We have recently moved the
Creative Class Exchange.

Please update your bookmarks with our new address at www.creativeclass.com

We look forward to your comments and discussion.

Thank you.

Posts by Author

  • Global Trends
  • Ask Rana: Advice on Work, Life and Play
  • Urban Digs, Creative Class Communities
  • Workplace
  • Entrepreneurship, Creative Class Strategies
  • Creative Class Research and Indicators
  • Architecture + Design

Video Interview

Watch a Speech

Hear a Speech




April 30, 2007

That's a direct quote of the central finding from a new NBER research paper by Harvard University economics Edward Glaeser and  Kristina Tobio, who find not only that growth and housing prices in the Sunbelt have slowed, but that the region's development had little to do with weather, climate,sunny days, or related amenities in the first place. The paper is here.  Another new Glaeser paper, this one on agglomeration with Glen Ellison and William Kerr, is here.

Since you liked the U.S. one so much, how about looking at the Creative Class in Sweden?  [hat tip:  Charlotta Mellander for providing the raw data for me to map.]


The map shows the "heat" being generated by the Creative Class across Sweden.  There are a few bits of warmth in the chilly north along the coast, but they don't get to share the warmth generated by their neighbors like the southern regions. The hot spots are Stockholm, Malmö, and Götebörg. I generated the map based on current Creative Class numbers and plotted the log of the total number of Creative Class members in each kommun.  The heat mapping process is based on both individual strength and proximity to others and their values, so the higher population densities favor the south.  Values are displayed relative to the other locations on each map, so the results stay consistent but the view changes with zoom levels.  For separate regional views or a better version of the map, see the attached PDF file.

Download CreativeClassSwedenHeatMap2.pdf

Posted by: Kevin Stolarick

Richard Florida

Creative Class TV

Variety reports:

Ovation TV revealed more details of its new look as it prepares to relaunch with a national footprint.The arts-focused net will relaunch on June 20 with a carriage deal with satcaster DirecTV. As part of its revamp, net is building a five-day schedule of originals built around particular themes. Every evening will focus on a different area of the arts, with nights of original programming focused on architecture, visual arts, film and others. Net's new slogan is "Make Life Creative," and it also will focus on personal creativity. Sales reps are courting Madison Avenue as Ovation TV hopes to attract marketers interested in the target demo of the so-called creative class.

The story is here.

Richard Florida

Fast Food's Global Map

The Sunbelt leads the United States in fast-food consumption, but America really is fast food nation. The map is from the fantastic mapping site, Worldmapper which adds this description:

This map shows the distribution of one major brand of fast food outlet. By 2004 there were 30,496 of these outlets worldwide. Of these, 45% were located within the United States so it appears large on this map. The next highest number of these outlets are in Japan, Canada and Germany. The world average number of outlets of this one brand alone is 5 per million people. In the United States there are 47 per million people; in Argentina and Chile the rate is a tenth of the American rate; the rate in Indonesia, China and Georgia is a hundredth of the American rate. In all the territories of Africa there were only 150 outlets: mostly in South Africa.

April 29, 2007

Richard Florida

Where the Jobs Are

Job_markets01_2 While the labor market may have cooled, Business 2.0 finds in certain regions the market for college education business and technology professions continues to be red hot. San Antonio,Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Portland, Oregon and Seattle top their list. Gary Gates of UCLA's Williams Institute and a leading demographer of the gay and lesbian population compared this list to his own estimates of gay and lesbian concentrations and guess what he found.  Based on estimates of the size of the gay, lesbian and bisexual population for 13 of 15 of Business 2.0's top ranked regions,  Gates found 11 have an estimated percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual population that exceeds the national average either in the city proper or in the metro area.  Only Charlotte and San  Antonio have gay concentrations in both the city and metro area below the national average.

The Business 2.0 story is here. Gates' estimates are here.

Richard Florida

Go Macon

Last fall, a group of students from Mercer University came to visit and talk about their project to make Macon Georgia more attract to students and young people and stimulate economic development.  We could not be more excited to see the incredible impact their work is having.

The city of Macon and Mercer University announced Friday a partnership that aims to refurbish a corridor that runs between campus and downtown to create more of a college town vibe.The goal is to attract and retain more students and young professionals in Macon. "This is about building or rebuilding this segment of our city," Mayor Jack Ellis said during an afternoon news conference. He and Mercer University President Bill Underwood said a new 15-member commission will look at creating a "College Hill Corridor." The area runs from the campus and Tattnall Square Park along College, Columbus and Forsyth streets toward Washington Avenue and the heart of downtown. Kevin DuBose, director of the city's Economic and Community Development Department, and Sarah Gerwig-Moore, an assistant law professor at Mercer, will co-chair the committee.The plan is the brainchild of four Mercer students who took what they learned in class and applied it to Macon.

