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Thread: Sophisticated culture and economic development?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Sophisticated culture and economic development?

    What is the influence of cultural activities such as art galleries and a local symphony orchestra to attract new residents and businesses? I know that there is noticeable connection with a local downtown and these cultural opportunities and both appear to be have parallel success.

    Additionally, do you think that the inclusion of these types of things help to attract new residents? Are people more likely to move into a location because they know that they at least have an opportunity to attend the symphony, go to a musical, go to the art gallery, or have a drink of choice at a microbrew pub or winery?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    I think there is a correlation between the two, but not a strong causal relationship.

    I believe that the presence of those type of cultural items generally improve the overall reputation of a community. That roughly relates to economic development because the "nice" communities are more often on the list for consideration. But I don't think IBM ever located anywhere simply because it had a symphony or some other cultural feature. But I'm willing to bet that if you study the numbers they tend to end up in those locations.

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    One of the big complaints I get is that we are becoming a town of t-shirt shops and losing the galleries, etc - so there is a link for sure -

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    When I worked at a regional ED body, Cultural resources was among the top questions we were asked. Typically a company, or increasingly, a consultant would send us a 5-page list of questions that we were supposed to answer and send back. They generally all asked about the business climate, business resources, tax rates (personal and business), incentives, schools, housing costs and availability, and cultural resources. (That is the standard order of consideration rather than any prioritizing).

    A relocating company wants as much of the staff as possible to make the move with them to the new city. (Paying moving expenses is still cheaper than finding a good replacement.) Letting staff know there is a full range of cultural resources, good schools, and housing selection encourages them to make the move with the company.

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    "Creative Class"

    You should check out Richard Florida's work on the "creative class" - what you've identified here is essentially his thesis... His work is readily available on-line. I'm not sure that I really agree with all of his assumptions, his data collection methods, or even his conclusions for that matter, but he's certainly one of the new "rock-star" planners selling his message on the wide north american stage.

    basic idea: cool smart people flock to cool smart places. While he focuses on the success of Boston, New York and Montreal to attract the elite "creative classes" he sometimes fails to talk about the "working classes" (sorry to dichotomize this way, he sets it up himself) that keep the whole city-machine working and alive.

    Cheers, CanCon

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Wealth creates culture. You may sustain offshoots of subsidized cultural activity in some unlikely places (example, the Tate as St Ives) but basically artists are whores or mammon. Without Wall Street, NYC would be like Detroit (sorry Detroit planner, no offense). Without the City, London would be like Glasgow. It's as simple as that. Of course it works indirectly, but that's the basic causality. Next time anyone bangs on about gentrification and evil yuppies, ask them to envision their favorite city after all the bankers, ad executives, “meeja” types, etc. left. Gritty would not begin to describe it.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Without Wall Street, NYC would be like Detroit (sorry Detroit planner, no offense). Without the City, London would be like Glasgow. It's as simple as that.
    None taken, I don't think Detroit wants to be NYC. It is astounding when you realize it only takes a few folks with some money to make major changes that impact your entire economy, and decides the human geography in which your city forms.

    How do you define culture? There are many societies out there still that are considered poor, but are full of culture.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    How do you define culture?
    True, there are many definitions of culture-- from the traditional SOB (symphony, opera, ballet) big cities boast; to NASCAR, which Charlotte markets as a big cultural resource. To each his own.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CanCon
    You should check out Richard Florida's work on the "creative class" - what you've identified here is essentially his thesis... His work is readily available on-line. I'm not sure that I really agree with all of his assumptions, his data collection methods, or even his conclusions for that matter, but he's certainly one of the new "rock-star" planners selling his message on the wide north american stage.

    basic idea: cool smart people flock to cool smart places. While he focuses on the success of Boston, New York and Montreal to attract the elite "creative classes" he sometimes fails to talk about the "working classes" (sorry to dichotomize this way, he sets it up himself) that keep the whole city-machine working and alive.

