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May 17, 2007

« What Does This Map Say? | Main | Freakonomics and the Creative Class »

Which large metros are the leaders in media, arts and design?   Who leads in research and science?

For this week’s "By the Numbers," we have taken another pass at the top talent clusters for large metros.   In doing so, we have listed the top three metros for every creative talent cluster.   To rank these, we’ve examined three 2005 criteria:

  • Size of labor force:  How many individuals are working in each talent cluster?  Metros with larger employment numbers received a higher score.
  • LQ: How specialized or concentrated is a metro in a talent cluster?  Metros with a higher LQ or specialization received a higher score.
  • Salary:  Which metros have the highest cluster salary?  Metros with higher salaries were awarded a higher score. 

Granted, we can refine these criteria and look at the increases over time.  However, this basic approach provides a quick look at the top talent clusters:


In the weeks ahead, we will examine the top medium, mid-sized, and small metros for creative clusters.   

If you’d like more detail about these rankings or a complete list, contact David or Steven.

Georgetown graduate Jim Kaminski assisted with this post.

Download CreativeClassGroupTopLargeMetros.pdf

posted by Steven


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Sorry for the rambling comment - it's early over here!

I'd be interested in how you defined 'design'. The reason I ask is because one thing is clear from my own experience of working as a designer and teaching design - the word covers many different areas. (I note that you've split medical professionals from medical therapists - to me, a non-medic, the separation seems odd. Similarly to me the non-separation of design seems odd, if you get my drift).

At the university I work in now, for example, we have graphic design, jewellery and metalwork, interior design, product design, interactive media design, textile design - as well as architecture in a different school. Elsewhere you will have fashion design, stage design, design for healthcare, glass, ceramics...
Elsewhere in my university we have people designing new polymers, concrete, liquid crystal displays - they don't see themselves as designers but what they are doing is 'design' in the way it is defined in the UK post-Cox Review.

Textile design, depending on where it's taught is aesthetic, engineering, or chemistry-based (the latter two don't see themselves as 'designers' but 'scientists').
Textiles and jewellery are also often termed 'craft' rather than design. Within both you have the 'autonomous' artists who produce one-off items for display, and the 'heteronomous' designers producing for a mass market. And a textile designer of either type sees very little in common with, say, graphic designers.

Product design is commonly seen as engineering as well as design, while interactive media design is commonly seen as IT, or media, or design. The two areas are rife with division on this point!
Advertising and marketing contain graphic design, and designers within these fields... are they advertisers and marketers or are they designers?
And business and financial... take a look at the UK Design Council web site and you will see that 'service design' is another large sector - does it belong in 'design' or in 'business'?

I'm not being critical, just curious, as it's an area I tackle myself in my teaching and research. Every time I have a conversation with someone about design I have to be careful how I define it as it means different things to different people, and the word can often be a barrier. At a recent design conference I found myself talking to an engineer who rejected the idea that what he did was 'design', but to me it was. To him a designer was someone who made his work 'look nice'. Is a car engineered or designed? Is an elevator engineered or designed?

Is cloth engineered or designed (or manufactured)? Whichever you say determines which sector 'textiles' goes in to in the table above, but also determines how different people react to it.

(Where do you place, for example, Jonathan Ive?)

I suppose what I'm saying is semantics are important here, and are presenting quite a barrier to the development of policy which is a huge problem. According to the Design Council, UK companies that place importance on 'design' outperform the stock market by 200% (IIRC), but in a recent survey of Scottish businesses, 90% said design was 'unimportant' - the problem is largely one of definition and perception.

A lot of the categories in the list are actually quite woolly to those within the field (I belong in about four of the categories above) and you may have listed someone within 'engineering' because that's where they are placed by bureau categories, but they may actually define themselves quite differently.

I suspect two lists based on how individuals and businesses characterise themselves, and how they fit within externally defined categories, would be quite different. To me, that's interesting in itself.

Again, apologies for the rambling comment!


some more stats (per some job categories) can be gathered from the SalaryBase project (link: http://www.salarybase.com)
-- shelly



We defined design as those working in architecture, interior design, graphic design, set design, and fashion design.



Another quick note about our talent cluster evaluations... One thing that makes our work unique from others is that we look at what people do (i.e. what are thier skills? what's thier trained profession/ occupation?) as oppose to who they work for.

Example: A graphic designer at a nonprofit or association.

In our analysis, a graphic designer would be considered in the "design" talent pool. In a typical look at a region's labor force (or an industry analysis), the same designer would be considered an association or nonprofit employee.

Why both evaluations are true.. we think our occupational analysis is more efficient at measuring that individual's skill set...

make sense?


Emymeyo The Small Business Strategy

I'd be interested know all about design..
because im id student. anyone can help me teach me about design?
exspecially interior design..=)

Sean Ladd

you can find out a lot about interior design from the free website interior-design-techniques.com

they offer tips and advice for free

Brians Web Graphics

It would be interesting to see how cities rank if you take the salary out of the equation. I dont know how heavily its weight is, but It is well known that DC, and NY have higher salary due to cost of living. Of course if you are just looking to be paid the most this information is important.

Dining Room Furniture

Not sure i agree. The same excuse is used over and over again.

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