Systems Thinking

Silicon Valley 2010 Goals

The 4 Pillars, the 17 Goals, and Why They Are Important


Main sources of information: "Index of Silicon Valley", Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network



Goal Description


Why is this important?

I. Silicon Valley Innovative Economy Increases Productivity and Broadens Prosperity


Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Silicon Valley continues to lead the world in technology and innovation.

Number of Silicon Valley fast-growth public companies in national "Fast 500"

High numbers of fast-growing companies reflect high levels of innovation in the Valley. By generating accelerated increases in sales, these firms stimulate the development of other businesses and personal spending throughout the region.

Total venture capital investment in Silicon Valley per year

Companies that have passed the screen of venture capitalists are innovative, are entrepreneurial and have growth potential. Typically only firms with potential for exceptionally high rates of growth of over a five- to ten-year period will attract venture capital. These firms are usually highly innovative in their technology and market focus.

Number of IPOs and M&As in Silicon Valley

Through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and mergers and acquisitions (M&As), companies access resources to develop technologies and products to their next level. Both IPOs and M&As are important routes to liquidity for entrepreneurs and investors in entrepreneurial companies. The numbers of IPOs and M&As are indicators of successful entrepreneurship and future high-growth companies.


Quality Growth

Silicon Valley economy grows from increasing skills and knowledge, rising productivity and more efficient use of resources.

Real per capita income growth

Growing real income per capita is a bottom-line measure of wealth-creating, competitive economy. The indicator is total personal income from all sources (e.g.,  wages, investment earnings, self-employment) adjusted for inflation and divided by the total resident population.

Value Added per Employee

Value added is a proxy for productivity and reflects how much economic value companies create. Increased value added is a prerequisite for increased wages. Innovation, process improvement and industry/product mix drive value added, which is derived by subtracting costs of a company's materials, inputs and contracted services from the revenue earned from its products.


Broadened Prosperity

Silicon Valley economic growth results in a higher standard of living for lower-income people.

Change in household income at the top 20% and bottom 20% of the income distribution

Household income includes income from wages, investments, Social Security and welfare payments for all people in the household. The indicator compares the income available to a representative four-person household at identical points in the distribution over different periods of time.


Economic Opportunity

All people, especially the disadvantaged, have access to training and jobs with advancement potential.

High school and additional education and training graduation rates

The high school graduation rate is a risk indicator that warns of lost potential and future societal costs resulting from people being un- or underemployed. A multicultural, highly skilled workforce has unique advantages for a globally competitive region. Providing a quality education for all ethnic groups is a prime objective in Silicon Valley.

II. Silicon Valley Communities Protect the Natural Environment and Promote Livability


Protect Nature

Meeting high standards for improving the air and water quality, protecting and restoring the natural environment and conserving natural resources.

Air quality improvement

High-quality air is fundamental to the health of people, nature and the regional economy. The number of days that Silicon Valley air exceeds ozone and particulate matter standards is an indicator of air contamination. Ozone is the main component of smog and vehicles are the primary source of ozone-creating emissions. The health consequences associated with fine particulate matter (PM10) are more severe than those associated with ozone. Fine particulate matter including dust, smoke, and soot is generated primarily during construction and burning wood.

Water use and reuse

Water is a limited resource because water supply is subject to changes in climate and state and federal regulation. The quantity and quality of water are essential to residents and to technology manufacturing industries. Sustainability in the long term requires that communities, workplaces and agricultural operations efficiently use and reuse water.


Preserve Open Space

Increasing the amount of permanently protected open space, publicly accessible parks and green space.

The share of permanently protected open space

Preserving open space protects natural habitats, provides recreational opportunities, focuses development and safeguards the visual appeal of the region. This indicator tracks lands permanently protected through public ownership or conservation easements in Silicon Valley and its perimeter.


Efficient Land Use

Most residential and commercial growth happens through recycling land and buildings in developed areas. Silicon Valley grows inward, not outward, maintaining a distinct edge between developed land and open space.

Efficiency of land used for housing (average units per acre of new residential development)

By directing growth to already developed areas, local jurisdictions can reinvest in existing neighborhoods, use transportation systems more efficiently and preserve nearby rural settings.


Livable Communities

Creating vibrant communities where housing, employment, places of worship, parks and services are located together, and are all linked by transit and other alternatives to driving alone.

New housing units and new jobs within 1/4 mile of rail stations and major bus corridors

Focusing new economic and housing development near rail stations and major bus corridors reinforces the creation of compact, walkable communities linked to transit. This helps to reduce traffic congestion on Silicon Valley freeways.


Housing Choices

Placing a high priority on developing well-designed housing options that are affordable to people of all ages and income levels. Silicon Valley strives for balance between growth in jobs and growth in housing.

Total new housing units approved, including new affordable housing units

Silicon Valley economy and community life depend on a broad range of jobs. Building housing that is affordable to lower- and moderate-income households provides access to opportunity and maintains balance in the communities. This indicator measures housing units approved for development by Silicon Valley cities in each fiscal year; this is more "upstream" measure than actual housing starts.

Rate of growth in jobs and housing production

Building housing commensurate with job growth helps mitigate commute traffic, moderate housing price increases and ease workforce shortages.

Percent of houses affordable to median-income households; percent of monthly income to pay median rent

The affordability, variety and location of housing affect a region's ability to maintain a viable economy and high quality of life. Lack of affordable housing in a region encourages longer commutes, which diminish productivity, curtain family time and increase traffic congestion. Lack of affordable housing also restricts the ability of service workers such as teachers, registered nurses and police officers to live in the communities in which they work.

