Will 'Cool' Cities Rule The Economy?

Proponents of the "creative class" theory argue that hip cities will be the most successful because they lure highly educated professionals who are essential in today's economy. But detractors say this is simply an argument for bread and circuses.

"A few years ago, a little-known academic named Richard Florida turned the economic development world upside down by publishing a book called The Rise of the Creative Class. In a nutshell, Florida's argument was that to be successful today, cities have to be cool. The engine of the American economy, he claimed, was creativity."

Florida is correct to a point, writes William Fulton, the publisher of California Planning & Development Report and economic development columnist for Governing magazine. But there is no economic development panacea, Fulton notes. Moreover, Florida's approach has gotten boiled down by both detractors and ill-informed supporters as little more than tourism and entertainment.

What's most unfortunate, Fulton writes, is that the discussion as devolved into a them-versus-us debate that is not useful to anyone truly interested in economic development.

Thanks to Paul Shigley

Full Story: California Planning & Development Report

Comments

Comments

Kotkin

Bill,

You're making a straw man out of Kotkin. Leave the poor old thing alone.

Kotkin knows what he's doing

I saw Kotkin at last years Cal APA. He knows exactly what he is doing. If he wants to take on planning and all its assumptions he should be prepared to engage in a debate. When I saw his speech it was full of impressive figures, but it came down to "Sprawl is what the people want, so who are you elitists to say otherwise." This ignores why most planners do what they do. To inform debates, and say "it may be what people want, but its not good for these reasons..."

But like Fulton's essay says, Kotkin makes a lot of valid points in his serious writing, but plays the anti-planner cynic in his popular pieces. Unfortunately this just plays into the planner as socialist do-gooder stereotype, which doesn't help planning engage the market or help the market incorporate what planning is trying to do.

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