engage a mosaic of cultural characteristics nested in the history and contemporary life practiced among the districts of San Francisco.

By exploring the city via a structured itinerary or generating an alternative path, the teams aimed to uncover insights into the feedbacks and linkages between Silicon Valley and this storied urban ecosystem.

Map of San Francisco

Blue Bottle Coffee

The Blue Bottle Coffee queue at Ferry Building

The map reflects multiple itineraries executed by colleagues. Blue points represent a journey across places and ideas significant to the countercultural movement of the 1950s and 60s. You can repeat the journey by moving down the list from top to bottom or download Innovation_DiversitySF.kmz in Google Earth to take a virtual tour. Yellow pins attempt to capture locales with other cultural themes.

Along our paths we asked community members how the businesses, people, and paradigms from the south bay influence this part of the bay and vice versa. As you can imagine the responses varied; however, the major take home was that The City has changed significantly in recent years; many expressed it was not for the better – citing the allure of money and continued escalation of the cost of living.

Presidio Path

Close of journey along the Presidio

As we welcomed the close of the day, many appreciated how the diverse people living in community to the north of Silicon Valley generated questions about the meaning of life, embraced the character of place, and valued self-expression through a variety of forms.

The proximity of this locus of question and expression certainly provided positive feedbacks for the innovations and creativity coming out of Silicon Valley. In many ways The City reflects some past and present innovators in Silicon Valley – Think – Think Different.


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