Golden City: Housing and Transportation in San Francisco

The tech industry is transforming housing and transportation in San Francisco, but are we on a sustainable path?
Zndod9s5syqbgre2nu95
Walter Thompson
Email Verified
Film
San Francisco, California
United States
2 Team Members

Hi. I'm Walter Thompson.

I moved to San Francisco in 1996 in the first wave of dot-com workers. We flooded the city, leading to shocks in housing, transportation and affordability.

Fast forward 18 years, and SF is now the Internet’s epicenter. Tech has brought amazing changes to life here, but the engine that drives our local economy is built on disrupting old ways of doing things. These disruptions (along with income inequality and public policies) have brought long-simmering social tensions to the surface. 

It's no longer a local story: our day-to-day battles over ride-sharing, shuttle bus protests, rising eviction rates and gentrification are international news.

Here's my theory: we've reached a tipping point in terms of sustainability. Economically, we're powering ahead, but socially and culturally, San Francisco hasn't been this fragmented in a long time.

Why am I making this documentary?

I want to build a community of people who care about urbanization and sustainability.

There's a lot of emotion wrapped up in these issues, so much so that it's hard to get a sense of the big picture. Now seems like a good time for a project that combines data and individual stories to present a holistic understanding of the changes swirling around us.

That's why I'm producing GOLDEN CITY, a documentary that explores how the tech industry is transforming housing and transportation in San Francisco.

This production is already underway: at the bottom of this page, you'll find rough edits of extended interviews with people who are feeling the effects of the rapid changes sweeping the city. If you donate now, we can finish filming faster before starting post-production immediately.

I'm speaking to people who are managing the rapid pace of change: politicians, activists, urban planners, academics, real-estate developers and tech entrepreneurs. I'm also interviewing people well outside the power structure: individual tech workers, service employees, taxi and ride-sharing drivers, long-term renters, new property owners, disabled residents, musicians and artists, bicyclists... everyone who's feeling the effects of change.

Surfacing these stories is powerful because we learn by listening to each other. I believe a locally-produced, crowdfunded documentary creates a shared frame of reference for people who'd like to add their voice to the ongoing conversation about where San Francisco is heading.

What's going on in San Francisco?

There are a lot of moving parts, but most of the tension is associated with technology companies, transportation quality and access, tech-friendly public policies and housing affordability:

More people live in cities than ever before, and it's changing the way we live and get around. The fact that San Francisco is just 49 square miles makes this an ideal microcosm for exploring these issues.

What happens after you help us reach our goal?

If we can raise $50,000, we know we can produce a movie you’ll enjoy watching on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV or in a theater; people are much more likely to recommend and share movies with good production values.

As soon as the campaign ends, I’ll schedule and shooting additional interviews, hire an editor and purchase a DSLR camera, audio equipment and backup drives for HD video. I'll also budget for video transcription, travel and transportation, equipment rental and SF Film Commission fees. And, I'll begin producing and shipping your kick-ass rewards (named after my favorite SF icons)!

Post-production: color correction, sound mixing and editing before handing the video off to the composer for an original score. I'll also need to cover the costs of licensing archival footage, video hosting, graphic design, PR/marketing, perk fulfillment, English/Spanish closed-captioning, DVD production and shipping.

Help us reach our stretch goal of $60,000, and everyone who donates $50 or more will receive TWO FREE tickets to a premiere in San Francisco!

If we don't reach either goal, it will take a lot longer to produce Golden City, and it won't be as well-made. That would suck.

How will we build a community around GOLDEN CITY?

My background is in community management, social media, PR and marketing, so I'll keep you updated on the production process and the status of your rewards; follow the action via updates here and on Twitter, Facebook and tumblr.

Each month, I’ll host meetups in San Francisco to screen clips, hold Q&As and share other info that brings you inside the production process.

Meetups will also be opportunities to share your story and connect with others who are interested in shaping our city’s future. If you can’t attend in person, I’ll use Google+ Hangouts and other tech so you can participate.

I'm also reaching out to local bloggers, journalists and cultural organizations, in addition to pitching tech entrepreneurs and workers to ask them for their support.

Local Coverage of GOLDEN CITY!

So far, this project has been featured on the front page of  tech news site Re/code and in Laughing Squid, SFist and Hoodline, three popular SF blogs. 

