What Amazon’s HQ2 plan gets right: Move the jobs to the workers

: washingtonpost – excerpt

One disconnect in the American economy these days involves the thousands of high-paying jobs in cities such as New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco without workers to fill them. One culprit: housing shortages caused by zoning and other restrictions that make it impossible, or too expensive, for workers to move to these cities to take those jobs.

According to one widely cited study, this housing shortage has reduced economic output by 9 percent, costing the average American household $6,700 in forgone income.

The “zoning is strangling the economy” story has caught the attention of conservatives who dislike regulation, liberals who care about affordable housing, and environmentalists who want everyone to live in walkable cities. Not surprisingly, it has also been embraced by the technology sector, where most of the unfilled jobs are found, as well as by construction and real estate industries eager to build and sell more housing…

Before we rush to turn every San Francisco into a Houston, however, we need to ask ourselves whether the better strategy wouldn’t be to move the jobs to workers rather than move the workers to the jobs…

That seems to be the approach taken by one of the country’s most successful companies, Amazon.com, which announced this past week that it would spend $5 billion to create a second, “equal” headquarters campus somewhere other than its home base in Seattle. Rather than wait for Seattle to solve its housing and congestion problems, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive (and the owner of The Washington Post) decided to help create another Seattle someplace where his company’s spectacular growth can be more easily and inexpensively accommodated…(more)

This is the best idea we have heard in a long time and one we have been suggesting for a while. Move the jobs to the people where they live and where the work in needed instead of crowding people into dense over-crowded small uncomfortable units. What happened to personal space?

Big cities have major problems that will not be solved by increasing property values and to raise property taxes as many civic leaders are attempting to do. The current rush to build and invest in capital improvements has left no funding for operation and  maintenance of those systems that are falling apart. We need another to feed the economy and maintain the infrastructure that is falling apart.

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