Posts Tagged ‘inequality’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Feb 25th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Cities, Inequality and Wages

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Economic inequality has been mounting in the United States, hitting levels not seen since the Gilded Age.  There are numerous explanations for this phenomenon, ranging from the decline of unions and high-paid manufacturing jobs to the rise of globalization, of new technology, and knowledge-based work (what economists call “skill-based technical change”) and the bifurcation of the labor market into high-skill and low-skill jobs.

But do our cities and changing economic landscape play a role as well?  There are good reasons to suspect that they do.  For one, the past decade or so has seen a sorting of population by skill, occupation and human capital, (see my 2006 article “Where the Brains Are”).  For another, it is well known that both highly skilled and talented people and productive firms and high-tech industries tend to cluster and agglomerate together to create powerful economic advantages.


Zoltan Acs
by Zoltan Acs
Thu Jul 23rd 2009 at 4:45pm UTC

The “Creativity Crisis” in Industrial Cities

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Creativity is changing the way in which cities approach economic development and formulate policy. Creative metropolises base their economic development strategies, at least partly, on building communities attractive to the creative class worker. While there are countless examples of high-tech regions transforming into creative economies, traditionally industrial cities have received much less attention in this regard.

In a recent article with Monica Megyesi, we study Baltimore to assess the potential of transforming a traditionally industrial region into a creative economy. It analyzes Baltimore’s performance on dimensions of talent, tolerance, technology, and territory both as a stand-alone metropolitan area and in comparison to similar industrial metropolises.

This case study concludes that Baltimore has the opportunity to capitalize on the creative economy because of its openness to diversity, established technology base, appealing territorial amenities, and access to the largest reservoir of creative talent in the USA: Washington, D.C.

While a decade ago it seemed that you can transform an industrial city, today it looks bleaker than ever. Baltimore is a case in point. The rise of the creative class and the international creative class has driven a wedge between the members and nonmembers of the creative class. The evidence is to be found in the rise in inequality in income and wealth.

Without resetting the goal posts to create opportunity, America faces an uncertain future. It appears that without investing in the education and training of the non-creative class, the U.S. is on a long-run decline. How we reform, invest, and deliver educational services remains one of the most daunting challenges for the U.S. in the 21st century.