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Economic growth comes from people who have ideas, not from urban renewal projects, capital investment, ports, factories, or company location. This is the premise of Richard Florida’s latest book, Who’s Your City?
The people who have ideas are what Florida calls, “the creative class.” Florida has this to say about the sector:
“The Creative Class describes 40 million workers—30 percent of the U.S. workforce—and includes two segments of workers: Creative Professionals - These professionals are the classic knowledge-based workers and include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education… [and the] Super-Creative Core - These workers include scientists, engineers, techies, innovators, and researchers, as well as artists, designers, writers and musicians. The Creative Class is the core force of economic growth in our future economy. In fact, the Creative Class is expected to add more than 10 million jobs in the next decade.”
Florida argues that where the creative class goes, innovation follows. He also says that individuals in the creative class don’t choose where they live based on money alone, but upon “quality of life” factors like a job they love, social connections, safe streets and good schools, economic and social opportunities, good governance, acceptance of diversity, and the aesthetic quality of place, the ability to connect with the natural world and enjoy the environment.
Once the creative class gains a critical mass in a community, they act as unwitting magnets for others who are attracted to the culture the creatives create. The video above is a talk he gave on the subject as a guest of “at Google Talks” in April 2008.
The founder of the Creative Class Group, Florida is an acclaimed economist who, after nearly three decades of study, has come to the conclusion that traditional economics misses much of the picture because it fails to adequately account for the human factor in its conclusions. Who’s Your City? is the 4th in a series of books. The Rise of the Creative Class was published in 2003, Cities and the Creative Class in 2004, and The Flight of the Creative Class in 2007.