SF approves Twitter-sized apartments for tech workers


San Francisco is giving Twitter tax rebates to help grow a business that reduces our communications to 140 characters or less, and now the city's Board of Supervisors has approved the creation of extra-small apartments for the Twitter drones who toil long hours in the company's new mid-Market headquarters, along with their brethren at other tech companies, the target audience for these tiny living spaces.

Supervisor Scott Wiener today finally won approval for the “efficiency units” that he's been pushing for months, apartments with living space as small as 150 square feet for up to two people (the total square footage with closets and counters will be at least 220 square feet, with an extra 100 square feet required for each additional resident), to be made available for monthly rents in the $1,200-$1,400 range.

Some progressive supervisors have expressed concerns about the vaguely Orwellian idea of cramming the city's worker bees into ever-smaller living spaces, so the legislation initially caps the creation at 375 units and requires the city to study how it's all working out. “As we do this, it's important that we carefully study this,” Sup. Jane Kim, whose downtown District 6 is expected to absorb most of these experimental new units, said today.

But the legislation was approved on a 10-1 vote, with only Sup. John Avalos – the progressive favorite in last year's mayor's race – voting no. “Overall, this does not make a lot of sense in the San Francisco I know,” Avalos said. “I cannot stomach supporting this idea.”


The "Silicon Valley" was useful farmland before the Computer Scientists gentrified it.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 10:57 am

But there's nothing stopping you going back to the land if you wish.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

Define "prosperity". Food is something you can actually use, not to mention something you need. The "value" of much of the tech industry can only be counted by means of our completely irrational, inflatable and deflatable financial system.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

GenMod argo and fertilizer advances has kept productivity rising.

The US makes far more money from Apple than apples.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

Your understanding of the "gentrification" concept is flawed. Gentrification is something that occurs where development already exists - not in rural farmland.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

rent control laws in the nation, then the chances are you could never have stopped it anyway.

And certainly opposing all new private construction of homes hasn't helped.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 10:58 am

No one one here cares.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

No foosball! Those bastards!

Posted by Snoozers on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

Really, foosball-free engineering means that we get to do work when we're at the office instead of fake fighting with pop guns so that we can enjoy our lives once we leave the office.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

I know. It's an outrage! Upton Sinclair must be spinning in his grave!

Posted by Snoozers on Nov. 23, 2012 @ 1:00 am

There is stratification going on in the industry:

On one side there are low-end drones that work 10+hr days for < $80K + 'amenities' that rob them of non-work life. They are narrowly specialized manufacturing line technicians, but, unlike factory drones, without union protection. Calling them engineers is just plain silly.

On the other side there are engineers with solid background that can use pretty much any toolset/language in no time, and understand system architectures from keyboard interrupts to relaxed distributed write-back policies. These are rare, and usually work in 'distinguished engineer' roles commanding >$180K salaries and relaxed schedules.

The industry matured and petrified to the point where it needs very few of the latter. Comparing pioneering engineering professions from 70s with drones that facilitate selling s*it over the 'net just doesn't make any sense.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

What kind of community can be built when the lifespan of these drones is 9-18 months from hire to burn/wash out?

Posted by marcos on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

...who live alone and only have time to work and party a bit. It's short-term thinking.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:21 am

legitimate segment of the community here, why shouldn't some housing be targetted to them with their needs in mind?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:43 am

1. Because it legitimizes crass exploitation. These drones are already getting haircuts in vans parked in front of Zynga. What's next? Bordello vans? They are not going to copulate in 75 ft2. I hope.

2. Because it lowers the already depressed wages.

3. Because it means that real high tech development that require life-long commitments will be confined to military/government institutions.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 11:20 am

trying to deny affordable housing opportunities to those who choose to work in such situations.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

don't have too. It's not much more difficult to understand than that.

Posted by Troll II on Nov. 20, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

that whine about any new private housing, even while they complain that housing is too expensive (duh, because there isn't enough of it).

BTW, one bedroom rentals in my hood are now going for 3K a month - that's the same as at the height of the dotcom boom. We need more housing.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 7:36 am

But it may very well have a ripple effect across the housing and construction industries as everyone but the rich is expected to squeeze into smaller spaces that are more expensive per square foot.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 9:06 am

there are successful business and affluent workers. And anywhere but SF that would be welcomed. And in fact it is welcomed here except by the non-productive element of SF who think the city should be a subsidized playground for their weirdness.

Rents are still dirt cheap in Oakland and it's only 10 minutes from downtown - much closer than Richmon or Sunset.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 11:00 am

Go home!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

I should know...I live there! It's getting as bad as SF. And the worse part is all the SFers moving in. Talk about ATTITUDE!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

In a decent part of SF, a room goes for $1,000.

Anywhere with Oakland's crime problem is going to be cheap.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

you're the one who should go home. Not everyone has the fiscal power to live here.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

Either one's income is growing at a rate that you can afford to live in San Francisco or you're "non-productive," huh? Got it.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

But it's clear that some people have jobs that are not valued enough by society to enable them to live in SF.

