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