Archive for April, 2007

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Apr 30th 2007 at 3:49pm UTC

“The Growth of Sunbelt Has Little to Do with the Sun”

Monday, April 30th, 2007

That’s a direct quote of the central finding from a new NBER research paper by Harvard University economics Edward Glaeser and Kristina Tobio, who find not only that growth and housing prices in the Sunbelt have slowed, but that the region’s development had little to do with weather, climate, sunny days, or related amenities in the first place. The paper is here. Another new Glaeser paper, this one on agglomeration with Glen Ellison and William Kerr, is here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Apr 30th 2007 at 11:05am UTC

Feel the Creative Heat (Swedish Style)

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Since you liked the U.S. one so much, how about looking at the Creative Class in Sweden?  [hat tip:  Charlotta Mellander for providing the raw data for me to map.]


The map shows the "heat" being generated by the Creative Class across Sweden.  There are a few bits of warmth in the chilly north along the coast, but they don’t get to share the warmth generated by their neighbors like the southern regions. The hot spots are Stockholm, Malmö, and Götebörg. I generated the map based on current Creative Class numbers and plotted the log of the total number of Creative Class members in each kommun.  The heat mapping process is based on both individual strength and proximity to others and their values, so the higher population densities favor the south.  Values are displayed relative to the other locations on each map, so the results stay consistent but the view changes with zoom levels.  For separate regional views or a better version of the map, see the attached PDF file.

Download CreativeClassSwedenHeatMap2.pdf

Posted by: Kevin Stolarick

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Apr 30th 2007 at 8:53am UTC

Creative Class TV

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Variety reports:

Ovation TV revealed more details of its new look as it prepares to relaunch with a national footprint. The arts-focused net will relaunch on June 20 with a carriage deal with
satcaster DirecTV. As part of its revamp, net is building a five-day
schedule of originals built around particular themes. Every
evening will focus on a different area of the arts, with nights of
original programming focused on architecture, visual arts, film and
others. Net’s new slogan is “Make Life Creative,” and it also will focus on personal creativity. Sales
reps are courting Madison Avenue as Ovation TV hopes to attract
marketers interested in the target demo of the so-called creative class.

The story is here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Apr 30th 2007 at 7:00am UTC

Fast Food’s Global Map

Monday, April 30th, 2007

The Sunbelt leads the United States in fast-food consumption, but America really is fast food nation. The map is from the fantastic mapping site, Worldmapper which adds this description:

This map shows the distribution of one major brand of fast food
outlet. By 2004 there were 30,496 of these outlets worldwide. Of these,
45% were located within the United States so it appears large on this
map. The next highest number of these outlets are in Japan, Canada and
Germany. The world average number of outlets of this one brand
alone is 5 per million people. In the United States there are 47 per
million people; in Argentina and Chile the rate is a tenth of the
American rate; the rate in Indonesia, China and Georgia is a hundredth
of the American rate. In all the territories of Africa there were only
150 outlets: mostly in South Africa.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Apr 29th 2007 at 11:52am UTC

Where the Jobs Are

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

While the labor market may have cooled, Business 2.0 finds in certain regions the market for college education business and technology professions continues to be red hot. San Antonio,Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Portland, Oregon and Seattle top their list. Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute and a leading demographer of the gay and lesbian population compared this list to his own estimates of gay and lesbian concentrations and guess what he found.  Based on estimates of the size of the gay, lesbian and bisexual population for 13 of 15 of Business 2.0’s top ranked regions,  Gates found 11 have an estimated percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual population that exceeds the national average either in the city proper or in the metro area.  Only Charlotte and San Antonio have gay concentrations in both the city and metro area below the national

The Business 2.0 story is here. Gates’ estimates are here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Apr 29th 2007 at 11:30am UTC

Go Macon

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Last fall, a group of students from Mercer University came to visit and talk about their project to make Macon Georgia more attract to students and young people and stimulate economic development.  We could not be more excited to see the incredible impact their work is having.

