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March 27, 2008

Richard Florida

Who's Your What ...

« Who's Your "Ship" ? | Main | Obama and the Creative Class »

Over at B-Net, Michael Fitzgerald writes:

Let me just say this straight out: I hate the name of Richard Florida’s new book, “Who’s Your City?” Has he confused his ‘where’ with his ‘who’? Is he anthropomorphizing cities? Is he having a Pedro Martinez moment?

Hmmmm.  Let's just say a heckuva lot of thought went into that title - including the smarts of a young, talented University of Iowa rhetoric major and our entire team.  It's meant to reflect the central theme of the book - how to find the place that bests fits you.

Anybody else out there want to help him out?


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Mike L.

Assumed the title "Who is your city?" was intended to attract attention by its cognitive dissonance. To me, it's like asking "Why is your mother?"
Have I missed the point?


I thought the title was a take on "Who's your daddy?"


I thought the title was a take on "Who's your daddy?"

Michael Fitzgerald

It isn't about smarts. It's about resonance. That's obviously subjective, so here's a bit more on my particular reaction. It conflicts with my sense of the 5 Ws (probably a journalist's quirk). It evokes the notion that the city is my in fact my sugar daddy, which may be true but irritates me, since I like cities and I don't consider the reference a compliment to them. So while it's obvious from the title that place matters, this comes across as a kind of jeer, at least to me.

Like I said, these things are subjective. For me, there's too much dissonance, too many rhetorical surprises.

And, fwiw, I write lousy headlines.

Michael Fitzgerald

Campus Entrepreneurship

While I love the Pedro reference, I am too simple to understand the problem. I always thought the title was fun, culturally relevant, and communicated the core idea of the book. That said, its great to hear people's thoughts.

Julie Ann Turner

Richard, my sense was that your title was expressing the core truth of your work, which is that it is the people - and, based on your research, predominantly "the creative class" - that are the living core the cities of the future.

It's a nod to the emerging realization that the essence and identity of a city does not reside only in its physical entities - though these creations (as all architecture, arts, culture, etc., are actually creative expressions of its inhabitants) are often the visual icons with which we identify a city - but, in truth, the essence of any vibrant city is the dynamic, diverse, creative exchange and expression (the culture) generated by its people.

My impression was that your title was meant to provoke people to think of cities in this new way - as creative expressions of their inhabitants - as well as, on the flip side, to challenge readers to ask, and, in turn, challenge themselves, perhaps for the first time, to think seriously about what kind of city essence or "identity" best fits them, and would best enable their creative gifts to find space and expression.

Julie Ann Turner

Julie Ann Turner is author of "A Creator's Guide," a newly released
3-book series on the Creative Process; free Creator's Guide Mini-Book available @ http://www.creatorsguide.com

Janeane Harris

I thought it was a wry flip on "Who's the sh*t?" So count me among the number who didn't get it.

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