This article is one of a two-part debate. The opposing argument can be found here.
When Amazon announced in early September that it would be looking to create a home outside of Seattle, plenty of cities lined up to make their case. Among competitors is San Jose, whose interest in welcoming a new headquarter to tech giant isn’t particularly surprising.
Amazon’s announcement came with some demands however: the city must be no more than 45 minutes from a large international airport; have access to mass transit; and be near a population center.
The prospect of adding a corporation like Amazon would yield excellent results for the city and its inhabitants.
According to the state of California’s Labor Market Information Division, increasing unemployment wracks San Benito and Santa Clara Counties. Between August and September, “professional and business services trimmed 2,200 jobs…in line with its usual downward trend.” The seismic job growth guaranteed by the creation of the campus far outweighs potential growing pains.
Opponents of Amazon’s arrival contend that having another corporation in the heart of Silicon Valley will increase traffic congestion, but this can be alleviated through further development of public transit, such as BART or the high-speed light rail.
Another potential solution is Amazon-centered transportation for employees. Apple already utilizes an employee transportation program as a mechanism to reduce traffic congestion and automobile emissions.
Further apprehension surrounds the campus’s effect on housing. An influx of new jobs will mean an onset of new consumers in the housing market, with a potentially drastic impact on affordability of San Jose real estate.
Other companies’ responses to this issue offer promising solutions. This summer, Facebook announced they would be converting their acquisition of the Menlo Science and Technology Park into a company town.
In fact, 15 percent of the housing will be under market price, thereby classifying their units as affordable. In addition, Google is investing in modular housing for their employees, saving employees about $700 per month.
If Amazon adopted a similar method of integrated community building, this would not only offer a solution to the housing crisis but also ease the issue of transportation for employees.
Of course, with any project as expansive as Amazon’s proposal, there will be necessary tradeoffs, but with proper planning, worries can be diminished. As Silicon Valley continues to grow, an important question must be asked: how do we envision our future?
The presence of tech giant like Amazon will provide another platform for the technological advancements that define Silicon Valley, further cementing its reputation as a hub of innovation.