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The Creative Class, blah, blah, blah

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
The next big thing?

Forgive the length, after revisiting my dissertation, and talking w/ sme friends I starting musing on this-

The timeline of ideas to "save the city"-

In the 50's and 60's "Urban Renewal" was preached as the saving grace for cities. We all know the unfortunate outcome of the funky blend of garden city and modernism, culminating in the 73 demolition of Pruit-Igo, modernism and the idea of science over nature probably ended then, though like punk rock there are those who refuse to believe that they are gone.

In the 70's there was a concerted effort to bring a human face “we had learned from our mistakes” Aptly named post modernism pulled discarded images from the garbage bin of history and stuck them on the sides of building, pedestrian malls were imported from Europe as solution to the sterile urban environs. The malls killed a lot of businesses that had been previously successful and by the late 80’s had been mostly removed, Post Modern architecture was eventually dismissed as fluff, though like its intellectual cousin, Post modern thought, still persists in society.

In the 80's and early 90's the large civic project took over, the new convention center, ballpark, highrise office building, arena, and starting in the mid-90's due to the success of the Goog in Bilbao, the art museum. The latter was even given its own name "Bilbao effect" though it has not shown up as planned in cities w/ similar arts projects like Valencia, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee (where Calatrava has design arguably one of the most spectacular museums of our time) The jury is still out on most of these projects, I know that ballparks did wonders for Denver and Cleveland, but tourism and conventions are down, and the years of ball game sell outs have diminished due to lack of “newness” and lackluster performance on the field.

The 90’s brought New Urbanism, and DPZ describes it as primarily a tool for "urban regeneration" not renewal, to be applied in urban areas in CNU literature. Though its short history shows that it has flourished in suburban environments, with little affect in historic urban areas so far. Obviously this is a maturing ideology so it will be some time before we can pass judgment on it, but it leads in to the…..

Creative Class, Florida's book was taken as gospel last year, everyone seemed to be talking about this elusive newly "discovered" strata in society that can propel an economy and takes its own DIY approach to urban regeneration. From a technical standpoint the environments that CC’ers seek is not unlike DPZ's traditional developments, but the big difference is that they are suppose to "honest" and not contrived in execution, as this class is suppose to crave "real" urban experience and has the ability t smell a phony. The philosophy moves away from the broader proletarian focus of the modernists, and the combined citizen and trans global elite approach of the large civic project, it may have the tightest focus of any design initiative I have heard of.

Question is, how do you plan and design an environment for a group that does not want anything designed? And if you can attract them, will they become active contributing citizens or is trying to create a CC environment something that can not be done? Is it something that either happens or doesn’t? Is concentrating on such a small group divisive? (Florida stresses that this group craves diversity, but it’s a diversity that is decided on ones own terms) And will the CC’ers really lead urban areas to new glory and economic letdown? Or are we setting ourselves up for an eventual let down?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
This too, will fade. Richard Florida is very "1999."

Most of the work tasks performed by "the Creative Class" can easily be done by (often better) educated professionals and engineers in places like India and China. Already, animation is mostly done in Korea (and the higher tech CGI staff will be off-sourced soon, as well), software is written in India, and movies are made more and more in cheaper locations like Mexico and Canada. If all of the manufacturing is done overseas, why do we assume that all of the significant design functions will not also be off-sourced? Call centers? gone! Customer service-a college grad in India for $2.50/hour, or an uneducated work-to-welfare mom for $6.50/hour in the United States? There are a lot of very talented engineers and designers in Eastern Europe, for example, who will work for very little money.

You can't run an entire economy of 300 million people with a few fluffy artists and (due to consolidation) a few corporate headquarters.
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
I don't know exactly what is meant by this Florida guy and his theoreys, but i have just finished some deep digging into Post Modernism etc, and what it was, what it meant, what its original goals and purposes were. So if you want to delve into some of the material at this link here:

http://www.cgarchitect.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=8&t=000044

You are welcome to do so, or ask me any specific questions, about the design of the built environment. Anything, things that might be bothering you, i might be able to help with.

Brian.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
There is a valid point behind Florida's theories. Places with attractive attributes attract talented people and those with money (capital). Progressive, open-minded places are more willing to listen to new ideas, which creates an entrepreneurial atmosphere. You can draw other, straightforward conclusion like this. It is valid to question whether you can change the character of a place, though. Yes, you may build bike trails, open coffee shops, and set up a technology business incubator, but will that really change the mindset of the people who live there? Probably not.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
MIX IT UP

Ok… here is the MIKE theory. Take all the good points from CC and NU, combine them, toss out the bad stuff, and then, you have the start, of a positive way to revitalize a community. I believe in some of the principles of each. One component of NU is the addition of public art to a downtown… hmm, that is the same with the CC. Mixed use, mixed density, mixed ideas, mixed theories, and mixed drinks, that is the way to help a city.

No one “movement” can save everything… a mix of movements is the way to go.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Cardinal posted
Yes, you may build bike trails, open coffee shops, and set up a technology business incubator, but will that really change the mindset of the people who live there? Probably not.
Definitely has not worked here. You can do all you want to pretty a place up, provide amenities and try to attract new people to it, but if the existing and dominant culture is not interested in these items you might as well throw money into the river.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
you might as well throw money into the river.
At least somebody can fish that money out of the river donwstream and get some use out of it :)
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
Good points all, the bottom line is that there is no magic bullet, but if you have ever read the cries of newspapers editorial pages you would tend to think that a great monument, civic project, or class of people could pull a city out of a funk. The Atlanta Journal Constitiution ran a front page multi-day series 2 years ago on why Atlanta needed a large landmark (ie; Arch, Space Needle, Statue of Liberty, Googenhiem) to define its self, this was jumped on by civic leaders and the ppulace, to date no design (or even clear objective) has risen. While a land mark or big civic building might be nice in Atlanta, I am sure they have bigger fish to fry. I have seen countless articles on developing districts for the CCer's, my concern is that this is just another fad, like the ballparks, Conv. Centers, etc...

