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What would Palo Alto be like if Stanford wasn't our neighbor?

Original post made by Sierra, Evergreen Park, on Jul 29, 2010

Answer: Pretty boring! Maybe we'd see a people coming to the lovely Stanford Theater, but then, maybe the Stanford Theater wouldn't be there, because Stanford was the primary engine that helped hp make a boatload of cash - thus creating the inheritance that made the Stanford Theater possible. Without further digression...

It was interesting to see the comments in my last post about hp and the housing "crisis" (which is a crisis only because we're afraid to innovate and change), especially all the posturing against Stanford - helped by Stanford critics employing "City code this, and City code that". Uh, who made up these codes? It wasn't Stanford; that's for sure.

What the anti-Stanford crowd doesn't appreciate is the fantastic intellectual and ethnic diversity; cultural opportunity; sporting entertainment; educational excellence; engine of innovation and investment; medical services; etc. etc. that Stanford brings to the Palo Alto table.

Just what would Palo Alto be without Stanford? Answer (again): BORING!

And, as a quick aside, why is it that the very same people who grumble about Stanford and housing are always the first ones to oppose affordable housing along transit paths, and other ideas that would help solve congestion, get people out of their cars, etc. etc.?

If we want Palo Alto to remain a center of anything, we'd better stop trying the hand that feeds us, because it's also the hand that is largely responsible for the success that so many in Palo Alto take unearned credit for. It's time to wake up and smell the future, folks. Let's get on with the Stanford project!

Comments (4)

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Posted by Confusing 2 things
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

Sierra contributes to the usual confusion about Stanford development. The university and the doctors/researchers are very different entities from the hospital developers. The plans for a 3 BILLION dollar expansion are to create a luxury hospital that will attract rich patients from all over the world. Very different from the goals of a university.
But I appreciate one statement of Sierra's, "City code this, and City code that". Obeying the law so-o-o boring.


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Posted by Historian
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

Well, let's see. Tim Hopkins would not have founded Palo Alto because his mentor Leland Stanford would not have needed a bedroom/utility community to service his farm.

Instead, there would be a town called Mayfield on the site, essentially be a twin of Maountain View, with its downtown centrally located on California Ave. Lacking Professorville and its offspring, north Mayfield and the current downtown area would probably have developed to look like south Palo Alto does today. The former Stanford Farm would be a distant memory, like the Hopkins estate in Menlo Park, perhaps similarly developed with housing. The general atmosphere would be analogus to eastern Marin County.

Some reduced analog of Silicon Valley would exist, centered on Moffett Field (which was promoted by Sunnyvale sans Stanford). However, absent the hyperdevelopment push from Stanford-spawned industries, fruit orchards would still blossom and produce in the still-delightful Valley of Hearts Delight.

The real Silicon Valley would likely be in New Jersey, where Shockley's team invented the transistor, or in Dallas, where Texas Instruments achieved the silicon transistor and co-invented the integrated circuit.

And the mid-peninsula would be a much pleasanter place to live.


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Having Stanford as a neighbor has always been a big upside from my point of view. Stanford enhances Palo Alto economically, intellectually, medically and recreationally. What's not to like?


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm

This is like one of those Star Trek time warp episodes - what if the Roman Empire never ended, or if Hitler developed the A-bomb first. Pretty different.

Historian has good points, but should add - many/most of us wouldn't be here enjoying the place. We would just be a sleepy bedroom community for SF commuters. Few Asian immigrants, no start-up culture, limited wealth, limited intellectual life and culture. The typical 'burbs.

I guess it would more pleasant for some. Those who like it for the vibrant people and business activity would probably be somewhere else. Not sure I would call one version more pleasant that the other - to each their own.


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