Miami After Amazon HQ2

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The Miami Urban Future Initiative on Miami After Amazon HQ2

By Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo

With Amazon’s search for its second headquarters or “HQ2” finally over, it’s time for Greater Miami to get back to the business of building its own economy. The fact that Miami was selected as one of 20 finalists out of the 238 cities that applied to the original request for proposals reflects the tremendous strides the region has made in the economic development arena. And, the region’s effort to come together to offer eight potential site locations across the three county mega-region—with the leadership of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council and support from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County—demonstrates a tremendous step forward for an area with such a long history of fragmented and balkanized leadership.

It’s now time to channel that energy and collaborative spirit into the local capabilities and assets that are key to the region’s future economic success—fundamentals that landed Greater Miami on the HQ2 shortlist to begin with. Steve Case, the founder of AOL and the force behind the “Rise of the Rest” effort to spur vibrant startup communities in cities across the U.S., recently offered this advice to cities like Miami that lost out in the HQ2 competition: “My hope is that the 236 that lost, if they take half of the energy they put into rallying their community, driving collaboration, and half of the dollars they were putting on the table to lure them, and refocus that on their start-up community, they might create the next Amazon.” And, consider what Miami’s own business leaders had to say in a post-mortem on the HQ2 process published by the Miami Herald. “In this case, too bad, but we’re not ready,” is the way one CEO put it, citing the region’s need to develop its talent base and industry clusters while addressing issues of traffic congestion and housing affordability. Or, as a local venture capitalist spelled it out, “regions benefit when more technology-based jobs become part of their economic base,” noting that despite the progress that has been made in building the region’s startup ecosystem, more remains to be done.

Our project, the Miami Urban Future Initiative at the FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts, is focused on identifying Greater Miami’s key economic assets and challenges to spur a robust conversation about the region’s economic future. Based on our data and analysis, here is our assessment of the foundations on which Greater Miami can build to grow its economy and, someday, its own Amazon-sized company.

Read the full report here at Florida International University

Brooke WalisEcosystem