This extended interview with Judy Campos was included in Hoodline's ongoing coverage of Cuco's, the restaurant her family has owned and operated for 22 years. Because the Campos' couldn't afford to pay for renovations and upgrades their landlord requested, their landlord is now evicting them.

Here's Judy's GOLDEN CITY Story:


In this extended interview, CEO Howard Flax discusses his future plans for Flax Art & Design. At the end of 2015, the site that contains San Francisco's largest art-supply store will be redeveloped into a 160-unit condominium complex.


How You Can Help

As you can see, I'm already gathering footage and scheduling interviews for GOLDEN CITY, because this is a very timely story that captures what's happening NOW in San Francisco. Donating is the best way to help GOLDEN CITY reach its goal so we can finish filming quickly and get into post-production immediately. The $25 and $50 perks are an especially good value, but any amount helps us reach our $50,000 target.

If you can't donate, please use Indiegogo's sharing tools to help get the word about this project and follow us on Facebook, tumblr and Twitter

Thanks very much!

Find This Campaign On
$6,473USD
raised by 79 people in 1 month
13% funded
No time left
$50,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 2, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Hippie

    Get a shoutout on Twitter or Facebook and a link to download GOLDEN CITY in DRM-free HD when the film's completed!

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $25USD
    Bohemian

    You'll receive a shoutout on Twitter or Facebook, a link to download GOLDEN CITY in HD and a signed DVD of the complete film.

    13 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $50USD
    Bruce Lee

    We'll give you a Twitter/Facebook shoutout, an HD download link, a signed DVD and a signed 11 X 17 poster! If we meet our stretch goal, you'll automatically receive TWO TICKETS to the San Francisco premiere! (date TBD, travel not included)

    20 out of 500 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $100USD
    Mark Twain

    FOUR-PERSON PREMIERE PACKAGE: Your name in the credits, a Twitter/Facebook shoutout, an HD download link, a signed DVD and poster, and FOUR tickets to the San Francisco premiere! (date TBD, travel not included)

    5 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $100USD
    Shirley Jackson

    TWO T-SHIRTS, TWO TICKETS: A Twitter/Facebook shoutout, a link to download GOLDEN CITY in HD, a signed DVD, a signed poster, TWO T-Shirts and your name in the credits. You'll also get TWO TICKETS to the SF premiere if we reach $60K!

    7 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $250USD
    Harvey Milk

    1 DOZEN COOKIES, TWO SHIRTS, TWO VIP TIX, UKE SERENADE: Your name in the credits, a Twitter/Facebook shoutout, a link to download GOLDEN CITY in HD, a signed DVD, a signed poster, TWO T-shirts, a DOZEN freshly-baked cookies, a ukelele telephone serenade, and TWO VIP tickets to the SF premiere and after-party if we meet the stretch goal!

    3 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $500USD
    Emperor Norton

    TWO DOZEN COOKIES, FOUR SHIRTS, 4 VIP PREMIERE TIX, UKE SERENADE: Your name in the credits, a Twitter/Facebook shoutout, a link to download GOLDEN CITY in HD, FOUR signed DVDs, FOUR signed posters, FOUR T-shirts, AND, if we reach the $60K stretch goal, FOUR VIP tickets to the San Francisco premiere and after-party! I'll also express-ship you TWO DOZEN freshly-baked cookies and will call you up to play a song on my baritone ukelele.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $1,000USD
    Ansel Adams

    Your name in the credits and 2 GOODIE BAGS, each containing one T-shirt, a dozen cookies, a signed poster and DVD, as well as 2 VIP tickets for the premiere and after-party in San Francisco and a ukelele thank-you call!

    1 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $2,500USD
    Isadora Duncan

    4 GOODIE BAGS, plus a social media shoutout, an HD download and four invitations to attend a Tenderloin/Mid-Market neighborhood walking tour in Downtown SF (travel and accommodations not included). We'll put your name in the credits and will give you 2 VIP tickets to the premiere and post-party, plus a thank-you uke serenade over the phone!

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
  • $5,000USD
    William Randolph Hearst

    Your contribution will be earmarked for renting a theater in SF for the premiere! You'll be named in the credits and will receive 10 VIP tickets to the premiere and after-party, along with TEN goodie bags for you and your guests. (Depending on the theater, we'll even put your name up on the marquee!)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2015
Do you think this campaign contains prohibited content? Let us know.