Continue reading "Go Macon" »

Tampa Bay has been a leader in creative economic development for some time. Here's a nice update on their work.

Tampa created the position of a creative-industries manager for the city just months after Florida's visit. Its chamber of commerce sent arts representatives on two recent international trade missions for the first time, and now arranges an annual bus tour to alert business leaders of local creative industries like animation studios and the International Academy of Design & Technology.

Read the full story here.

Bruce Reyes-Chow provides an interesting take on the ongoing discussion of religion and the creative class:

There are clear correlations between Florida’s explanation of urban economic success and the possibilities for mainline congregational physical and spiritual vitality.  I believe that in the end mainline urban congregations see themselves as possessing all characteristics of urban Creative Centers.  But, I also believe there is often a large chasm between how a congregation sees itself and the realities of who they are.  ...

Tolerance and Diversity: In this case, I suspect that most congregations at any location on the political/theological spectrum claim to hold tolerance and diversity as important.  More often than not however, this is not lived out beyond tokenism or superficial markers of diversity.  Florida argues, and I would agree, tolerance must be more than numbers, it must also be a way of life.  Just as universities will fail to attract the Creative Class because they pay diversity superficial lip service, highly concentrated areas of the Creative Class will not simply tolerate difference, but will truly appreciate what diversity brings to the larger community.  The church needs to take on the approach as well if we hope, not just attract this particular group of people, but to actually live into the idea that tolerance and diversity matter.

Creativity and Innovation:
... I suspect that this is one more difficult characteristic for an established church to do after developing great history and traditions.  Still, without these attributes, liberal or conservative, we will remain mired in a particular time and context without even knowing it and will again, fail to live into who we claim to be.

Introspection and Evaluation: Florida models one aspect of this culture that is often underappreciated, this group engages in critical self-reflection.  I think this is an intrinsic aspect of the Creative Class’ ability to innovate and appreciate diverse worldviews, that is no one is complete or isolated, so by default we are in the process of discovering who we are to become.  If that is not the church, not sure what is?  Unfortunately however, this way of being too often produces reactions of defensiveness and resistance rather than self-reflection and transformation

And while I would severely critique mainline churches regarding these three areas, I firmly believe that because we hold these three areas up as ideals – which not all communities do – we have the greatest potential being transformed into communities that are not just succeeding, but thriving.

Lastly, if I had the research chops to do something like this, I think this book could easily be done in the form of something like “City Churches and the Creative Class” and I would suspect that we would find very similar characteristics in healthy and thriving urban congregations.  This book, in terms of my particular project will provide the documentation and analysis to support my theory that mainline churches are equipped to, and if freed to, will attract this unique cultural community.


April 28, 2007

Diner Lots of folks liked my earlier post on the geography of fast food, judging from the comments that is.  So here's a quick update:

New Jersey may be the diner capital of the world, but Rhode Island is the diner’s birthplace. The Naugahyde and Formica restaurants that sizzle with breakfast all day long, and where the waitresses call you “Hon,” had their start in Providence more than 130 years ago. Because of Rhode Island’s diner heritage, as well as its large working-class population, an estimated 75 to 80 diners and lunch counters still dot the tiny state. A dozen of them are in the “rail car” style, where customers get two choices of seating: if the line of booths along the windows is full, they can plop themselves on a stool at the counter. For those obsessed with the history and design of diners, Providence — with a handful of them in and around the city — and its neighbors are a dream destination. The city’s riverfront, revitalized downtown and Colonial-era houses are also significant draws.

The full story is here (sub required).

Muscrat_2 Tom Friedman writes:

“The whole theme of the last century, and of Einstein’s life,” Mr. Isaacson said in an interview, “is about people who fled oppression in order to go places to think and express themselves. Einstein runs away from the rote learning and authoritarianism of Germany as a teenager in the 1890s and goes to Italy and Switzerland. And then he flees Hitler to come to America, where he resists both McCarthyism and Stalinism because he believes that the only way to have creativity and imagination is to nurture free thought — rebellious free thought.”

If you look at Einstein’s major theories — special relativity, general relativity and the quantum theory of light — “all three come from taking rebellious imaginative leaps that throw out old conventional wisdom,” Mr. Isaacson said. “Einstein thought that the freest society with the most rebellious thinking would be the most creative. If we are going to have any advantage over China, it is because we nurture rebellious, imaginative free thinkers, rather than try to control expression.” Will China hit a ceiling on innovation because of its political authoritarianism? That’s what we need to watch for.

My favorite Einstein quotation is that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” A society that restricts imagination is unlikely to produce many Einsteins — no matter how many educated people it has. But a society that does not stimulate imagination when it comes to science and math won’t either — no matter how much freedom it has.