What Just Broke? Do Tech Hubs Help Economic Development?

Attracting tech companies to concentrate in cities is often expected to drive job growth and ignite the economy, but are the expectations too high?

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Editor

March 23, 2023

1 Min Read
Ronnie Chua via Alamy Stock Photo

Events in the first quarter of the year stirred some thoughts about the persistent push to build up the tech economy and establish tech hubs across the United States and other countries, and whether such efforts deliver on expectations.

The idea is to bring together innovative companies, big and small, in neighborhoods or wider areas. This might include a company headquarters or satellite offices, tech incubators, or maybe even coworking spaces that put down roots in relative proximity to each other and hopefully kickstart local economic momentum.

Throw in some tax breaks and other subsidies to keep tech companies moving in and you have the makings of a tech hub -- probably.

The recent pause on construction of Amazon’s HQ2 project in Arlington County, Virginia, after completion of its first phase, raises questions about how many of the 25,000 jobs originally expected to come to the area will actually be realized -- especially with Amazon announcing another round of 9,000 more layoffs this week.

Job creation is one of the key reasons tech hubs look attractive on paper. There are also hopes for cash to flow into more readily into local businesses -- but what if those ambitions are not realized?

Listen to the full episode of "What Just Broke" for more.

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About the Author(s)

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Senior Editor

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth covers tech policy, including ethics, privacy, legislation, and risk; fintech; code strategy; and cloud & edge computing for InformationWeek. He has been a journalist for more than 25 years, reporting on business and technology first in New Jersey, then covering the New York tech startup community, and later as a freelancer for such outlets as TheStreet, Investopedia, and Street Fight. Follow him on Twitter: @jpruth.

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