Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Jun 30th 2007 at 1:32pm UTC

Fast Cities


Fast Company on Fast Cities:

To find them, we started with data from Carnegie Mellon assistant
professor Kevin Stolarick, the numbers guru behind Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, which helped define what makes great cities tick. We relied on CEOs for
Cities’ CityVitals survey, authored by Joseph Cortright of Portland,
Oregon–based Impresa Inc.; sustainability data from SustainLane; and
insights from the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto.

What makes a Fast City? It starts with opportunity. Not just bald
economic capacity, but a culture that nurtures creative action and
game-changing enterprise. Fast Cities are places where entrepreneurs
and employees alike can maximize their potential–where the number of
patents filed is high, for instance, or where the high-tech sector is

The second component: innovation. Fast Cities invest in physical,
cultural, and intellectual infrastructure that will sustain growth.
“The real forces for change in America and around the world are the
mayors and the local communities,” says Florida, now a professor of
public policy at George Mason University.

Finally, Fast Cities have energy, that ethereal thing that happens
when creative people collect in one place. The indicators can seem
obscure: number of ethnic restaurants, or the ratio of live-music
lovers to cable-TV subscribers. But they point to environments where
fresh thinking stimulates action and, by the way, attracts new talent
in a virtuous cycle of creativity.

Sifting through the data, we identified 30 Fast Cities around the
globe, which we’re presenting in nine categories, from Creative-Class
Meccas to Green Leaders. We’ve also noted 20 locales on the verge of
Fast City status, plus 5 Slow Cities–and 5 too fast for their own good.

Click here for the Fast Cities list; here for cities on the verge; here for slow cities; here for too-fast cities. Interactive maps here and here And a slide show here.

5 Responses to “Fast Cities”

  1. bee Says:

    This posting contains no information on what makes a Fast City. If this is good as it gets I would ask Florida and Stolarick to think a little harder and spend less time lusting for attention.

    I have two material problems with the finding as reported. One, there is no way to address the arrow of causality. Two, the factors presented are “ethereal things” to quote the posting. Empiracle work that appeals to supernatural causes is not science. These defects indicate that the quality of scholarship is seriously wanting. I would ask Florida and Stolarick to read Porter and Ghemawat. Ghemawat in his Commitment book does a great job calling out the fallacies that Flordia and Stolarick commit in an easy to read format (causality and necessary and sufficient arguments). The recent piece that Florida has on Gays and City economic prosperity is another example of confounding correlation and causation.

  2. Michael Wells Says:

    I think this is probably the result of reading too fast.

    The “Fast Cities” post is a link to a Fast Company article, not Florida and Stolarick’s work — the magazine just used some of Kevin’s statistics. As a popular magazine with a “hip” image, Fast Company doesn’t document their research and maybe it’s not even good research — it’s just another top 30 list with their brand attached. But it’s not Richard and Kevin’s research, they were just mentioned.

    On the Gays & Cities interview and its accompanying study. I actually think Richard goes out of his way to say that there’s not a “gays cause prosperity” phenomenon, but that there is a correlation and that a city’s openness does have a causal relationship to both numbers of gays and prosperity. And I think he does a pretty good job of showing that causality.

  3. Wil Says:

    This top ten list is simply straight-faced fun. How could any list of tech or innovation cities not include Palo Alto, and Berkeley, California? Is Los Angeles really on a “B” list when it comes to being a creative mecca?

    Still, I think that there is validity in the concept of “fast cities”, and appreciate the development of the idea.

  4. bee Says:

    Michael- fair enough … guilty of reading too fast!

  5. URENIO Portal: Innovation, Environments of Innovation, Intelligent Cities and Regions Says:

    The 30 Fastest Cities To Work, Live, and Play

    Fast Company magazine has selected 30 urban centers that are shaping our future. The list includes creative-class meccas, RD hot spots, even cities so fast theyre scary. It calls them Fast Cities. They are cauldrons of creativity where the …