So what? I can't afford to live in Hawaii, Aruba, Aspen or Geneva either.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:02 am

San Francisco is a city, not a resort/niche place like those other places you listed. We need to do more so that those people with job not valued enough by society can, in fact, live in San Francisco. Real cities have all socioeconomic classes represented and active in the community. Gated communities don't. We have it in our power to make sure S.F. isn't just a playground for the rich with an underlayer of desperately poor people living on the streets.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:25 am

I can't afford London, Paris or Manhattan either. Where does this idea come from that anyone and everyone who wants to live in SF should be able to?

SF is fortunate in having suburbs that are much cheaper and that are on a BART and with major freeways linking them to SF. If you cannot afford Sf, then why not Oakland?

The house I just bought in the Castro would be one third of that price in Oakland - just 10 minutes away by BART or car.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:46 am

"Where does this idea come from that anyone and everyone who wants to live in SF should be able to?"

It comes from the same people that think that every Muni driver should be made a millionaire.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

better life than having less money which, AFAIK, is ture in every nation and in every time period. Money gives you better stuff. Is that shocking to you?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

This comment reflects the core of what is wrong in our society. It equates "value" with how much money a job pays. Of course, many low paying jobs are valuable--teachers, library workers, bus drivers, garbage collectors, counselors, child care workers, food service workers, etc.

These jobs do not provide enough profits to corporate masters to merit fair compensation. If you want high pay and you are not an owner, you must sell your brain power to them. Public interest, educated professionals make way less than those that help grease the wheels of the profit-driven economic system.

The society you want looks like apartheid South Africa. People that do the low paying essential work live in remote outposts to provide services for the wealthy who live in the core. This system requires lots of police and armed force to protect the rich from the masses. That is where we are heading.

Posted by Eddie on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:48 am

between the living standards of those who can demand high pay and those who cannot? The reason we have an education system at all is to train people to be able to perform in the type of jobs that the nation needs. If we as a nation do not achieve economic success and prosperity, then we will all be poorer, and remember that the poorest Americans are much better off than almost anyone in, say, Africa.

Not everyone can afford to live in SF any more than I can afford to live in the best neighborhoods of SF. That's just the way the world is - some have the skills and education and ambition and industry to obtain well-paid work, and some sadly do not. The latter cannot reasonably expect a mansion in Pacific Heights, and maybe not even a condo in the Mission.

Reality bites.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 10:10 am

living standards of those who can demand high pay and those who cannot in almost every country or time period especially in the industrial age. The gap between those living standards is widening at a increasing pace in our country at this time.

Posted by Eddie on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 10:19 am

If the gap between A and B increases, but both A and B are better off because A created a successful business that employs B, then where's the problem?

Focusing on what others have is a form of class warfare that isn't helpful.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

Class warfare makes the world go round. Like Warren Buffett said, It's class warfare and his class is winning.

The rising tide/trickle down theory is pure fantasy. Reality is that A is increasing while B is decreasing.

Go ahead. I know poor people living under bridges in San Francisco have it better than Africans, and that you can't afford to live in Aspen.

Posted by Eddie on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

and not everyone has the fiscal power to live in the most desirable places.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 23, 2012 @ 6:53 am

Great idea! When are they coming to NYC?

Posted by Mike on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

SF has the highest housing density in the US after NYC.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

Is always good for a hoot.

Years ago during the Guardian's election year progressive confirmation of Avalos he said that he was upset that people from out of town came here and tried tell the citizens how to live. Avalos being a golden son of the city of LA.

The concern for progressobots isn't the size of the unit but the fact that the people living in these units will not vote the strict Avalos/Jones carpet bagger ticket.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

that it further skews the demographic here against their extreme left-wing agenda.

That's why Tim and Steven love poor people, the homeless, starving artists, activists and other assorted losers. People who generate success, jobs and prosperity are "boring".

We don't need no stinking tax base. We can just tax the rich. Oh, wait a minute . .

Posted by Guest on Nov. 22, 2012 @ 9:04 am

Nice to see a minimum of insults and argumentative name-calling on this board for once. This site is much more interesting when posters engage in a respectful debate. Not that I am innocent of name-calling, it's something I do too often.

The main reason for my dislike of the proposed shoebox-apartments is mostly aesthetic. Basically, I feel the same way about these Tokyo-style efficiencies as I do about strip malls. But even Twitter employees need housing. Plus, making it possible for them to live in the city will, in some cases, result in less commuter traffic and cut down on pollution.

I'm curious about something though. Doesn't the Board of Supervisors make sure that a certain percentage of affordable housing is constructed whenever a developer builds market rate living spaces? Why is this not happening with the shoeboxes?

Posted by Snoozers on Nov. 24, 2012 @ 12:45 am

comments, criticisms and corrections without acting out, name-calling and general attempts to shout down any opposition.

I feel sure that affordable housing setasides were discussed as part of this scheme but then of course the whole premise of these units is their affordibility. And if they are only suitable for high tech folks working long hours and requiring few creature comforts, then it seems unlikely that would be appropriate for the kind of people who typically inhabit BMR units.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2012 @ 8:35 am

Perhaps the future will allow for miniaturization of people and then this will be proved to be one of the most brilliant idea brought forth by the futuristic Scott Weiner and in that future it might mean these apartments are actually quite large or even too big for the future residents of SF and they could be subdivided to serve their original purpose.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2012 @ 9:31 pm