CCE Editor
by CCE Editor
Fri Aug 19th 2011 at 12:41pm UTC

The Inchoate Rage Beneath our Global Cities

“London’s riots prompted commentators on the right to blame hooliganism, while those on the left cited frustrations with the UK’s faltering economy and fiscal austerity. But the causes run deeper and are linked fundamentally to the changing structure of the world’s economy. They are problems many of our global cities will soon face.

Globalization has made our great cities incalculably richer but also increasingly divided and unequal. More than youth, ethnicity or even race, London’s riots are about class and the growing divide between the classes. This dynamic is not unique to London but is at work in many of the world’s great capitals. Instead of reducing and flattening economic distinctions, globalisation has made them sharper.”

To read more, check out Richard’s recent column in the Financial Times.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Jul 21st 2011 at 10:00am UTC

If Metros Were Countries

Based on new data from the United States Conference of Mayors and The Council for the New American City annual U.S. Metro Economies Report

The above map highlights some of the U.S.’s largest metropolitan areas, comparing their Gross Metropolitan Products to the nearest Gross Domestic Product equivalents of countries. If nothing else, it provides an insight into the sheer scale of the U.S. economy, even when it is in crisis.  As I noted in an earlier post, 37 of the world’s 100 largest economies are U.S. metros.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Jul 14th 2011 at 6:27pm UTC

The Geography of How We Get to Work

The combination ofthe Great Recession, rising gas prices, and growing environmental concerns are causing may people to rethink how they commute. After housing, transportation is the biggest item American families spend money on, accounting for an average of 20 percent of a typical family’s budget. The sheer fact of car ownership can make the difference between who spends and who saves, and even which homes go into foreclosure, as I noted here.  Not to mention that being stuck in traffic ranks high on almost every list of the things that make us the most unhappy.

And yet for all that, America remains overwhelmingly a nation of drivers. Across the board, nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) of Americans commute to work by car and more than three-quarters (76.1 percent) drive to work alone, according to the most recent estimates from the American Community Survey.  Only five percent use public transit to get to work.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Jul 7th 2011 at 5:29pm UTC

Paperback Edition of the Great Reset Available

A year ago, I published a book that argued that, for all the privations and dislocations of the economic crisis, it also provides us with the opportunity to make fundamental changes in our economy and society. I characterized these changes as a Great Reset, and I found similar moments in American history when new economic orders arose from the ashes of old ones, ushering in new eras of growth and prosperity. Since writing the book, I’ve been able to see for myself what I’ve long suspected: that Great Resets unfold not from top-down policies and programs but gradually, as millions upon millions of people respond to challenging economic times by changing the ways that they live.  The economic crisis has taught us the hard way that we need to live within our means, to forestall debt; it’s made us understand that we don’t have to define ourselves in terms of material goods, that we can achieve a more meaningful and sustainable way of life.

In my travels across the country, I’ve heard from people who are in the process of resetting their lives.  Young people just out of college tell me that they don’t want their parents’ suburban lifestyle; they’d prefer to find an affordable rental apartment in a city they love where economic opportunities are better. They don’t want to go into hock buying a big house and a big car, just so they can endure a long commute. Young parents tell me they’ve had to defer their dream of buying a bigger house with a backyard, either because they can’t afford it or don’t qualify for a mortgage. Instead, they’ve decided to stay put and renovate their city apartment or fix up their small house in an older, closer-in suburb.  Empty nesters tell me they’ve decided to sell the big house, sometimes for a lot less than they could have gotten for it a few years ago, and buy a smaller condo or house closer to their kids in the city.  These shifts, brought on by economic exigencies, are already adding up to a gradual but enduring change in the way we live – one that will prove every bit as consequential as the move towards suburban living was in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Jul 3rd 2011 at 8:00am UTC

Safety in Diversity: Why Crime Is Down in America’s Cities

This is a longer, more detailed, and more statistics-laden version of an op ed piece that ran in the Financial Times on Friday. As mysterious as the downward trend in crime may be (and as vexing a challenge as it’s posed to professional explainers), it’s obviously a welcome development—and is very possibly a bellwether of even more positive changes in our society.

