Geography matters in Silicon Valley. Um, duh?

No offense to Steve Lohr, but I’m not really sure what the point of his piece in today’s TimesSilicon Valley Shaped by Technology and Traffic” was. As far as I can tell, the main message is “geography matters.” Is this news to anyone, in late 2007? Really?

Alan Wiig had a much more interesting comment on it than I ever would:

Yeah, there is at a book about this from at least ten years ago. I dislike the analogy one of the people give about there being microclimates for wine and microclimates for tech. It naturalizes the tech in a completely artificial way, and ignores that, for better and worse, tech and its attendant development has destroyed the agriculture in Santa Clara. I acknowledge that the tech innovation is pretty wonderful, but it could be anywhere, where the ag is so regionally specific. What will happen if/when all the ag is forced out of the central valley by tract home suburbs built for Silicon Valley commuters? The central valley is the best ag region in the world, and it is being sacrificed for shitty, poorly designed, sprawling housing. Just like Silicon Valley itself…Why is it that the computer engineers can make fast, energy efficient microprocessors (etc) but cannot see the value of urban planning and design? San Jose has some of the worst traffic and freeway design, for no reason — it is a wealthy region full of smart, dynamic people who apparently don’t care about how much the place they live sucks. What is amazing is not that this company profiled it named for Palo Alto, but that these companies don’t relocate into the Bay Area directly — why NOT redevelop some of the poorer areas of Oakland or Alameda or even Hayward? The quality of life is better, the commutes shorter, the public infrastructure more established, etc…