The desire for greatness is were boosterizm is born, nurished by ego and visions of greatness it develop a life of its own, producing a project or planning direction that does not reflect the needs of the community.

Did Austin decide it was going to be a creative mecca? and how sustainable is that enviroment? the forces were all ready working there for years.

My personal view is that cities should build on their own stregths, not waste energy trying to contort theself's into something they are not.
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
garethace said:
I don't know exactly what is meant by this Florida guy and his theoreys, but i have just finished some deep digging into Post Modernism etc, and what it was, what it meant, what its original goals and purposes were. So if you want to delve into some of the material at this link here:

http://www.cgarchitect.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=8&t=000044

You are welcome to do so, or ask me any specific questions, about the design of the built environment. Anything, things that might be bothering you, i might be able to help with.

Brian.
Interesting debate there, reminds me of our talks in undergrad on where style comes from.

Interesting note: Robert Venturi, and Johnson seem to have distanced themselves from Post-modernism, Venturi even claims that he never was a post-modernist.

Well Bob, its not modern, so what is it?
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
I think that you must put it all into the America of the 1950s. When Mies van der Rohe, held absolute sway over the 5 points of Architectural debate, and was a masterful Architect in dealing with the building contractor - on how to achieve the aesthetic you wanted to achieve - do'esn't always happen.

Whereas Venturi said things aren't always purely a directly communication with the building contractor. It can sometimes have different levels. I am sure you understand that very, very well indeed. But what people tend to forget nowadays, while Architects like Kahn, didn't build that much early on - they didn't become obssessed with building either when they eventually got something to their name. I mean, Kahn designed buildings and urban plans, because he thought that people would enjoy the places. Not because they expressed the glory of the Architect as loudly as Mies did.

Think of any service industry you know, and that is Louis Kahn - Mies didn't worry so much about his client, as much as the Architecture.
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
From a competitive standpoint, Florida's ideas for attracting CC workers aren't the gospel they've been made out to be. Florida's concept of CC workers seem to go only to the faddish cities -- Austin, Bay Area, Seattle, etc. -- because their cultural scenes are well-recognized. If a city not known for its scene -- Boise, for example -- works overnight to improve its offerings, the CCers will still go to the Austins and Seattles. They don't research locations as much you'd think.

That is where I somewhat disagree with Florida's concept. He seems to define them too easily, when he readily admits their tastes are diverse. I think some members of the super-creative core and most of the other CC workers have more nuanced notions of what they want in a place -- close to home, waterfront, jazz scene, genuine people, warm weather, etc. Different people flourish in different settings.

Still, I think cities ought to improve those amenities that CCers crave -- not so much to attract new workers, but to keep the existing CC workforce there. And those who really care about the city WILL appreciate those efforts and push for more. That's why I think there's no joking when people say about my two hometowns -- Oklahoma City and Cleveland -- it will take a generation or two to overcome their national stereotypes, but action must start somewhere, and both will ultimately be better off for it.
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
I have some bit of knowledge what Seattle is about as a place, but could someone possibly explain the CC worker to me? Or even give me a link to what Florida has said. No rush, but whenever someone has a good link handy. Ta, ta.
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
Creative Class workers are the artists, musicians, engineers, academics, IT people, architects, etc that compose the "super creative core", plus the lawyers, medical profesionals, and business, etc that solve complex problems. It's these knowledge workers Florida says that make or break a city's success. For more info, here's his link:

http://www.creativeclass.org/
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Ah yeah! The creative people energising the economy theory of the future as oposed to commodities and farm produce in the past. Thankyou, imagine it has now become an urban theory too eh? !

Anyhow, when I move away from Dublin City, which was full of people all reading this book or that, listening to this alternative music or that, studying for this PHD or that, bookstores, web cafes and the que of people to register for night courses in the college last week was more that that for a football match!

I moved down the country to a quieter part for a while. A place where web cafes and reading trendy new books on everything was rare if non-existent. It was great for once, to look out at the green fields, talk to people, and not be worried about Stephen King's later novel or U2's latest album. Wonderful. OTOH, i posted this at another website, because I think the melting pots of ideas and CC make it too easy to gain knowledge without actually working for it. I worked in a knowledge community in Dublin in the late nineties, and i found the experience to be a mixed blessing afterwards. It gave you enormous confidence, beyond what you actually perhaps ought to have - and yeah, everyone around you wanted to believe you - i met several young 21 year olds who work there now, and they are the same. I still believe there is something a bit deeper - maybe not on the knowledge community extreme or the green grass of home extreme but in between.

I have just been thinking people, about a fair enough point raised in a thread by what? That not everything in life comes to you on a plate. It is funny I didn’t actually know what that poster meant by the statement. That is, until I was chatting to a very knowledgeable music type of individual. He asked me to explain Architecture to him, as best as I could. I proceeded into my normal long effort of what I think Architecture is/is not. But suddenly I drew back and said, lets wait a minute here – perhaps things don’t always come handed to you on a plate. So I suggested that I e-mail him a few hyperlinks, to some of my deeper discussions about the topic here at Archiseek.