III. Silicon Valley Inclusive Society Connects People to Opportunities


Education As a Bridge To Opportunity

All students gain the knowledge and life skills required to succeed in the global economy and society.

Share of Silicon Valley third graders scoring at national benchmarks

Research shows that students who do not achieve reading mastery by the end of third grade risk falling behind further in school. Silicon Valley does not have a standardized way to measure mastery of reading at the end of third grade. The only measure available regionally is the Stanford Achievement Test Series which measures performance relative to national distribution.

Percentage of high school students enrolled in intermediate algebra, by ethnicity

Completing Algebra I and moving to advanced math courses is important for students planning to enter postsecondary education as well as for students entering the workforce after high school, especially for technology jobs. This indicator shows the share of high school students enrolled in Intermediate Algebra, which follows Algebra I and is typically taken in tenth or eleventh grade.

Percent of students completing University course requirements

Passing a breadth of core courses required for college entry is a measure of achievement, capacity and readiness. Completing some type of education beyond high school is increasingly important for participating in the high-wage sectors of the Silicon Valley economy.

Number and percentage of public school teachers without full certification

Teacher certification status is one indicator of a teacher's qualifications. Teaching staff with emergency permits, certification waivers and those participating in various internship programs have not completed the relevant coursework required for state certification to teach in a public school classroom. National research shows that emergency and temporary certification is higher among teachers with three or fewer years of teaching experience.


Transportation Choices

Overcoming transportation barriers to employment and increasing mobility by investing in an integrated, accessible regional transportation system.

Number of rides on regional transportation system per capita

A larger share of workers using alternatives to driving alone indicates progress in increasing access to jobs and in improving the livability of Silicon Valley communities. Pedestrian- and transit-oriented development in neighborhoods and employment and shopping centers increases opportunities for walking, bicycling, and using public transportation instead of driving.

Areas within 45 minute commute by transit to major job center

The ability to access major job centers in Silicon Valley by transit is important for decreasing congestion and for connecting all people, including the working poor, to quality job opportunities. Regions increase opportunities for all workers to access quality jobs by investing in transit and by locating workplaces and housing close to transit.

Percent of freeway miles operating at level of service "F" (the worst possible)

Traffic congestion is a key factor affecting quality of life. Traffic congestion is a function of overall economic activity and regional design the location of jobs and housing and the availability of other travel options, such as public transit, carpooling, biking, walking and telecommuting. This indicator shows the number and share of freeway miles operating at service level "F" during the afternoon peak travel time. Level "F" is the worst possible rating and means forced-flow traffic with travel speeds of less than 35 miles per hour.


Healthy People

All people have access to high-quality, affordable health care that focuses on disease and illness prevention.

Share of births that are low weight; Immunization levels of children; Deaths due to coronary heart disease

The proportion of children with low birth weight is a predictor of future costs that communities will incur for preventable health problems, special education and crime. Timely childhood immunization promote long-term health, save lives, prevent significant disability and lower medical costs. Coronary heart disease is the cause of death that is most preventable through proper nutrition, exercise, not smoking and access to basic health care.


Safe Places

All people are safe in their homes, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods.

Violent crimes per 100,000 residents; Juvenal felony arrests per 100,000 10- to 17-year olds

The level and perception of crime in a community are significant factors that affect quality of life. Crime has wide-ranging effects on communities. In addition to economic costs, the fear, frustration and instability resulting from crime chisel away the sense of community and undermine people's ability to prosper.


Arts and culture that bind community

Arts and cultural activities reach, link and celebrate diverse communities of the region.

Culture and Creativity Index, which includes 30 progress measures about arts, culture and creativity in the region

Arts and cultural activities are important for Silicon Valley's economic and civic future. Creative expression is an important foundation for an economy based on innovation. And participation in arts and cultural activities connects diverse people to each other and to their community.

IV.  Silicon Valley Regional Stewardship Develops Shared Solution


Civic Engagement

All residents, business people and elected officials think regionally, share responsibility and take action on behalf of the region's future.

Number of charitable funds established at Silicon Valley community foundations; Gifts to and grants from these funds

Giving back to the community and helping others less fortunate are important parts of citizenship in a region. Asset-based philanthropy can play a strategic role in exploring new approaches to challenging social problems.

Community foundations help plan and administer charitable-giving activities for individuals, families and corporations.

Diversity of council membership compared to population

Elected office is an important platform for civic leadership and for encouraging civic involvement by others. Having elected officials who reflect the cultural diversity of Silicon Valley can help ensure that diverse people participate in policy decisions.


Transcending Boundaries

Local communities and regional authorities coordinate their transportation and land use planning for the benefit of everyone. City, county and regional plans, when viewed together, add up to a sustainable region.

Using uniform Building Code Standard amendments; Participating in Small Permit project; Using standardized Building Permit form; Offering Web-based permitting; Having GIS

Collaborations across government jurisdictions in Silicon Valley requires developing innovative approaches to sharing information, setting mutually beneficial goals and progressing together. This indicator tells the story of how local jurisdictions have collaborated to upgrade, standardize and link new approaches to permitting. This experience sets the stage for future collaboration in areas such as land use and infrastructure planning and management.


Matching Resources and Responsibility

Valley cities, counties and other public agencies have reliable, sufficient revenue to provide basic local and regional public services.

Growth of revenues and capital expenditures of Silicon Valley's cities compared to growth in population and employment; Revenue sources for Silicon Valley Cities

To maintain service levels, local government revenues and expenditures must keep pace with population and job growth. This indicator compares growth in the revenues and capital expenditures of Silicon Valley cities relative to growth in population and employment.