Yours truly, reporting for Wired:
Of course, elaborate, amenity-filled campuses are nothing new to Silicon Valley’s big tech firms. Google’s microcosm looks and feels like nothing so much as a college campus with a zillion-dollar endowment. Many current Facebook employees presumably eat at the Facebook BBQ pit, relax on the Facebook plaza, and exercise at the Facebook climbing wall. But adding housing is something new. If this real estate move goes through, about 300 of those Facebookers will soon sleep in a Facebook apartment. I’m sure many of them will “like” that arrangement.
The most charitable interpretation of all this is that Facebook is building the first arcology, like what the fantasist architect Paolo Soleri described and halfway (well, eighth-way) built at Arcosanti, his own little urban microcosm in the Arizona desert. Arcologies were supposed to be self-contained cities-in-a-bottle, live-work-play spaces that were self-sustaining, with teeny ecological footprints.
But if you want to be less charitable, Facebookville might still sound familiar. The company is really just creating a version of the company town, something that was all the rage among wealthy industrialists in the early 20th century.