After Amazon called for proposals for its second headquarters, a $5 billion investment nicknamed HQ2, 238 cities, regions and other locations across the United States made bids. All but one will lose.
But there is ground for optimism even from losing this competition. At the very least, numerous cities created slick marketing campaigns and YouTube videos that can be pitched to other companies. More importantly, cities that are often in fierce competition with each othercollaborated on bids, potentially sowing the seeds for deeper regional cooperation in the future. Communities had to take stock of their assets, and their liabilities, that will hopefully inform public policy. Amazon may have facilitated a dialogue within and across communities about their economic futures.
But this dialogue so far has neither open nor inclusive, limiting feedback between the community and government and actually harming the location’s bid for Amazon. In few cases do we know who was invited to the table to discuss economic development beyond politicians, land developers, and big business associations.