Richard Florida is an urban studies theorist who promoted the idea that the creative class would drive urban renewal and that smart cities should cater to them. He was wrong, and he admits it. But not before cities like Kansas City, Missouri jumped on board and spent “probably in excess of a billion” dollars trying to create a hipster paradise downtown.
More recently, Florida tweeted a warning to cities jockeying to play host to Amazon’s new headquarters. In responding to a Financial Times story on unpleasant working conditions in Amazon’s UK warehouses, Florida tweeted:
Psst HQ2 cities. You're gonna subsidize this company to the tune of billions ... Maybe think twice ...
Florida is right. Amazon demanded lots of taxpayer subsidies from the cities lining up to woo them, including Kansas City. Show-Me Institute researchers have been warning cities about such subsidies for years, but I wonder if Florida offered this same warning to Kansas City, as the area development council paid him to assist on the Amazon bid.