I mean, isn’t there something in the effort of reading? Isn’t there some sense of achievement when you have finished that page, and worked yourself to understand something relevant or important? I mean, if I give it straight up on a plate in a pub, to some guy who thinks he knows everything (and possibly does too) about music, did that person have to work for that? No. Is information just tasty bite sized chunks now? A seudo, pre-processed version of the real thing, and are we all like puppies?
Here is another experience of knowledge wealth/poverty: Libraries
 
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jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
I haven't read Florida but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that - and take a look at what's going on in Columbia, SC - the brain drain will continue in cities that lack a certain QOL.

I think it's much less about getting some yuppy from Boston to move to Indianapolis and much more about getting some recent college grad, originally from Ft. Wayne, to stay in Indy instead of doing his job-hunting in Chicago.

as far as BKM's comments - jobs, manufacturing and otherwise, have been pouring out of this country for 50 years now. New, domestic jobs are created everyday. There's always something new to fill the void.

As has been the trend since the early 80's, young professionals are more often choosing to live and work in or around major cities. The second tier cities have a choice of whether or not to offer some of the basic ammenities that one would find in a city like San Fran or Philly. When 24 year old white kids from the Des Moines suburbs are dropping $800 a month to live in a shoebox in the dodgiest parts of Brooklyn it's not a bad idea for cities like Omaha and KC to try to capture that human capital, by fostering a local music/restaurant/bar/art scene, before it's gone for good.

Once these recent grads get a taste of the "good life" and marry someone from a completely different part of the country - Iowa just isn't "home" anymore.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
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34
jresta said:


Once these recent grads get a taste of the "good life" and marry someone from a completely different part of the country - Iowa just isn't "home" anymore.
Until they have kids to raise, then many come back for the safety and educational benefits of Iowa.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
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29
as far as BKM's comments - jobs, manufacturing and otherwise, have been pouring out of this country for 50 years now. New, domestic jobs are created everyday. There's always something new to fill the void.
I certainly hope so. I am increasingly skeptical, though.

What jobs are going to replace the high end manufacturing and now service jobs? Much of the country has NOT really replaced its economic base (see Dan's posts about Buffalo.) Is Trou, New York, Gary, Indiana, or the like really as prosperous as the past? There are more Troys and Garys than Austins or San Franciscos (with the $500,000 condos and 30% office vacancy rates) The average woprker has not really even recovered his or her earnings to the level of the 1970s. If all of the high end services are moving overseas, economic consolidation accelerates to the point that commerce is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands (hence, not as much room for the entrepeneur), what miracle source of jobs will be there?

Especially when EVERY town is a Buffalo-style branch office town. For example, my home town (Fort Wayne, Indiana) once had six locally owned banks. These banks had local executives, made many purchasing decisions locally, built local landmarks as office buildings. They had roots. There is today not a single locally-owned major bank in a metropolitan area of 400,000 people. Another mainstay of the local economy-Dana Spicer Axle (1500 jobs) is shipping all but 500 or so to Mexico. Lincoln Life Insurance was bought by another major multinational and is basically shipping its entire corporate headquarters to Philadelphia. Control is being consolidated into fewer and fewer hands, and I just don't see that as a positive thing.

I see the "global village" meaning a race to the bottom. Those Indian engineers are just as talented as the "creative class" engineers in the United States-and they work for $15,000/year.

I guess we can all work for WalMart, who is more than able to find the absolutely most desperate countries to buy their products from. That is the way of the global market, and pollyannish babblings about the creative class won't overcome the reality.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Messages
13,908
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57
BKM said:
I certainly hope so. I am increasingly skeptical, though.

......What jobs are going to replace the high end manufacturing and now service jobs? Much of the country has NOT really replaced its economic base.....
.......I guess we can all work for WalMart, who is more than able to find the absolutely most desperate countries to buy their products from. That is the way of the global market, and pollyannish babblings about the creative class won't overcome the reality.
Right on BKM

You have just solidified the way I have been feeling about the economy lately, but I just didn't know how to express it.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
BKM, please, I'll be the last one to buy into today's economic and development model. I know it's a race to the bottom, or rather, a race to capture the winners in the growing inequality game.

Interestingly enough, real wages for men have been stagnant (and falling as of late) since the late 60's. Women's wages have been growing steadily every year since the 50's - what happens when the twain meet? i digress. A growing Wal-Mart work force and a much smaller but growing creative class is not a coincidence.

All those engineers from India who make $15,000 a year in India realize they can make 10x that in the US and enjoy a much better quality of life. So they've all moved to NJ. Bell Labs, Bellcore, Lucent, CECOM, and big Pharma have proven very attractive to the South Asian set and as a result NJ now has the highest South Asian population in the country.

People with skills and an education can and do go anywhere in the world they want to. They want to go where the money is. The money wants to go where the talent is. Eventually they meet up in place like Florida describes. If Bangalore winds up replacing North Jersey or the Silicon Valley as the tech capitol of the world American engineers may start flocking there . . . if the ammenities are there and if the pay is right. Speaking of pay - White collar workers intuitively know when it's time for a union and when it's not. Witness the power of white collar unions in the automotive and aerospace inudstries.

At any rate, Iowa does have great schools. So does Philly, New York and Chicago. They just cost a little extra - and the people Florida is talking about have that little extra when the kids come around - if the kids come around at all. In terms of the demographic that Florida is talking about, there's probably not another group out there, retirees excepted, with a lower birth rate.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
A Monday Morning rant, jresta.

I am in training, right now.

