Amazon set major North American cities atwitter last week with its crowdsourcing approach to finding a location for its second headquarters.
Calgary should be in the running. In fact, it should make the shortlist.
But it’s not a slam dunk.
Getting there will require all levels of governments to step up, and in the world of strategic jargon, convincing Amazon to seriously consider Calgary is one BHAG — big, hairy, audacious goal.
The New York Times this week considered the potential U.S. cities before deciding Denver is Amazon’s most likely destination.
Denver is Calgary’s sister city, and its journey — should it be selected — will become a case study for transforming a city decimated by a collapse in oil prices, as the Colorado capital was in the 1980s. It made the right moves to transition from a city dependent on the energy sector to one that’s now a target of high-tech firms and entrepreneurs.
Google, IBM, Oracle and other tech giants have offices in Denver, where the business mix includes the aerospace, aviation, health care and biosciences sectors.
Pittsburgh is another such example. That city, where one in 10 people were once employed in the steel industry, has developed a thriving tech sector and now houses offices for the likes of Apple, Facebook, Uber and Google.
The common denominator in both cases is the deliberate commitment by governments to invest in change while tying in their post-secondary institutions.
More than 30 years ago, universities in Pittsburgh, supported by the state government, began investing in tech research. It’s paid off in a big way, with growth in software and biotech.
Denver’s journey has not been that much different.
The city — apart from having decent sports teams — invested in infrastructure, including light-rail transit linking downtown and outlying areas to its airport, which generates an economic spinoff north …read more
Source:: Calgary Herald