Amazon HQ2

Amazon is looking to grow, and they are putting a call out for bids for a new home to grow in. I think we’re about to see a massive push from cities all over for this new headquarters which will create 50,000 new jobs, and be an economic anchor institution in its new home. I also think we’ll see lots of opinions for and against bringing Amazon into new cities over the next few weeks as well. Massive influx of investment and growth of any kind, when done incorrectly, leads to massive influx or exacerbation of inequality. And the discussion of how to invite Amazon, and should cities invite Amazon are worth having.  If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how cities woo Amazon, without hurting their current residents and businesses.

CityLab makes an interesting point about bringing Amazon to the heartland (and we support that idea for a whole host of reasons). But regardless of where Amazon sets up shop, we want to throw a suggestion out for how.

Amazon, fill a vacant mall or two! America has malls, (emptied with some help from Amazon…). These large spaces used to serve as anchors for communities growth, but as they dry up and stay vacant, many are serving as anchors dragging down their surroundings. But many would be perfect for your new headquarters campus. just to name a few of the reasons Amazon should consider filling empty American malls for a campus:

  • They are usually located near great transportation, given that the heyday of malls coincides with the heyday of sprawl
  • They are affordable for acquisition because there are few other uses for the space outside of large office buildings and some other fabulously innovative ideas.
  • Cities don’t have to give away the public coffers to help you reactivate/renovate  currently vacant spaces.
  • Malls come with ample parking so consider that fight about traffic/parking- over
  • Reactivating a mall for a headquarters would be so innovative it would give Amazon some wonderful PR. (and set a replicable standard for other large employers wishing to build campuses)

 

August is for Neighbors

August has been a busy month for Root + Branch. We sponsored and helped organize two neighborhood block parties for the South Side of Columbus, Ohio, and boy are we bounce house-ed out!

Root + Branch gets involved with projects like this because creating spaces for community members to gather, meet each other and celebrate the neighborhood are vital to creating connected, thriving neighborhoods. Enjoy these pictures of all the fun we had. And come join us next time!

 

 

One party was put on in partnership with Restoration Hope, South Side Thrive Collaborative and the United Way. The second event was hosted in partnership with the Schumacher Place Civic Association, with help from the United Way. All the thanks to every volunteer, participant, vendor, non profit and attendee for helping put on these fantastic events!

Second Act for America’s Malls

Laura here. There’s a good chance if we chatted in 2016, I brought up grain silos. It was a community development obsession I have, primarily because in Columbus, Ohio we have several unused or underused grain silos, that just look like they are begging to be a canvas for a public art project. (don’t worry grain silos, I’m still thinking about you).

But as the year changed, my obsession grew to a new underused and vacant space adorning the heartland as well as the rest of America: Malls.

Read on after the jump to see more about Malls and ways American’s are creatively reactivating them!  Continue reading

Preservation Key To Revitilzation

162082David Brown, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, writes about the use of Historic Preservation in community revitalization. His article focuses on Detroit, as America’s new community development test kitchen. The Detroit neighborhood, Jefferson- Chalmers,  recently earned a “National Treasure” distinction, which Brown speaks to a bit more here. It’s a great read and worth getting into if you live in a neighborhood with history (I bet you do).

Continue reading