I am the NEXT KUNSTLER! BUY MY BOOKS AND HEAR ME ROAR! :) (Don't you know that my next career move is to become a Kunstleresque ranter :) )

You, of course, have many good points. I wouldn't want to live in a metropolitan area that doesn't offer many of the "Creative Class" amenities. I couldn't have gone on a tour of modern residential architecture and stopped off at an Indian fast food joint mid-tour in my home town.

My only caveat with your vision is the loss of local character and local ties. If everything is completely flexible and fluctuating, can we really develop deep communities? Is that yet another destructive aspect of modern capitalism?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
BKM said:

My only caveat with your vision is the loss of local character and local ties. If everything is completely flexible and fluctuating, can we really develop deep communities? Is that yet another destructive aspect of modern capitalism?
It's not MY vision and like i said before, i haven't even read Florida so I can't really defend him. In the case of my city i'm not really interested in attracting the creative class. I'd just like to see the creative class stay. That's starting to happen but far too many are still packing their bags and hopping on planes to Chicago or New York.

I realize the nature of our economy accounts for much of the problem and neighboring cities competing with each other for scarce resources is not a way to solve the problem. So until we win the debate with the TINA folks what do we do about jobs and other resources?

P.S. - i encourage you to become a professional ranter. As long as you believe in what you are ranting about and you're good at it - what's the problem?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
jresta

Sorry, don't mean to tar you with the vision-thing :)

Except for my addiction to driving and some yuppie things :(, we may agree on a lot of things, actually. And, there is certainly nothing wrong with working to make an attractive city that can attract the young (or encourage them to stay).

I just get a lit tired of "this is the solution to everything" planning and redevelopment cliches. Of course, I've not read Florida's entire book, either.

My favorite example that I've seen is Charleston, West Virginia. It has the failed "Pedestrian Mall," the "convention center" the cluster of faux-traditional townhouses, the heavily subsidized conventional suburban mall downtown. I got quite a chuckle out of it when I would drive from Grad School in Charlottesville to my homeotwn in Indiana :)
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
a friday rant

Ahh Charleston . . . a frequent stop-over on ski-trips when i live in NC. That place is just depressing.

It's an interesting point, the idea of the quick fix. In my professional planning experience (granted it's limited to the Delaware Valley) renewal schemes that involve spending a lot of money to attract "tourists" or other out-of-towners to spend money at your mall/amusement park/history park/etc are invariably cooked up by the business community. They send me emails on a weekly basis. http://www.snjdc.org
They're cooking up plans now to destroy the last corners of Cape May County - the rationale? Economic Development! Of course, they'll get the money for it and in 5 years when everyone is sitting in traffic on a mall lined strip on their way to the beach they'll blame "the planners."

The same thing is going on at the Camden waterfront. Is this being led by "the Planners"? Nope. It's being led by the Cooper's Ferry Development Association and State party bosses who fired the city government, installed a CEO and a CFO and moved the planning department to the basement. The $175 million recovery act puts nearly every penny into the Waterfront, the two universities and the two hospitals. The planning director was the first to point out that money like that would be better off in a revolving fund to cover rehabs of houses and schools and new construction and to get local businesses off the ground. The jobs created and the skills learned would be much more valuable in the long run.

on that note - I grew up at the shore, 100 miles north of Cape May in an area that had since been passed by for greener pastures further south. The Garden State Parkway expressed people right through our county. By the time I graduated from high school the decline had come nearly full circle (with the exception of Asbury Park). It took about 15 years just to recover from the damage done by the State when they closed the mental hospitals and boarded the outpatients in our stately, old hotels.

Anyway, anyone who had lived in the area for a decade or so could tell you that we were much better off without the tourism. Entrepeneurs and investors had to look for more permanent and stable industry and as a result the traffic wasn't as bad, crime was less, jobs paid better, neighborhoods were more stable, etc.

So, yeah, tourism/outlet centers/malls/convention centers are great for the business community. They're largely built with public money so that means big profits for the limited private investors and low wages and no benefits for the people who have to work in these places. Then even bigger profits in the apartment industry because no one earning that money can afford to buy a house with a permanent foundation.

Not to mention the fact that these places are especially prone to economic bumps and very few of them can draw a steady stream of visitors without continuously reinventing (more public money) themselves - unless they have some unique cultural asset like NYC, Chicago, DC or unless they have a unique physical asset like Asheville, Vail, Lake Tahoe, Key West, etc.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
As an economic developer, I am continually depressed by people who see a single things as the solution to all of their problems. Especially with downtown revitalization, I think I have heard it all: transit stops, downtown malls, streetscapes, public bathrooms, one or another downtown busines....

The town I am in right now did the streetscape years ago. We finished a town square costing millions. Now, without the benefit of any market study, some have latched onto the idea that an art gallery would be the thing to revitalize downtown. Others want to spend the little resources we have on a consultant, thinking that they will actually find the retailers to fill the buildings - it does not work that way. Consultants will tell you what you need to do to fix problems, create markets, and attract them yourself.

It is frustrating, but there are a handful of people who understand there is no "big fix." My hope lies in them.
 

japrovo

Member
Messages
103
Points
6
Cardinal said:
"... there are a handful of people who understand there is no "big fix." [/B]
Amen to that...but trendy buzzwords and branding of the Creative Class by Florida aside, 20-34 year olds are a declining resource--- the age cohort that will be bearing the boomer retirement on their backs. If they stick with the regions they flock to now---and there is a difference in where they tend to settle and its not always about where the jobs are---that will be the cause of headaches down the road for other places as companies in the next generation of growth industries will follow the workers. So I think we get to a big probem rather than a big fix. I don't think that building more bike paths or even support for up and coming arts scenes will do anything for the places that aren't drawing the young. There is path dependency towards some critical mass that you just can't swim against. I don't know what my prescription is for the Charlestowns...encouraging new immigrants maybe?
 
