Archive for May, 2011

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat May 28th 2011 at 5:30am UTC

America’s Fittest Cities

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Which metro is America’s healthiest? You might guess it’s Los Angeles, what with all those washboard abs you see at Venice Beach, Santa Monica or Malibu. Or, maybe Denver or Boulder, considering all the mountain biking, rock climbing and winter sports they’re famous for.

You’d be surprised.  The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI) that was just released by the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM).  The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they edged perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects their relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri May 27th 2011 at 6:08am UTC

America’s Best-Read Cities

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Which cities are America’s best read?  There’s no need for guess work any longer, now that Amazon.com has compiled all of its book, magazine and newspaper sales (in both print and Kindle format) since January first of this year for U.S. cities with populations of more than 100,000, and ranked them according to their per capita sales. Some of the results (via Mashable) are ho-hum, others more surprising.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 26th 2011 at 11:44am UTC

The Fan Factor in the NBA Conference Finals

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

This year’s NBA’s playoffs have had more than their share of drama.  Kobe Bryant’s and Phil Jackson’s Lakers melted down at the end of their four game sweep by the Dallas Mavericks. Lebron James finally triumphed against the vaunted Boston Celtics. Now the conference finals feature four stellar teams in matchups that are as notable for their tactical and strategic contrasts – the star-studded Heat versus the defense-minded team concept of Tom Thibodeaux’s Chicago Bulls – as for their outstanding players. And the archetypal confrontation between the Thunder’s 22-year-old Kevin Durant and the Maverick’s grizzled veteran, the seemingly unstoppable Dirk Nowitzki, promises still more scenery-chewing.

But beyond their individual stars and lineups, there’s that intangible force of the proverbial sixth man—the ineffable but undeniable jolt that players get from a noisy fan presence in the stands. Playing on your home court in front of devoted fans who whoop it up and cheer you on while booing your opponent, creates an extra level of energy that is almost impossible to measure.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri May 20th 2011 at 11:55am UTC

Best Places for College Grads

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Congratulations, Class of 2011, and welcome to a job market that’s only a little less terrible than the one that last year’s graduates had to contend with. Don’t feel too bad if you’re moving back to your parents’ house. According to a widely-reported recent survey, that’s where some 85 percent of your classmates are headed too.  Still, you’re going to be striking off on your own at some point, and the choices you’ll make about where to live can make an enormous difference in the kind of jobs you can get to help launch your career and life.

To seize your opportunities and navigate a career in this new borderless world, you have to be prepared to pick up stakes. Depending upon where Mom and Dad live, you might need to move to get that critical first job.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed May 18th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Do State Business Taxes Really Matter?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

These days talk about taxes of any kind, unless cuts are being proposed, is the third rail of American politics.  Many business people and of course doctrinaire conservatives insist that lower tax rates create more incentives for investment, business formation and economic growth. Tax cuts, they continue, are thus a key mechanism for spurring economic growth. Though we haven’t seen much of the Laffer Curve since the heyday of Reaganism, a new generation of supply-siders is arguing for more tax cuts despite our already-staggering deficits.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri May 13th 2011 at 11:00am UTC

Last Car Dealership

Friday, May 13th, 2011

San Francisco’s Lincoln Ford Mercury, the last domestic car dealership within the city’s 47.6 square mile area, abruptly shut its doors on May 1, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s a tough market. Imports have a much bigger share in San Francisco,” Dennis Fitzpatrick, owner of Concord Chevrolet and regional vice president of the California New Car Dealers Association told the paper. “When you can sell 100 imports a month as opposed to 25 domestic, and what with the rents and real estate, it’s tough to make a U.S. car dealership pencil.” (more…)

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 12th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Geography of Hate

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

With the death of Osama Bin Laden, many believe that Al Quaeda was dealt a mortal blow. Time will tell, but as we learned from the Oklahoma City bombing and Nidal Malik Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood, we have much to fear from our own home grown extremists. And not just from “lone nuts” acting on their own.

Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups – from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations – has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fuelled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.

But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States—at least within some sectors of their populations—are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue May 10th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Taxes, Spending and the Politics of Economic Growth

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

With the U.S. economic recovery apparently stalling and perhaps headed for a double dip, the debate among economic policy makers about what to do is heating up.  The right says it’s time to embrace fiscal prudence, to cut spending and pay off debt.  On the left, there are calls for continued spending to offset reduced private investment.

A new study by Tulane’s James Alm and Janet Rogers of Nevada’s Department of Budget and Planning (h/t Ryan Avent, whose deadpan tweet noted that it was likely to spark a “lively discussion”) takes a close look at the effects of tax and spending policies at the state level.  Entitled  “Do State Fiscal Policies Affect State Economic Growth?”, it examines  fifty years of data  (from 1947 to 1997),  tracking  the effects of state tax policies, spending policies, and political orientation on economic growth. Looking at the different policy approaches and strategies that have been pursued at the level of states and cities and comparing their results provides a useful lens through which to examine pressing national issues. Alm’s and Rogers’ main findings are certainly interesting; “lively” is quite likely an understatement for the sort of debate their findings should inspire.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 5th 2011 at 10:15am UTC

Building America’s Third Great Job Machine

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My oped in today’s Financial Times makes a case for a radical approach to solving America’s jobs problem—upgrading low wage service jobs.  Here’s a longer, original version of that piece, including the critical chart (immediately below) compiled by my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute.  The chart tracks the rise and fall of four broad classes of work – agricultural work (farm), industrial work (manuf), knowledge-based and creative work (CC), and routine low-wage service work (LWS) – from 1800 through 2009. (more…)