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Google's Second Headquarters and the Future of San Jose
As cities compete for Amazon's second headquarters and San Jose works on a deal for Google's second headquarters, Richard Florida argues that companies have reasons to be good neighbors to cities and that a forward-thinking company could do a lot to correct the mistakes of past headquarters. "As the city and company negotiate an agreement, community groups have already begun advocating for an arrangement that benefits not just Google and its high-paid tech workers but also the city and its residents," Florida writes for CityLab.
To Florida, the new headquarters creates an opportunity for Google to get right everything that Apple got wrong with their sprawling building and its acres of surface parking. "Rather than being a campus, per se, Google should build a fine-grained, mixed-use neighborhood, with walkways between buildings and numerous public spaces," Florida argues.
The company could have an even greater impact if, rather than merely trying to get their offices right, they also concerned themselves with employee housing. "Building a large number of new housing units in conjunction with the office construction would not only prevent a major shock to the housing market, it would also improve the experience of the new neighborhood, be a boon to businesses downtown, and help boost transit usage," Florida writes. In Silicon Valley where housing is difficult to permit and always in demand such a move would go a long way to ingratiate the city to Google and to help house their work force.