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7,649
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29
Howard Roark said:
Good points all, the bottom line is that there is no magic bullet, but if you have ever read the cries of newspapers editorial pages you would tend to think that a great monument, civic project, or class of people could pull a city out of a funk. The Atlanta Journal Constitiution ran a front page multi-day series 2 years ago on why Atlanta needed a large landmark (ie; Arch, Space Needle, Statue of Liberty, Googenhiem) to define its self, this was jumped on by civic leaders and the ppulace, to date no design (or even clear objective) has risen.
Some random thoughts: "Great Monuments" are usually 'great' not due to their Size, but due to the events that led to them and the human energy poured into them and the real accomplishment they typically represent. The Golden Gate bridge was begun during The Great Depression -- and San Franciscans dug down deep to finance it at a time when everyone was already hurting. It is not simply an engineering marvel that closes the loop on the road system of the SF Bay, it is a tribute to the human spirit. You cannot order something like that the way you order Pizza.

All this talk about trying to lure the creative class as a means to revitalize cities -- I cannot imagine something more likely to repel a person and I can hear the reaction of "The creative class" now: " Excuse me? You want me to move to your city so you can benefit financially from the 'human capital' that I respresent to you?"

It is no wonder our cities are in such trouble. I would think that planners should run a city for the benefit of the people, not the other way around. Yes, money is a factor in all of that and, yes, a city has to survive in order to benefit humans. But treating people like mere commodities is unlikely to promote the 'diverse' and 'open-minded' atmosphere that "these people" crave. A city that is run by open-minded people will promote an open-minded environment. Labeling some people as "The Poor" and some as "The Creative Class" and so forth and then deciding "we want to make these people Go Away and we want to make these other people move here in droves" -- rather than planning to take care of the people already there -- seems completely backwards to me.

I got married at 19 -- to a man who was also 19 and had been working at McDonald's less than 2 weeks and had yet to recieve his first paycheck. I believed in him. I supported him. I met his needs and took care of him. He joined the army and gained rank fast and got over some of the crap he grew up with. He turned into a much better human being than he was when I married him. He is now seen as 'quite the catch' -- but certainly wasn't when I married this long-haired freak of a "Loser" over the objections of my family.

My point: "Human capital" can be Home Grown by meeting the needs of the 'pathetic slobs' you are surrounded by every day. Writing off the 'locals' as 'undesireable' and hoping to 'attract a better class of people' is about as dehumanizing a strategy as I have ever heard of. I have not read Florida's book but I was considering doing so. However, if the tone of this thread is any indication of what his book says, I think I will skip it.

The very last point in the very last post mentioned 'immigrants'. And that is a valid means to grow human capital -- not simply import it. Immigrants often energize an economy. One factor is that they arrive and are 'nothing' but generally have more opportunity in America (or wherever they have moved to) than the place they left. That is typically why they left: oppression, war, etc. was seriously impairing any hope of any kind of future. Additionally, the 'melting pot' effect -- that diversity, of taking someone from a completely different environment and transplanting them -- creates synergy. They see everyday, ordinary things with fresh eyes. They bring with them different experential bases and knowledge bases with which to draw a completely different conclusion about the exact same "facts". Etc.

I think there was one other thing that one other person said to which I had intended to respond. But I cannot remember what that was -- so do not be surprised if I post again on this thread.
 
Last edited:

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
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23
of course it will be more immigrants. France just released a report saying that they will need 350,000 new immigrant workers to plug the hole in their pension system. Spain and Italy are in even more trouble (due to negative population growth and low immigration).

The US has always used immigration as a growth tool. The economy needs 3% annual growth to be considered healthy. 3% annual growth means that the economy doubles every 24 years. How long can you grow like that before all the markets within your borders are tapped out? If you don't have the population growth to keep up with it the only way to bring new consumers into your economy is to import them or to conquer them - conquering can be done with missles and guns or with the IMF/ World Bank.

From a planning perspective, given the finite resources and finite land we have, you really have to question the logic of an economy that needs to double in size every generation to function properly.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
Michele Zone said:
All this talk about trying to lure the creative class as a means to revitalize cities -- I cannot imagine something more likely to repel a person and I can hear the reaction of "The creative class" now: " Excuse me? You want me to move to your city so you can benefit financially from the 'human capital' that I respresent to you?"
Heh, that's what Corporate America has been doing for decades.

It is no wonder our cities are in such trouble. I would think that planners should run a city for the benefit of the people, not the other way around. Yes, money is a factor in all of that and, yes, a city has to survive in order to benefit humans. But treating people like mere commodities is unlikely to promote the 'diverse' and 'open-minded' atmosphere that "these people" crave. A city that is run by open-minded people will promote an open-minded environment. Labeling some people as "The Poor" and some as "The Creative Class" and so forth and then deciding "we want to make these people Go Away and we want to make these other people move here in droves" -- rather than planning to take care of the people already there -- seems completely backwards to me.


Michele, I think this is the most insightful thing I have ever heard you say.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
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29
From a planning perspective, given the finite resources and finite land we have, you really have to question the logic of an economy that needs to double in size every generation to function properly.
True, especially when so much of the "economic growth" is focused on socially destructive activities (casinos, military products shipped to our buddies in Pakistan , Israel, and the el Saud family, replacing poorly placed homes in firebelts and coastal barrier islands)
 
Messages
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29
jordanb said:
Heh, that's what Corporate America has been doing for decades.



