Here is an interesting site to check out in coming weeks, if you are interesting in Richard Florida’s views about courting the “creative class” (http://www.americancity.org/Archives/Issue5/florida.html). Florida, the Heinz Professor of Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon and Visiting Scholar at the Brookings Institution published “The Rise of the Creative Class” in 2002, which just came out in paperback.
The book has received quite a bit of attention over the past few months (I recommend it on this site–I enjoyed it very much). Basically his premise is this–quoting from the book jacket. “Millions of Americans are now beginning to work and live the way creative people like artists and scientists always have–and as a result our values and tastes, our personal relationships, our choices where to live, and even our sense and use of time, are changing.” Based on these new realities, Florida advocates that we rethink how our society is ordered. It is in attracting these new “creative workers” that a city can build its economy, says Florida. In doing so, we will gather new ideas in how to manage many aspects of American life–everything from city planning, tax structures, and even whether cities should build an expensive sports stadium to foster economic growth. (It is amazing that so many people in promoting the construction of stadia actually point to Florida in doing so. Read the book. On about every other page, he screams that it’s a big waste of money).
I find Florida’s arguments to be well thought out, and I agree with much of what he has written. Well, it seems that Florida has received some criticism for his views. The above mentioned Web site’s series promises to begin “The Great Creative Class Debate.” The first to sound of in this debate is Richard Florida himself. (It must be some criticism he’s getting, since his opening is: It would be an understatement to say that my book The Rise of the Creative Class has generated heated debate. With the national culture wars escalating on all fronts, it’s not surprising that most of the controversy revolves around the idea that cities with thriving arts and cultural climates and openness to diversity of all sorts also enjoy higher rates of innovation and high-wage economic growth.
It’s a great article, with enough material for a hundred posts. Check it out; let’s start our own creative class debate. By the way, the article said that Florida is currently working on a new book, The Flight of the Creative Class, to be published in spring 2005. “A collection of his essays, Cities and the Creative Class, will be published this summer by Routledge. For more information, visit www.creativeclass.org.”
As always, let me know your thoughts. What do you think?