Where’s Bill? On a learning tour of San Jose’s Diridon Station
by Anita Brown, Program Officer
Last month, Bill Somerville, PVF Founder, was invited by the Great Communities Collaborative to a “Funder Network Learning Tour” to learn about “building an equitable and sustainable community around Diridon Station in San Jose.”
The event was organized in response to Google’s proposal to build a major new campus (6-8 million square feet of office space) in downtown San Jose at Diridon Station, bringing 15,000-20,000 new Google employees to the area.
As Google has not yet submitted full planning documents, there are limited details surrounding the Diridon Station project and how it will approach issues like housing. A coalition of workers, faith leaders, labor, and community organizations have coordinated a campaign called Silicon Valley Rising, to call on Google and the San Jose City Council to include community benefits in their plans.
Tour participants included various members of public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. They met inside Diridon Station and took a bus tour, looking at public land sites and surrounding neighborhoods. They also discussed the history of Diridon Station, the housing context in San Jose, and the community vision for the region, reflecting on opportunities and challenges of tech development, including the impact of displacement, gentrification, and homelessness.
We will keep monitoring the situation in San Jose as we continue to be involved in discussions about housing and displacement and hope to play a role in creative solutions.