CRUSH / CREATE #4

Valley or Beach, the Encroachment of Silicon Can Turn A Culture Upside Down

After living in San Francisco for 18 years, I drove south in 2009 to live in Los Angeles. I wanted to experience a city that was a little less driven by tech innovation and driven more by creativity/storytelling. I wanted less silicon and more soul. [Insert reference here about boob jobs. Yes, I know the irony.]

Flash back to the oxygen of the Bay Area. It became infused with a noxious mixture of money and technology. I started having trouble breathing. I knew the assault on my system was my own to bare. People around me were thriving in this “there’s an app for that” culture. I wasn’t, so I did something about it, by moving to Los Angeles where there are still more creative people per square foot, than there are people who think technology will save us all.

As Playa Vista / Silicon Beach expands into the sprawl of villages that is now my Los Angeles, I don’t want to see creatives take a back seat to the race-car mentality of digital innovators. We need to be inextricably linked as partners. We are all the guardians of culture. If we allow technology to drive content, and not the other way around — we’ll miss the human experience of this trip entirely and just drive aimlessly on a highway of too much information.

I lived through this once. I don’t want to see it happen again in Los Angeles. As money pours into Silicon Beach, I shutter to think of how many creative projects/innovations get dropped in the name of investments in tomorrow. Eric Garcetti and Gavin Newson (ex Mayor of SF) should have a lunch and talk about this issue. I think our wonderful Mayor might not think a mass-exodus of artists — people who are the backbone of this city’s legacy — is such an exciting story. The solution is for him and all of us to ask the question: if there’s no app for that — isn’t it worth protecting even more?