Semantically the word city has its roots in Latin. The origin of the word is “civis”, meaning citizen.
A city is where we spend our lives, where we are loved, earn a living, where we chat with our neighbor, raise our children, fall in and out of love, where we eat, where we grow up and play skip-hop on the streets. In return, cities are defined by their inhabitants, how they watch sports events, how they come together to enjoy their free time, how they protest, and react to changes.
San Francisco and Bay Area have been historically defined as an artist’s city, a place for free thinkers, authors, musicians, and artists. It has been defined as a democratic, inclusive, fair city where you’d be accepted as who you were independent of your religion, age, sexual preferences and gender. As times are changing, the inhabitants of the city and greater silicon valley are also changing, now money determines whether one gets to live in this area or not. Affordable and once not so popular areas are becoming gentrified, and this is forcing many professionals who do not make enough to rent an apartment, or buy a house to move out. Most of us are either commuting to work, or have an increasing number of friends who commute to work.
How is this affecting the culture of the city? Is this area still welcoming all, or are certain populations being prohibited from living in the area because of the increasing cost of living and low wages?
The students of Art Institute of Silicon Valley are attempting to generate a visual dialogue about this. This dialogue they hope will be one without judgment and shame. At the re:think design conference on June 9th, in one of those quickly gentrifying areas of San Francisco, they will be asking:
“Where do we see our school teachers, police officers, college students, bakers living? Do we have room for them, or are we looking at an entire population of software engineers?”