The Mercury News: Google v. Apple: While One Takes On The Housing Crisis, The Other Stands Back

The Mercury News, Oct. 27, 2019: Google v. Apple: While One Takes On The Housing Crisis, The Other Stands Back

They changed the world with their tech products, employ vast swaths of the Bay Area’s workforce and together own more than $16 billion in Silicon Valley property.

But Google and Apple — the valley’s two biggest tech property owners — differ wildly in a critical aspect: the way they use their resources in response to the region’s chronic housing crisis. A side-by-side comparison reveals that Google is taking a far more proactive approach to corporate citizenship than Apple, a disparity that illuminates the question many tech companies struggle with today: How much should they be expected to help the people and communities who fall victim to Silicon Valley’s success?

The answer will play a major role in shaping the future of the valley as residents grapple with sky-high demand for housing, soaring prices and painfully clogged roadways.

Google and Apple have similar portfolios — Google owned $7.5 billion and Apple owned just under $9 billion in taxable property in Santa Clara County as of the 2018 fiscal year, according to an analysis by a collaboration of local and national media, including this news organization, that has spent the last year studying land ownership patterns and their impact on the development of Silicon Valley. More of the collaboration’s work will be published and broadcast in coming days.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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