Almost three years into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with massive unemployment and pessimism rife, America’s crime rates are falling and no one—not our pundits, policemen, or politicians, our professors or city planners—can tell us why. As I wrote about here, there were 5.5 percent fewer murders, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults reported in 2010 than in 2009, according to the most recent edition of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report; property crimes fell by 2.8 percent over the same period and reported arsons dropped by 8.3 percent. And the drop was steepest in America’s biggest cities—which are still popularly believed to be cauldrons of criminality. “While cities and suburbs alike are much safer today than in 1990,” notes a recent report by the Brookings Institution, “central cities—the big cities that make up the hubs of the 100 largest metro areas—benefitted the most from declining crime rates. Among suburban communities, older higher-density suburbs saw crime drop at a faster pace than newer, lower-density emerging and exurban communities on the metropolitan fringe.”

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jun 29th 2011 at 10:02am UTC

Top Metros for Same-Sex Couples with Children

With the passage of the New York Marriage Equality Act, the number of gay couples in the US who are eligible to marry has now doubled, as my post yesterday noted.  Approximately 9 million Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) – slightly less than four percent of the population, according a recent study by Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute.  Approximately half of lesbians and gay men are members of same-sex couples including an estimated 160,000 who are married, according to Gates’ research. Nearly one in five same-sex couple households are raising children, compared to about 45 percent of heterosexual couples, according to figures from the American Community Survey (ACS).

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Jun 27th 2011 at 4:03pm UTC

Bicycling and the Wealth and Happiness of Cities

Riding a bike through a city, David Byrne wrote in his book Bicycle Diaries, “is like navigating the collective neural pathways of some vast global mind.” Biking, he adds, “facilitates a state of mind that allows some but not too much of the unconscious to bubble up. As someone who believes that much of the source of his work and creativity is to be gleaned from those bubbles, it’s a reliable place to find that connection.”

Cycling is one of my own great passions.  I like nothing more than to get on my road bike and just go. My bike is not just a great way to get around, it’s a great way to get to know cities.

It’s also a good way to stay in shape, as witnessed by this post at the Living Streets Alliance blog, which noted the uncanny overlap between the places listed in my post on America’s Fittest Cities and the cities where the greatest percentages of people who bike to work live. That got me wondering what other characteristics of metropolitan areas might be associated with higher levels of cycling.  With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I took a quick look at the numbers. We used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) on the share of people by metro area who commute to work by bike.

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Reham Alexander
by Reham Alexander
Thu Jun 23rd 2011 at 11:05am UTC

A New Perspective on Creativity

Le Méridien is proud to announce Richard and Rana Florida as its newest members to its creative community. This year, Le Méridien continues its creative journey in providing its guests with new cultural experiences by introducing the cultural ‘hub’;  the hotels innovative lobby concept, as well as expanding upon its global creative community of LM100 members. This group of innovators will work to transform Le Méridien hotels into creative hubs that will deliver new perspectives to the creative guest.

The Creative Class Group will embark on a variety of initiatives influenced by the creative group they have identified. They will perform research to help Le Méridien identify new development opportunities by applying their exclusive ‘creativity index’, using the Creative Class Group’s one-of-a-kind framework; technology + talent + tolerance and territorial assets. CCG will help to connect Le Méridien hotels to key contacts in each city from the fields of tourism, culture, art, design and cuisine. They will work to acquire influential speakers to participate in “New Perspective Events” at Le Méridien hotels across the globe. CCG  will also curate content for the ‘Hub’ libraries selected based on their research on the core attributes, values and preferences of the Creative Class. The books selected will comprise of a mix of contemporary and foundational books about creative culture in the arts, design, economy and society, as well as localized books reflecting each cities history and characteristics.

Read the full release here.

Photo © Ralph Gibson

Reham Alexander
by Reham Alexander
Mon Jun 20th 2011 at 3:07pm UTC

Foreign Policy Top 100 Tweeters

Richard Florida named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Tweeters of 2011 alongside Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Boris Johnson, Mayor of London; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary-general of NATO just to name a few.  See the whole list here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jun 17th 2011 at 8:00am UTC

Real Estate Is Spiky

The map below shows the price of land in the New York metropolitan area (via Matt Yglesias) from this fascinating New York Fed study. The premium for land in central Manhattan is nothing less than extraordinary. Land prices rise and fall logarithmically according to their distance from midtown, notes to the study: “A parcel located five miles from the Empire State Building commands a price that is about twice as high as the price of a parcel ten miles away.”

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