Michele, I think this is the most insightful thing I have ever heard you say. [/B]
Yeah, and did you miss the part about 'the creative class' being prone to entrepreunerial activities? A group of people that refuses to be used as a mere commodity by Corporate America is unlikely to turn around and play along with being used as a mere commodity by the municipalities of America.

Additionally, some of the most creative people I know are worth a great deal to the community but are not, themselves, 'rich' in a financial sense. I would like to point out that 'capital' and 'money' are not remotely the same thing. Having actual Capital frequently leads to having money. Having money but no capital frequently leads to poverty, bankruptcy, etc.. (A la the fact that something like 2/3s of all lottery winners are bankrupt within 5 years.)

And "thank you".
-----
BKM, I do not know how to begin to address your comments but they are all wrong. Life is change. Houses do not last forever. Yes, it is stupid to build them on a barrier reef, but I have heard the same thing said about building them in 'flood plains'. People seem to completely overlook the fact that 'flood plains' are where there is water (for both consumption and transport) and fertile soil for growing crops. Historically, most major cities are built on 'flood plains'. Look at a map of the U.S. some time that shows natural disasters. There is no place "safe" to live. If it isn't tornadoes, it's hurricanes. If it isn't one of those, then it is earthquakes. It is a "pick your poison" kind of thing: you can decide which 'natural disasters' you prefer but you cannot escape them altogether.

The human tendency to view all of nature in humanocentric terms and label natural processes as 'disasters' and try to control them is often antithetical to life itself. As one example, some kinds of trees -- like certain species of pine -- can only reproduce in the aftermath of a fire. The cones do not open until the temperature is sufficiently high -- and 'sufficiently high' never occurs in nature except when there is a fire. So, a fire comes through and clears the land, the cones open and release the seeds, the seeds fall on newly cleared ground that has been fertilized by the fire burning everything and this gives them a competitive advantage. Some forests begin to die when you completely eliminate forest fires.

Additionally, if you try to eliminate forest fires, when one does happen, it is usually truly disasterous because of the scale involved, thanks to all that dry underbrush that has been accumulating for years. This was one of the legacies of the Clinton administration and its anti-human "environmental" policies that kept people out of some parts of public land. People who camp act as stewards of the land and clear the dry brush, so that when a fire occurs, it is relatively small. Keeping ALL people out of an area is not necessarily 'good for the environment', contrary to the opinions of some extremists.

Furthermore, all that 'wasteful' spending on 'destructive' military stuff wouldn't seem so wasteful to you if this were a completely pacifist country, like Tibet, taken over by another country that is not pacifist, like China did to Tibet. All those nutty pacificists -- like the Jehovah's Witness I gave a piece of my mind to -- can only afford their silly belief system (in my opinion) because America has a strong military and we are pretty safe here, compared to most people in the world. The world is a violent place and that fact is not going to go away just because you don't like violence. It was violent before humankind began and it will be violent after humankind ceases to exist. Last time I checked, in order for anything to continue to live, something else must die and be consumed -- several times a day, if you are human. (And, sorry, I do not believe that it is any more 'moral' or any way around this law of physics if what you kill and eat is a plant rather than an animal. Vegetarians do not get to escape the laws of physics.)

Still want to have a cup of a coffee with me? (If so, e-mail me and we can set up a time.)
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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I was yanking the chains. (Being a forum troll). Me bad. Nothing is permanent, everything will be destroyed at one point or another. Heck, I would consider living in my sister's Oakland Hills neighborhood-its beautiful.

I am not really a pacifist. But, I am also deeply suspicious of the empire building planned for us by the current cabal.

I do have a problem with us being the wrold's largest arms merchant-especially when we are selling arms to places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt that hate us deeply (or at least their populations do). All in the name of realpolitic-which always turns around and bites us on the a*&* (Afghanistan-anyone).

I will still hold the line on my "casino" comment. They are vortexes of evil that must be fought.
 
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29
BKM said:

I will still hold the line on my "casino" comment. They are vortexes of evil that must be fought.
Hey, I haven't said the first word about casinos. I do not gamble. I don't know where I stand on such things, but, without doing any research, my gut reaction is "Burn them all to the ground". Therefore, without doing research, you aren't likely to hear me talk about casinos, one way or the other (well, I just did -- but "Generally Speaking".)
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
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26
There is no place "safe" to live. If it isn't tornadoes, it's hurricanes. If it isn't one of those, then it is earthquakes. It is a "pick your poison" kind of thing: you can decide which 'natural disasters' you prefer but you cannot escape them altogether.
You can in northern Michigan. Yah, it gets quite cold, but there no tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
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25
Michele Zone said:
There is no place "safe" to live. If it isn't tornadoes, it's hurricanes. If it isn't one of those, then it is earthquakes. It is a "pick your poison" kind of thing: you can decide which 'natural disasters' you prefer but you cannot escape them altogether.B]


-No eathquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes here. People will say it snows here 10 months out of the year. Bull malarky! Since when did people become afraid of snow? Is it going to bite you like a 8 foot sewer snake (thanks El Guapo)? No. We get one big storm every so often and the friggin media is all over like lesbians on cherry pie (sorry lesbos).
-I don't see how disasterious this is. When it snows like that every so often we get outside and walk the streets with beer, helping neighbors dig out while getting a buzz. Plus snow = snowboardin, skiing, pegging crows with snow balls, writing you name in the snow with yellow mellow, snow forts, etc. The only disaster that might happen is that the store might run out
of milk and eggs and good beer. Stockpiling beer is the best way to advert a disaster:b:
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Michele Zone said:
All those nutty pacificists -- like the Jehovah's Witness I gave a piece of my mind to -- can only afford their silly belief system (in my opinion) because America has a strong military and we are pretty safe here, compared to most people in the world. The world is a violent place and that fact is not going to go away just because you don't like violence. It was violent before humankind began and it will be violent after humankind ceases to exist. Last time I checked, in order for anything to continue to live, something else must die and be consumed -- several times a day, if you are human. (And, sorry, I do not believe that it is any more 'moral' or any way around this law of physics if what you kill and eat is a plant rather than an animal. Vegetarians do not get to escape the laws of physics.)
wow! How's that for a healthy dose of social darwinism?

