In the past two decades, Amazon has grown from a startup birthed inJeff Bezo’s garage into one of the world’s largest tech companies.
In the late 1990s, the online-retail giant planted its first headquarters in Seattle, Washington, where it now employs 40,000 people and spans 8.1 million square feet.
Amazon’s presence has fundamentally changed the city, according to Cynthia Brothers, a 36-year-old Seattle native. In recent years, she has noticed that coffee shops, grocers, restaurants, and bars beloved by locals are increasingly shutting down to make way for upscale redevelopments.
Brothers — and many urbanism experts— argue that Amazon’s rise has contributed to the closure of independent retailers, along with rising housing prices, increased traffic, and constant construction.
Seattle’s gentrifying landscape inspired Brothers to launch Vanishing Seattle, an Instagram account that documents longstanding businesses that have shuttered. The photo project reveals a potential future for the city Amazon picks to house its new headquarters, called HQ2.
Take a look below.