It will get better. Madison McVeigh/CityLab

For boosters and residents in the many cities left behind in the HQ2 sweepstakes, it was a day of sadness, anger, regret, and tweeting.

On Thursday, Amazon published a shortlist of 20 finalists for its much-desired second headquarters. In Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the 16 other (fairly unsurprising) cities that made the cut, mayors and economic development organizations jumped for joy.

But in 218 other cities, it was a hard day; boosters of these left-behind towns experienced the full spectrum of grief, from shock and denial to acceptance and hope. We have documented their mourning process below.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough—all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”  

—Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy

1) Shock and denial

Tariq Bokhari, City Council member, Charlotte, North Carolina

Omari Fleming, reporter, NBC 7, San Diego, California

2) Pain and guilt

Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun reporter, Baltimore, Maryland  

Abdul El-Sayed, Democratic candidate for governor, Detroit, Michigan

3) Anger and bargaining

Chris Brown, City Controller, Houston, Texas

Joe Gamaldi, President, Houston Police Officers Union, Houston, Texas

4) Depression, reflection, and loneliness

Bring A to B, local Amazon courtship organization, Birmingham, Alabama

Calgary Economics, economic development group, Calgary, Canada

SkewedAtBirth, Twitter user, Buffalo, New York

5) The upward turn

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri

Mayor Lydia Krewson, St. Louis, Missouri

6) Reconstruction and working through

Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel columnist, Orlando, Florida

Jason Williams, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist, Cincinnati, Ohio

7) Acceptance and hope

Marcus Green, reporter, WDRB News, Louisville, Kentucky

Joe MacLeod, former columnist, Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore, Maryland

Dan Gilbert, businessman, Detroit, Michigan

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A mobile home park.
    Equity

    The Case for Preserving Mobile Homes

    Preservationist and landscape architect Eduard Krakhmalnikov thinks these places are overlooked in the national conversation on affordable housing.

  2. Life

    You Cannot Win the War on Noise

    For centuries, Western culture has been trying to find some peace and quiet. But the more people try to keep unwanted sound out, the more sensitive they become to it.

  3. Transportation

    Why New York City Stopped Building Subways

    Nearly 80 years ago, a construction standstill derailed the subway’s progress, leading to its present crisis. This is the story, decade by decade.

  4. Life

    Why Are Newspaper Websites So Horrible?

    The pop-up ads! The autoplaying videos!

  5. The central business district in Beijing, one of the world's emerging tech hubs
    Life

    The Rise of the Rest (of the World)

    American cities still have the edge when it comes to high-tech startups and venture capital, but other parts of the world are rapidly catching up.