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Richard Florida Takes a Detour

One of the most enthusiastic advocates for the urban resurgence, Richard Florida turns his attention to the segregation, inequality, and housing shortages that threaten to tear cities apart in The New Urban Crisis.
February 13, 2017, 2pm PST | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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Richard Florida's latest book, The New Urban Crisis, comes out in April. Josh Stephens reviewed it for the California Planning & Development Report.

"The last great urban crisis – back in the 1960s and 1970s -- took place in plain sight. The Cuyahoga River caught fire. So did the Bronx. Downtown neighborhoods emptied out and then got torn down. What Florida realized is that the current crisis, while not nearly as grave as the last one, is profound in its own way. But it’s relatively invisible, hidden behind, and not nearly as exciting as, the prosperity of the past decade. He realized that 'the very same clustering force that drives economic and social progress also…. generates a lopsided, extremely unequal kind of urbanism. A relative handful of superstar cities…benefit while many other places stagnate.'"

"Florida fuses this data into what he calls the 'New Urban Crisis Index,' consisting of 'economic segregation, wage inequality, income inequality, and housing unaffordability.' The big winners/losers, are, in order: Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago."

"The New Urban Crisis lacks much of the dazzle that characterizes Florida’s earlier work — he’s like a Taylor Swift fan who just discovered Morrissey. Previously, Florida presaged, and encouraged, ebullient trends that hadn’t happened yet. This time, he’s describing depressing things of which many urbanites are all too aware. Whether Florida should have been aware of them — ahead of time — is the question that hangs over the book."

"If anything, the biggest mistake of Florida and other city boosters was to sell cities to creatives (and vice-versa) without fully impressing on creatives their obligation to be citizens."

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Published on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in California Planning & Development Report
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