When Amazon Brings Both Economic Optimism and Disappointment

A Kentucky town welcomed Amazon’s arrival, but the economic outcomes over the last two decades have been lackluster.

January 5, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


Amazon Fulfillment Center

Tony Webster / Flickr

David Streitfeld writes about Amazon’s impact on cities and towns through a closer look at the experience of Campbellsville, Kentucky, where Fruit of the Loom operated until the late 1990s. Amazon came in soon after and leased a former warehouse, which became one of the company’s first fulfillment centers.

Local leaders and residents express conflicting feelings about Amazon. It has brought jobs to the economically depressed town, but people are still struggling. The median household income has not increased and poverty levels are high. Amazon, on the other hand, has benefited from huge tax breaks, including a payroll tax measure that has given $19 million over a decade back to the company.

Amazon also has not hired the number of workers it promised it would, and Campbellsville officials say they wish it would contribute more to support residents and local institutions. "Less visibly, Amazon shapes the local economy, including which businesses survive and which will not be coming to town at all. It supplies small-screen entertainment every night, influences how the schools and the library use technology and even determined the taxes everyone pays," says Streitfeld.

Friday, December 27, 2019 in The New York Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

State Capital of Utah

Affordable Housing Proposal Faces Backlash in Salt Lake City

A public hearing last week revealed widespread opposition to a plan to loosen density and height limits and reduce parking requirements to encourage more developers to build affordable housing.

22 minutes ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

Two people on a bike trail with downtown Houston in the background

Houston Bike Summit Makes In-Person Return

The event will focus on improving bike safety and continuing maintenance on the city's growing network of bike lanes and trails.

1 hour ago - Houston Public Media

Austin Bus

Austin’s Transit CEO Moving to D.C.

After overseeing a major system redesign and plans for its largest-ever expansion, the head of Capital Metro will take over Washington, D.C.’s transit agency.

2 hours ago - KUT

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.