The city of Macon and Mercer University announced Friday a partnership that aims to refurbish
a corridor that runs between campus and downtown to create more of a
college town vibe.The goal is to attract and retain more students and young professionals in Macon. “This is about building or rebuilding this segment of our city,” Mayor Jack Ellis said during an afternoon news conference. He
and Mercer University President Bill Underwood said a new 15-member
commission will look at creating a “College Hill Corridor.” The area
runs from the campus and Tattnall Square Park along College, Columbus
and Forsyth streets toward Washington Avenue and the heart of downtown.
Kevin DuBose, director of the city’s Economic and Community
Development Department, and Sarah Gerwig-Moore, an assistant law
professor at Mercer, will co-chair the committee.The plan is
the brainchild of four Mercer students who took what they learned in
class and applied it to Macon.

The class, “The Fate of the City,”
taught by associate provost Peter Brown, looked at how to connect the
city with the university, said Matt Wetherington, a Mercer senior who
took the course.
Linking the two would retain the people who determine the
future of a city: those who grow up there and those who go to school
there, he said. The students developed a plan of how to close
the gap between Mercer and downtown and created the College Hill
Corridor. They presented the project to Underwood and then tried to get
other organizations on board.
“Every contact we made was just into it,” said Kimberly
Humphries, a senior involved in the project. “We can only do so much by
ourselves. We need some support.”The students’ plan involves a branding
campaign, beautification of the area and identifying retail

Mercer already is in the process of recruiting potential retail
development to vacant space it owns near campus, Underwood said. “It’s just not any retail development that (the students) are looking for,” Underwood said. “They told me it had to be cool.”
Underwood said he hoped to announce new retail establishments
for the area in two to three weeks. The university owns a buildingjust
off Montpelier and Linden avenues, which, with the exception of a
Georgia Public Broadcasting bureau, is mostly vacant.
The university also owns two more storefronts on Montpelier.
The students’ plan suggests retail establishments such as a pizza
parlor, off-campus bookstore, health food store, music center, coffee
shop or any 24-hour business.

Part of linking the campus to downtown includes creating a
walking path with amenities young people would be interested in. Key
areas include Tattnall Square Park, the area around Joshua Cup on
Washington Avenue, the Forsyth and College streets intersection, the
Forsyth and New streets intersection and Appleton Lane.
At Tattnall Square Park, the students suggested a frisbee golf area, a jogging trail and basketball court. Potential
retail opportunities include the old Phillips 66 gas station on the
corner of Forsyth and College streets and a former sign shop near
Appleton Lane.
The students placed emphasis on making the corridor walkable
and proposed that a pedestrian not have to walk more than 1,000 feet
between amenities. This could be achieved by not only having retail
establishments but also historical markers.

The College Hill Corridor project will continue work the city
already had begun in trying to link the Pio Nono area to downtown and
will include the redevelopment of a new Central High School and the old
Miller High School, Ellis said.
“We want to make sure that the entire community is linked together from intown to midtown and into downtown,” he said. The
plan represents a shift in economic development strategy, focusing on
young professionals between ages 24 to 35, otherwise known as the
“creative class,” DuBose said.

The creative class is made up of people who generally are
technologically advanced and tolerant of differences. They include
professions such as software programmers, doctors, lawyers and artists
who create jobs in the city and generally have the most economic buying
Universities produce these types of people, and making the
city more attractive to college students will increase the chances of
them staying following graduation, DuBose said.

The College Hill
Corridor commission, made up of various city officials and
representatives from community organizations, the John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation and the Bibb County Board of Education, should meet
for the first time this summer, Gerwig-Moore said.
She said she hopes to get a student on board.The four students who started the project all are either leaving Macon or are undecided in their plans after graduation.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Apr 29th 2007 at 11:06am UTC

Creative Tampa Bay Is Doing It

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Tampa Bay has been a leader in creative economic development for some time. Here’s a nice update on their work.

Tampa created the position of a creative-industries manager for the
city just months after Florida’s visit. Its chamber of commerce sent
arts representatives on two recent international trade missions for the
first time, and now arranges an annual bus tour to alert business
leaders of local creative industries like animation studios and the
International Academy of Design & Technology.

