Over the hills of Silicon Valley

Over the hills of Silicon Valley

The world is full of social disparity where you can see a huge variance between the upper class and lower class. The world has places where on one side there is the most posh area of the region and on the other side are slums. There are places where on one side people live a luxurious life having all the facilities and on the other side they strive for even the basic necessities. One side having huge structures as accommodation and the other side deprived of shelter. One side has education opportunities for children and the other side has children working as labourers. Similar is the situation in the Silicon Valley situated in the Northern part of the U.S State California.

 

The area where Silicon Valley is situated is Santa Clara Valley in Santa Clara County which includes the city of San Jose and the surrounding cities and towns. To the  north side of the silicon valley is the Southern shores of the San Francisco Bay, to the west side is the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range to the east. The Southern Coast is the least densely populated area of the region which is home to fewer than 3000 people, mostly farm workers. The coast had been an agricultural area before the tech companies started their ventures across the mountains of Santa Cruz. Since then, the prices of housing have increased drastically in the backdrop of Silicon Valley. Big tech companies like Facebook and Oracle generating revenue worth billions of dollars came to the region and the commuters from Silicon Valley found their accommodation in the coast and its surrounding areas, therefore increasing the market value of the houses.

 

People from the coast do not benefit from the revenue generated by big companies. There are many families who are helpless and have to sleep in trailers having no facilities of any sort. The income of a farm worker is no more than $11 per hour, whereas, the rent for a two bedroom house is $1100 per month. This increase in housing is due to the spillover effect of the silicon valley.

 

Moreover, the rich people who work for these companies buy land in these areas for their recreation to build ranches which have many effects. Firstly, it causes the market value of the area to rise, left with less area for housing and causes farm workers to lose their jobs. Besides these issues, there are other major issues like a decrease in open places in the region. To address this issue, a trust was formed in 1970 called Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) whose aim is to prevent the land from being acquired by silicon valley, sustaining open areas for farms, forests, coastal areas, and preserving wildlife. POST has protected 75 000 acres of land so far, transferring ownership to public agencies and national parks. POST and some other organisations are working to regain the farmland back which has been acquired by private owners. Moreover, they have proposed to raise funds to build 1000 units for farmers so that they don’t have to compete with the market.

 

Besides these organisations that are working for these economically and socially disparate places, the companies situated in the silicon valley should play a key role in reducing this disparity as said by Mancera, the director of Puente. By giving jobs and internships to the local students, investing in these areas to provide internship programs and providing basic facilities. In my opinion, this social disparity can only be reduced if the companies take care of their corporate and social responsibility.

– Omer, Pakistan

 

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