Google Bus Gentrification Looks Undeniable on a Map

Google isn't just a scapegoat. Data-centric journalist Chris Walker plotted an array of data against a map of San Francisco's Google Bus stops, and shows just how these shuttles can help change a neighborhood.

You can play around with Walker's interactive data map on your own, but offers some excellent analysis of his own. It's a nuanced look at gentrification, and Walker notes how the techie influx is perhaps speeding up a social shift that was already moving:

The tech sector did not create the problem of inequality in San Francisco. The city has long been among the most expensive to live in America. But by gravitating towards certain neighborhoods, tech sector workers amplify and accelerate the gentrification process that was already happening there.

The map above visualizes these clusters of affluence in San Francisco, showing their geographical boundaries and concentration. Importantly the map also illustrates the feedback loops between tech shuttles and neighborhood gentrification. They tend to reinforce one-another. Tech shuttles concentrate where tech workers want to live, while indicators of affluence like property value appreciation and the distribution of new restaurants concentrate around the tech shuttles.

It's not completely causal, but there are clearly real consequences when the Google swarm moves in and makes itself comfortable.