1000 lb. bombs don't rain from the sky if no one is building them. People have always fought over resources(power) - no matter what rhetoric it's couched in. It's always been about empire no matter what the scale and whether physical or economic. Rome needed more bread in its basket.
Genghis Kahn was looking for food for his growing population, Napoleon wanted a euro empire, Hitler wanted growing room for his Aryans.

I'm by no means a pacifist, like Zapapta said, "It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees!" But i'd like to think that we're human and are intelligent enough to talk about things and in the worse case can be humble enough to let the other guy fire the first shot.

I say the quickest violent way to peace is to train the gun on the middle man.
 

BKM

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6,463
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29
No eathquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes here. People will say it snows here 10 months out of the year. Bull malarky! Since when did people become afraid of snow? Is it going to bite you like a 8 foot sewer snake (thanks El Guapo)? No. We get one big storm every so often and the friggin media is all over like lesbians on cherry pie (sorry lesbos).
True, but you all need imported oil-and if that oil is short or a family too poor, you can freeze to death fairly quickly. :) Can Buffalo or any larger northeastern city heat itself off local wood anymore? Besides, its 75 degrees and beautiful-when compared to the photos you posted, I'll live with the risk :)

Im not a pacifist, either, jresta. The problem I see is that we HAVE TO change. There are too many people, our wars cause too much environmental and physical damage. Can we? History suggests no, but you can't give up hope,

And I don't mean that I think the military or soldiers are evil. I think they are too often used for evil menas and that not every war or action of my country is good for "national security" or fulfills the "beacon for mankind" the more idelaistic of my conservative brethren claim for this country.
 

BKM

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6,463
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29
As for laws of physics-well, carrots and lettuce don't scream (like pigs or cattle). And, third world forests are not denuded so that we can all eat $0.99 burgers.

I'm not a vegetarian myself-but I can't dismiss the moral arguments quite so easily.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Messages
4,473
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25
BKM said:
True, but you all need imported oil-and if that oil is short or a family too poor, you can freeze to death fairly quickly. :) Can Buffalo or any larger northeastern city heat itself off local wood anymore? Besides, its 75 degrees and beautiful-when compared to the photos you posted, I'll live with the risk :)
-What, no industrial areas where you live? We happen to have some of the most beautifull arcitecture in the world here as opposed to some other places. Besides those pics will be updated once Rumpy's Rampage (copyright, copyright) opens. I don't use oil to heat my house, I use California brush to heat my house (Joke inserted here, take it easy people). Come on, get with the times before Cali sinks into the pacific. ;)
 
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Rumpy Tuna said:
-No eathquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes here. People will say it snows here 10 months out of the year. Bull malarky! Since when did people become afraid of snow?
People freeze to death in situations like that or die of pneumonia. I find that kind of cold to be quite life-threatening, with my respiratory problems. And you are not exempt from disease, drought, flood, etc. Some things are more likely to be dangerous than others, but nothing is 100% guaranteed to be 'safe'.

Jresta, I do not see where you get 'social darwinism' from my comments. I am well aware of the abuses of the military by the people in power. But it is not all about 'destruction': the military also gave us GPS. National Security is more than just 'war' and 'dropping bombs on people's heads'. My husband flew out last night on short notice to LA in case they need to bring in the troops to help fight the fires because coordinating such things is part of his duties. The military also got called in when racism exploded into a mini civil war in Alabama a few decades back. My first preference is for non-violent means to resolve things. But when the 'other guy' prefers violence, I think it is important to be prepared ahead of time.

BKM, I rarely eat a hamburger. I read all the political stuff in "Diet for a Small Planet". I am well aware that every level of the food web that you go up loses another 90% of the energy of the sun that was originally stored as food energy through the action of chrolophyl turning sunlight into carbs. My point is that, at some fundamental level, it is 'kill or be killed'. People often seem unwilling to see that. But, in my view, folks who want life to be all 'clean' do some of the most horrendous, morally objectionable things in order to avoid seeing such things and having their sensibilities offended.

BTW: Eating meat can be an efficient use of resources if the meat is from cows grazing on grasslands that are not fit to raise crops. It is a huge waste of planetary resources to consume the grain- and soy-fed beef typically produced in America.
 

old man

Member
Messages
11
Points
1
Creative class

I did not understand the quote about look at Columbia, SC

"I haven't read Florida but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that - and take a look at what's going on in Columbia, SC - the brain drain will continue in cities that lack a certain QOL."

Maybe being from there I have not noticed, our we doing something good or bad or nothing. Please resond.
 

biscuit

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3,904
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25
Re: Creative class

old man said:
I did not understand the quote about look at Columbia, SC

"I haven't read Florida but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that - and take a look at what's going on in Columbia, SC - the brain drain will continue in cities that lack a certain QOL."

