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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Book review of Hollow City: the Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism

  • Author(s): Morris, Elizabeth W.
  • et al.

Solnit and Schwartzenberg chronicle the real Y2k problem in San Francisco: a fin de siècle real estate boom and accelerated crisis of hous- ing displacement, as experienced by the City’s artists and cultural activ- ists. It’s the direct result of the World Wide Web, the propulsive growth of the internet economy, and a more long-standing spillover of unmet housing demand from the fabled Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco. Class conflict is front and center as developers and ‘dot-com-mers,’ fu- eled by incomes inflated with venture capital, threaten the homes and haunts of a particularly vital arts community. Over the course of several generations, San Francisco artists have turned voluntary poverty and “marginality” into an industry of culture—an economic force in a global city fed by tourism, corporate headquarters, and grants from the Na- tional Endowment for the Arts.

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