Urban Planet: Facebook’s worker town?

First there was Facebook. Then there was the conceptualized Facebook phone. Next up? Facebook apartments.

Following up from last week’s Urban Planet post on wannabe “starchitect” Kanye West, there is news coming out of Menlo Park, California where Facebook has joined forces with a residential development of almost 400 units geared at the young and techy, and conveniently located within 1.5 miles of Facebook’s new campus. With this announcement has come new concerns about the company’s expectations for their employees, as well as for their level of support for a healthy work-life balance for their Facebookers and their personal social (media) lives.

But this, perhaps, is simply a reverse wave of the historically changing ideals for where we want to live when it comes to work/life separation. After the industrial revolution we pushed industry out of the city to not have to live with the pollution, but this was quickly followed by the invention of ‘workers towns’, created by companies who wanted to keep their employees close. Now as the majority of our factories have been moved overseas, leaving North America with a predominately business and tech work force, we want to live close to work, ironically so we can spend less time there or at least commuting. We are also now aware of the major benefits of creating mix-use developments, furthering the support for a mixing of business and pleasure.

Facebook is not building a residence on their campus or insisting (at least overtly) that employees must live in their building. However, while we may never fully turn off from our digital media lives or leave our Facebook page, perhaps those working at Facebook are the ones who are the most in need to get away from it all, or at least have a chance to leave their desk, if not their personal fb accounts.

For more on Next City’s thoughts about chez Facebook click here.

Image courtesy of Next City

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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