Read the full story here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Apr 29th 2007 at 7:00am UTC

More Religion and the Creative Class

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Bruce Reyes-Chow provides an interesting take on the ongoing discussion of religion and the creative class:

There are clear correlations between Florida’s explanation of
urban economic success and the possibilities for mainline
congregational physical and spiritual vitality.  I believe that in the
end mainline urban congregations see themselves as possessing all
characteristics of urban Creative Centers.  But, I also believe there
is often a large chasm between how a congregation sees itself and the
realities of who they are.  …

Tolerance and Diversity: In this case, I suspect that most congregations at any location on the political/theological spectrum claim to hold tolerance and diversity
as important.  More often than not however, this is not lived out
beyond tokenism or superficial markers of diversity.  Florida argues,
and I would agree, tolerance must be more than numbers, it must also be
a way of life.  Just as universities will fail to attract the Creative
Class because they pay diversity superficial lip service, highly
concentrated areas of the Creative Class will not simply tolerate
difference, but will truly appreciate what diversity brings to the
larger community.  The church needs to take on the approach as well if
we hope, not just attract this particular group of people, but to
actually live into the idea that tolerance and diversity matter.

Creativity and Innovation: … I suspect that this is one more difficult characteristic
for an established church to do after developing great history and
traditions.  Still, without these attributes, liberal or conservative,
we will remain mired in a particular time and context without even
knowing it and will again, fail to live into who we claim to be.

Introspection and Evaluation: Florida models one aspect of
this culture that is often underappreciated, this group engages in
critical self-reflection.  I think this is an intrinsic aspect of the
Creative Class’ ability to innovate and appreciate diverse worldviews,
that is no one is complete or isolated, so by default we are in the
process of discovering who we are to become.  If that is not the
church, not sure what is?  Unfortunately however, this way of being too
often produces reactions of defensiveness and resistance rather than
self-reflection and transformation

And while I would severely critique mainline churches regarding
these three areas, I firmly believe that because we hold these three
areas up as ideals – which not all communities do – we have the
greatest potential being transformed into communities that are not just
succeeding, but thriving.

Lastly, if I had the research chops to do something like this, I
think this book could easily be done in the form of something like
“City Churches and the Creative Class” and I would suspect that we
would find very similar characteristics in healthy and thriving urban
congregations.  This book, in terms of my particular project will
provide the documentation and analysis to support my theory that
mainline churches are equipped to, and if freed to, will attract this
unique cultural community.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Apr 28th 2007 at 9:11am UTC

Where Fast Food Was Born

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Lots of folks liked my earlier post on the geography of fast food, judging from the comments that is.  So here’s a quick update:

New Jersey may be the diner capital of the world, but Rhode Island is the diner’s birthplace. The Naugahyde and Formica restaurants that sizzle with breakfast all
day long, and where the waitresses call you “Hon,” had their start in Providence
more than 130 years ago. Because of Rhode Island’s diner heritage, as
well as its large working-class population, an estimated 75 to 80
diners and lunch counters still dot the tiny state. A dozen of them are
in the “rail car” style, where customers get two choices of seating: if
the line of booths along the windows is full, they can plop themselves
on a stool at the counter. For those obsessed with the history and design of diners, Providence
— with a handful of them in and around the city — and its neighbors are
a dream destination. The city’s riverfront, revitalized downtown and
Colonial-era houses are also significant draws.

The full story is here (sub required).

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Apr 28th 2007 at 9:06am UTC

Um, So Maybe the World Really Isn’t Flat After All

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Tom Friedman writes:

“The whole theme of the last century, and of Einstein’s life,” Mr.
Isaacson said in an interview, “is about people who fled oppression in
order to go places to think and express themselves. Einstein runs away from the rote learning and authoritarianism of Germany as a teenager in the 1890s and goes to Italy and Switzerland. And then he flees Hitler to come to America, where he resists both McCarthyism and Stalinism because he believes that the only way to have creativity and imagination is to nurture free thought — rebellious free thought.”

If you look at Einstein’s major theories — special relativity,
general relativity and the quantum theory of light — “all three come
from taking rebellious imaginative leaps that throw out old
conventional wisdom,” Mr. Isaacson said. “Einstein thought that the
freest society with the most rebellious thinking would be the most
creative. If we are going to have any advantage over China, it is
because we nurture rebellious, imaginative free thinkers, rather than
try to control expression.” Will China hit a ceiling on innovation because of its political authoritarianism? That’s what we need to watch for.

My favorite Einstein quotation is that “imagination is more
important than knowledge.” A society that restricts imagination is
unlikely to produce many Einsteins — no matter how many educated people
it has. But a society that does not stimulate imagination when it comes
to science and math won’t either — no matter how much freedom it has.