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July 24, 2007

Richard Florida

Money to Party

« The Car of the Creative Class | Main | Science and the Creative Class »

Kevin Stolarick of the Creative Class Group and Lisa Taber of FortiusOne have paired up to develop a series of 'heat maps' that show the hottest places in the country based on your lifestage and some preselected criteria.  The maps allow you to zoom in on specific parts of the country or see how your current city compares to others.

Each map shows the best regions based on a variety of criteria all evenly weighted.  In this case, "Money to Party" shows the combination of cities that rate the best based on:
    Overall Cost of Living (lower is better)
    Rental Affordability (lower is better)
    Number of Creative Class young & single in the region
The criteria used for each map are listed & described in the region to the left of the map. 

Only data for major US cities (populations above 250,000) has been included.

The map itself is a heat map overlay on a standard Google Map.  So, all of the usual Google map features are available: pan, zoom in , zoom out, change the background, etc...

The "hotter" -- yellow areas are those places that do the best on the combined criteria.

Money to Party Map

Come back Monday to see next week's map: Getting Ahead


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What an exciting map series! But I'm not quite clear what the map is showing... there's not exactly an explanation. Are the brighter spots on the map hotter places to party? Are they more expensive places to party? And what data is being used to put together such a map?


Yes, this is rather confusing.
As such, the functionality is limited.


Two areas I noted, at least on the East coast, are the Northeast Corridor from Boston to DC and the I-85 corridor in North Carolina. The bright "heat" of the Northeast Corridor to me demonstrates that despite it's high cost of living, "you get what you pay for" in terms of amenities, nightlife, etc. Nonetheless, there is something to be said for "value" - there are places which, despite not quite having NY/DC/Boston/etc.-levels of sophistication, offer very good bang-for-the-buck, and I think this is why the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor shines brightly. Downtown Charlotte may not give Manhattan a run for its money, but at the very least it can compete with many highly creative areas (I've felt that if you, say, combine the urban nodes in Arlington, VA like Roslyn, Ballston, Clarendon, and Crystal City, and scale up a few skyscrapers to 40-60 floors, you'd have a good approximation for the culture, vibe, and feel of downtown Charlotte).

That being said, I think the heat map methodology is flawed because it seems to highly bias inter-metro proximity (i.e., how close other metros are, regardless of how "creative" they may be). This puts a real "unfair advantage" to cities and metros east of the Mississippi, while short-changing metros in the Rockies and on the West Coast because metros tend to be more distant from each other. Why else would you see a relatively bright "rust belt triangle" of Detroit-Pittsburgh-Cincinnati but a quite dim San Francisco-LA-Sand Diego corridor? Even in the East, why does the Charlotte-Raleigh hot-spot shine brightly and spill over in to upstate South Carolina (Greenville-Spartanburg, not exactly highly creative despite an absolute gem of a downtown in Greenville), but leaves quite creative Atlanta "in the cold"?


Thanks for all the great comments everyone; more information on the map has been posted in this updated post.

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