What Would Amazon Mean For Raleigh?
By Brent Woodcox
This story from the News & Observer about what Amazon selecting Raleigh for its HQ2 project is really about what growth and change will mean for Raleigh over the next 10 and 20 years. The reality is whether or not Amazon chooses to expand to Raleigh new companies are choosing to locate or expand here everyday. Over the next 10 and 20 years, we can expect far more than 50,000 new employees will be heading to our city. It might even be that one of the many startups that were born here will grow into a company the size of Amazon. It might turn out that company hasn't even been started yet.
Regardless, this city is changing from the sleepy, Southern capital it once was. It's becoming something different, something more. How we react to that change will have a substantial impact on quality of life in this city. Will we embrace a bold, forward-thinking visions based on what Raleigh can become or will we myopically try to defend our preferences that are based in misplaced nostalgia for an era that has ended? Will we meet the challenges that we face when it comes to affordable housing, density, transit and economic development or will we pursue a timid and tepid, reactionary response to what we know is coming? Will we redouble our efforts to make Raleigh not only a great city but an inclusive one where everyone can find opportunity? Because that's why they have arrived at our doorstep. These folks are looking for something better than what they left behind. We can either start working together to truly welcome our new neighbors or we can try to hoard and protect what we have for ourselves.
But we can't do both.