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Will Technology Help Solve Urban Inequality or Make it Worse?

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Will Technology Help Solve Urban Inequality or Make it Worse?

My first trip to California as a young teen reminded me a little of the Matrix, in retrospect. At surface value, the state is perhaps the most attractive in the country: a beautiful, incredibly diverse mix of ecosystems with a powerful economy, a number of the world’s largest corporations, and practically a different city to match anyone’s preference. From mountains to coasts and deserts to forests, California’s offerings seem almost unlimited.

And of course, that has been the state’s allure for many decades. Even in the 1800s, people flocked to California for the promise of a new life and the possibility of untold riches. Back then, the dinner ticket was gold and oil; today, it’s technology. The manufactured glow of Hollywood has only added to that seductiveness over the years.

Once I’d spent some time in California, and had to come read about some of the challenges facing the state, the cracks in the illusion started to show through.

The homelessness crisis became increasingly obvious, and the sprawl that made my home base of the Chicago area look like a New Urbanist paradise became impossible to ignore. […]

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