    Cheers, CanCon
    I agree, some of what he says is terrific, other parts make him sound like he is out of his mind. As for the cultural aspect, I think that it is a creative aspect, but does it have different influences?

    Kalamazoo Michigan for example has a great cultural scene. Within it’s downtown it has a combination between art museums, children museums, a massive open air festival site that accolades several types of music, ethnic, and food related activities, multiple eclectic microbreweries, a notable since of place and history, a theater, a local symphony, and combination with the local university, it brings in many outside musicals and large production events. When I was going to college at Northern Michigan University, Kalamazoo became almost like a Mecca for anyone who was eclectic. Yet Kalamazoo rated very low on the Creative Class scale. So, I take Florida’s works as information that can be incorporated into other aspects as opposed to his desired stand alone answer to development.

    Additionally, when speaking with a friend of mine that live in Chicago for a while and moved to a smaller town I asked what he missed about the Windy City. His answer was the symphony. When I asked him if he ever went, he said that he did not, but he liked knowing that it was there.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    And Florida's work is based on white-collar, professional, Creative target industries like Advertising, research and HQs. So all his advice is based on attracting that type of industry.

    Attracting industry, call centers, manufacturing, etc. would entail totally different location criteria.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CanCon
    You should check out Richard Florida's work on the "creative class" - what you've identified here is essentially his thesis... His work is readily available on-line. I'm not sure that I really agree with all of his assumptions, his data collection methods, or even his conclusions for that matter, but he's certainly one of the new "rock-star" planners selling his message on the wide north american stage.

    basic idea: cool smart people flock to cool smart places. While he focuses on the success of Boston, New York and Montreal to attract the elite "creative classes" he sometimes fails to talk about the "working classes" (sorry to dichotomize this way, he sets it up himself) that keep the whole city-machine working and alive.

    Cheers, CanCon
    Richard Florida is a self promoting snake oil salesman. Him and his group are similar to the people who promote every city should have its own Convention Center and Five Star Hotel. This fad will also pass. Just don't let the taxpayers get sucked into creativly financing it.

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    Quote Originally posted by nemo31
    Richard Florida is a self promoting snake oil salesman. Him and his group are similar to the people who promote every city should have its own Convention Center and Five Star Hotel. This fad will also pass. Just don't let the taxpayers get sucked into creativly financing it.

    Hahahah... good call. He charges out at an extremely high rate to tell cities stories they want to hear about themselves. He told Montreal business leaders and Council, for example, that the city is absolutely fantastic, doing very well overall, and a cultural leader in North America. yeah... um OK. Montreal's infrastructure is in a complete state of disrepair (i.e. 50% of highways and up to 60% of bridges are in terrible shape and need to be replaced, and we lose our clean water at a rate of 50% in the pipes under the city before they ever see a household tap) and there's a substantial problem with poverty here. Oh well, I guess we have the Jazz festival... that should balance all of the other urban ills out, no?

    I just hope this illusory "urban planning" fad will pass afterall. But infrastructure never was as sexy to talk about as "arts and culture"... Florida is doing something right though - he probably makes a lot more coin than any of us can even hope to.

    CanCon

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CanCon
    Hahahah... good call. He charges out at an extremely high rate to tell cities stories they want to hear about themselves. He told Montreal business leaders and Council, for example, that the city is absolutely fantastic, doing very well overall, and a cultural leader in North America. yeah... um OK. Montreal's infrastructure is in a complete state of disrepair (i.e. 50% of highways and up to 60% of bridges are in terrible shape and need to be replaced, and we lose our clean water at a rate of 50% in the pipes under the city before they ever see a household tap) and there's a substantial problem with poverty here. Oh well, I guess we have the Jazz festival... that should balance all of the other urban ills out, no?

    I just hope this illusory "urban planning" fad will pass afterall. But infrastructure never was as sexy to talk about as "arts and culture"... Florida is doing something right though - he probably makes a lot more coin than any of us can even hope to.

    CanCon

    tres bien!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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