Maybe being from there I have not noticed, our we doing something good or bad or nothing. Please resond.
I must have missed that quote earlier but I would have to disagree with the poster. Columbia is home to the states largest university (stupid Cocks ;) ), has a growing population and is redeveloping areas that would be attractive to young professionals (the Vista comes to mind). Just as an outsider looking in I would say Columbia's doing a fine job. If anything, the city's only real drawbacks are the flat topography and oppressive summer heat. Maybe creative people don't like the humidity. :)
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Re: Re: Creative class

biscuit said:
If anything, the city's only real drawbacks are the flat topography and oppressive summer heat.
Those don't seem to be hurting some of the fastest growing areas. Can you beleive that many people want to live in Las Vegas?
 

BKM

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29
What, no industrial areas where you live? We happen to have some of the most beautifull arcitecture in the world here as opposed to some other places. Besides those pics will be updated once Rumpy's Rampage (copyright, copyright) opens. I don't use oil to heat my house, I use California brush to heat my house (Joke inserted here, take it easy people). Come on, get with the times before Cali sinks into the pacific.
Actually, I find industrial architecture fascinating-over the years my (periodically dormant) photography hobby has moved more and more to industrial ruins. I just had printed a grafitti-covered remnant of the Hercules gunpowder plant-a really cool building.

I was talking about the incredibly oppressive look of the weather. It certainly rains here, and maybe it was just a lighting issue, but I could feel my bone marrow freeze just looking at thos photos :)
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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BKM said:
I was talking about the incredibly oppressive look of the weather. It certainly rains here, and maybe it was just a lighting issue, but I could feel my bone marrow freeze just looking at thos photos :)
-Yeah the weather was angry that day, but it wasn't to bad, just a little wet.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,216
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29
Michigan "Cool Cities" Initiative

In Michigan, Governor Granholm has started a "cool cities" initiative. Here is an excerpt from a press release, dated September 19, 2003, from the Office of the Governor:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that she has asked the mayors of more than 250 Michigan cities to help her focus on ways to make Michigan’s cities more attractive for new jobs and new citizens...

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that more than 33,000 young adults left the southeast Michigan region of the state, alone, between 2000 and 2002...

"Our younger generations hold the key to our economic future," said Granholm. "When young people leave Michigan, they take with them their talent, job skills, solid educations, and economic growth potential. We’re going right to the source to find out what will make them want to stay."

The goals of the initiative are two-fold: first to bring discussions about supporting and investing in cities to a statewide level; and, second, to find out what state tools and resources local citizens think would be most effective in improving their communities...
More at: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168--75516--,00.html

Clearly, either Governor Granholm or someone on her staff has read Florida's book.

In an interesting article that appeared in the local newspaper this week-end, a conservative think-tank, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote a rebuttal (of sorts) to Governor Granholm's (a democrat) "cool citites" intiative. Here is an excerpt:

The best thing the bureaucrats can do is to perform the core functions of government well — and otherwise get out of the way. With a maze of bureaucratic white elephant schemes, zoning laws, licenses, regulations, a difficult labor climate and an overall tax burden that is still too high, Michigan is its own worst enemy when it comes to fostering entrepreneurship and attracting the talented and creative...

If Gov. Granholm is serious about creating cool cities and attracting entrepreneurs, she could start by relying less on fellow politicians and government commissions and implement the following:

1. ...

2. ...

3. ...

4. Protect property rights by reforming “eminent domain” laws that allow politicians to seize private property for purposes that often look a lot more “private” than they do “public.”

5. Relax historic preservation laws. Often these laws are so complex and time-consuming, they interfere with renovations and make it harder to preserve historic structures.

6. ...

Of course, the most difficult step of all is the one government would have to take once all of the above steps are accomplished: Leave everything else alone. If the story of SoHo is any indication, the private sector will take care of the rest.
You can read more from this article at: http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=5926

I am perplexed the Mackinac Center article. I am thinking about writing my own response to my local newspaper. I guess I take exception at calling zoning laws a "white elephant scheme" and that they have the lack of insight to compare NYC's SoHo to Flint, Michigan. Two different beasts! Their article is a great example of obfuscation of real planning issues that an uninformed public may take as fact.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I hope the Cool Cities initiative doesn't focus too much on superficial coolness. Young people didn't flock to places like Arizona because they're cool but because of JOBS. Flint with new cafes and bike trails still doesn't offer job oppurtunities for a recent college grad.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Well, jobs go where the workers go. Cities have been trying to attract and keep employers for decades, and it's been pretty futile. Jobs follow workers, for the most part.

Like in Chicago, tech firms were all locating out in the suburbs, like the I90 corridor, throughout the 90s, while the "yuppies" they wanted to hire were all settling in Chicago. Now Motorola, who moved to the suburbs a long time ago citing the need to be closer to employees, is locating engineering offices downtown, citing a need to attract those city dwelling technical people who don't want to put up with a hellish reverse commute.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I don't know about Soho, but I have watched the re-development of LoDo, Denver's "cool" part of the city, since the time that you were warned not to go out on the streets there (the early '70's). It is crystal clear that had the City stuck to its "basic functions" the redevelopment that has transformed LoDo could never have taken place. Entrepreneurs were/are essential, but they must have a framework within which to work, including everything from a historic preservation code that provides a basis for the tax breaks for easement facades to street improvements to the "free" transit shuttle.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
give it a name . . . it's always been around. Before people were calling it the brain drain. Now that governments have decided to be proactive about stopping it they've given it a name.

Unfortunately PA has yet to jump on the bandwagon and they're still sitting around scratching their asses and talking about how the brain drain is killing the PA economy.

p.s. - Phoenix may do a good job at attracting young people just out of school but no one stays there for more than 2 years because it's "like LA, except there's nothing to do"
 
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