Beautiful article, nice graphics.
Even when they do get the benefits they want, a small municipality has reason to fear becoming heavily reliant on one big player. After all, Mountain View once had Intel and Sun Microsystems; Hewlett-Packard packed up its Cupertino office in 2012. That’s a big loss to a tiny city, but the region remains largely unchanged. Mountain View may not want millions more square feet of Google office space and the community benefits that come with it, but another town just down the road likely will.
Big companies in small cities are bound to exert some of their own power, either purposefully or passively. Much of this seems inevitable — it’s how this valley was named “Silicon” decades ago. But these companies are no longer dealing just in silicon. Regardless of Google’s loss in North Bayshore, soon Mountain View will feature Google-designed cars running on Google-funded roads planned by Google-paid city engineers. Where they once built semiconductors and software, tech is shaping the future of human communication, infrastructure, transit, law and collective lived experience — all the things that make up a city.