Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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“Place Finder”

The place finder presumes that all users value the same things in their environment as the author.

I might find the living costs in a successful economy too stressful. My work might not be reliant on location. I could work in an industry where jobs are secure regardless, or even in one where demand rises in hard times. Perhaps I just enjoy a challenge.

Whilst I would strongly wish that most people attach high value to equality in their communities, and to any measures which reduce inequality, I thought it odd that the author presumed to know my beliefs. Just because a person has ignorant views on the issue of equality does not mean that you have the right to dismiss their concerns.

Besides, perhaps I am an ardent campaigner for equality, or work in the field, and am actively seeking to locate to a place where I may be of assistance. Or maybe I want to open a factory and hope to exploit locals who are not properly protected by their community or by legislation etc. Maybe I hope to be an agent provocateur for major social reform and seek a community that is already very divided. I could be an anthropologist, a sociologist, an epidemiologist or an Athenian sophist ;) And of course, it is just possible that I am just tired of being granted the “equality” of positive discrimination and pity by which the liberal will always mark me as other – seeking instead to forge my own path on my own merits and earn my equality myself!

As to “diversity”, an automatic assumption that it is good seems plain bizarre. On the one hand it perpetuates the idea that minorities are not wholly a part of the larger community, because in celebrating difference it also continues to mark some people as “other” and prevents a free exchange of influences. On the other hand it arbitrarily favours homogeneity over our collective histories and all that they have to offer, and ultimately leaves us more disconnected from our community as individuals. In addition “diversity” seems all too often to hold some cultures as more worthy of esteem than others. Furthermore, it appears that “diversity” only celebrates certain modes of engagement with the community. If I come to your city wishing to be untouched by the experience, I am to be pitied. If I come to your city hoping to become one of you and to wholly adopt the majority culture, I will not only be pitied, I will be constantly reminded that I am not one of you.

Finally, “diversity” can be used to prevent the majority culture from extending rights to minority cultures. This is evident in many Western countries with regard to women’s rights. And that is before one examines whether one is looking at a major international city such as New York, a city which has a large migrant population that came from one region primarily such as Bradford in the UK or Dearborn in the US, or a city that might have had very little migration in recent times, such as Ulaan Baator in Mongolia.

Of course, a community which is confident will not seek to promote or quash differences within, but will just accept (and hopefully enjoy) what differences and similarities may exist at a given time. If I come to this city I will be valued equally regardless of the degree to which I engage with her. Such a community can be genuinely diverse.

On a lighter note, I might wish to settle in a place that I do not find beautiful. Beauty might be distracting, it might be dull after a while, maybe I regard it as a bourgeois concept. Or perhaps I am just a humble town planner seeking work.

Sent by Miss Objective Subjective from London

3 Responses to ““Place Finder””

  1. VanBC Says:

    The beliefs of the users are presumed based upon the previous studies that defined the creative class, which investigated their values. It is reasonable to me that place finder is therefore applicable to the creative class based on those values. Maybe you don’t fit the definition of the creative class, but then I’d say this tool isn’t for you, which is fine.

  2. Kaye Says:

    Could not agree more with the sentiment in your 2nd to last para. Having been typecast as “other” all my life, all I’ve ever wanted is to be accepted on my own terms, not the clinically PC terms handed down by those who’d think they have more authority to speak about my experience than I do. True diversity is about acknowledging and respecting difference at the level that is most deeply and personally felt, in all its individual nuance, colour and messy ambiguity. It has nothing to do with politics, whether of the oppressive mainstream variety, or liberal banner waving kind. You might enjoy the works of Richard Rodriguez (Brown: The last discovery of America).

  3. lrm Says:

    Love this post! SO true.
    Diversity being taught and ‘valued’ in schools is an even greater distortion than you’ve described.
    Children are not taught to embody and ‘know thyself’ and where they come from…
    It’s as though the ‘diversity’ nomer is a culture in and of itself, to which everyone is ’supposed to belong’.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

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