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The Creative Class, blah, blah, blah

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,225
Points
25
Yeah, what is up with Pheonix anyway? It seems like their entire economy is real-estate. Like everyone who moves there gets into the buisness of selling the people who moved there after them land. It's like the supreme example of unsustainability.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
jordanb said:
Yeah, what is up with Pheonix anyway? It seems like their entire economy is real-estate. Like everyone who moves there gets into the buisness of selling the people who moved there after them land. It's like the supreme example of unsustainability.

This is something that people I know are starting to realize. They bought into a seniors-only mobile home community when they were snowbirds. Now that they do not migrate anymore they bought a condo, but can't seem to sell the mobile. The market is saturated, and the senior-only restriction limits the buyers.
 

Bangorian

Member
Messages
198
Points
7
Re: Michigan "Cool Cities" Initiative

Wanigas? said:
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. [/B]

First of all, the Mackinac Center is a bunch of libertarian quacks! And is SoHo really so cool?

Frankly, the reason I left MI in such a rush was that all the towns were junk! And the towns that seemed to be having new life breathed into them were becoming bastions of The Gap, Urban Outfitters, Tower Records, BW3, et al. A stroll down Grand River Avenue five years ago looked much different than it does today.

If this "Cool Cities" thing succeds, maybe one day I can bear to live in MI again...

And I, too, am skeptical about the definition of cool. I hope it doesn't include Starbucks!
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Re: Re: Michigan "Cool Cities" Initiative

MaineMan said:
And is SoHo really so cool?

And I, too, am skeptical about the definition of cool. I hope it doesn't include Starbucks!

I would say, no, SoHo isn't "cool" and hasn't been for a long time. Once it stops being creative (entreprenuerial) and starts being corporate it isn't "cool" anymore. Paying $800k for a shoebox in an old warehouse is never cool but as long as their expensive places to mediocre food, $12 drinks, and $200 haircuts people with money will want to live there as long as the poor have pushed aside by someone else.

Anyway, I'm sure my def. of cool is much different than a politicians definition but that's not to say that things can't be bourgeois AND cool. There are plenty of Main Streets in NJ and PA that are solid mom & pop and are incredibly hip for the suburbs - even if they do cater to the stroller and SUV set.

I think the politicos have finally realized the way the low-cost gentrification thing works. Recruit the artists, the gays&lesbians, the kids with their music venues. They scrub some buildings clean, plant some flowers, open some clubs, some record stores, antiques, housewares, you name it - and now all of the sudden people slightly more risk-averse are taking a second look.

They're the urban pioneers for one reason - the property is cheap and the other people are too scared.
 

MayDay

Member
Messages
19
Points
1
"I think the politicos have finally realized the way the low-cost gentrification thing works. Recruit the artists, the gays&lesbians, the kids with their music venues. They scrub some buildings clean, plant some flowers, open some clubs, some record stores, antiques, housewares, you name it - and now all of the sudden people slightly more risk-averse are taking a second look. "

You have just described what has led the "revitalization" of certain areas of the city of Cleveland. I know that this might not be the case in other cities but with Cleveland it's been very much the case. In the 1980s, it was the Flats - in the 1990s, it was the Warehouse District (both in the CBD). All that started with nightspots (predominantly gay-oriented), which were followed by trendy dining spots, which were followed by the ubiquitous "modern" furniture shops. In the late 1990s, the ripple effect spread to the inner neighborhoods like Tremont and Ohio City.

Now the "edgy/cool" areas (as you said - where the property is cheap and the "normal" folk are scared) are on the fringes of places like Tremont and Ohio City. Same old story - a nightclub or maybe even a truly "edgy" gallery opens - months later, I predict we'll see the story played out again.
 

Wannaplan?

Ready to Learn
Messages
3,237
Points
30
Anyone catch Mr. Florida this week-end on NPR's "Studio 360" hosted by Kurt Andersen? He was the guest and the focus of the show was L.A.'s new Disney Hall designed by Gehry. Florida talked about how creative people are like infrastructure that is just as important as roads & sewers. He went on to talk about the currunt fiscal crises in cities and warned that the cities will lose out when they cut arts funding. Interesting show, but nothing new for us planners. The bit on Disney Hall was the most interesting.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
I think Joel Kotkin pretty convincingly demolishes Florida's "The Creative Class."

A good little article/interview.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
yeah, he's def. right on.

but i think the demolishes Florida's argument.

Florida's argument is dead on in today's world run by neo-liberals. If you're going to play their game you have to play it their way and Florida gets at that.

Kotkin, on the other hand, comes at it from a different perspective, on that i agree with, but one that is essentially at odds with the way our economy currently works.
 

japrovo

Member
Messages
103
Points
6
I've read Florida and Kotkin and I think they both lend themselves to analysis and ultimately actions by planers and electeds that miss the major demographic point. It’s not about building more bike paths or gentrification or moving to the suburbs. It’s not even just about "brain" drain. It’s all about regions and the basic functioning of their economies.

Debates over the precise definition of the Creative Class and the brains getting drained aside, 20-34 year olds as a group are sorting themselves out but the news isn’t about the breakdown among city and suburb. Housing markets are regional. Kotkin is largely right about a certain age bracket moving to the suburbs, especially after the cool parts of town get scrubbed and priced up for the gentrifiers, increasingly empty nest baby boomers.

The news about sorting is among metropolitan areas---some are winning this age bracket and some are losing dramatically. Our migration rates slow down after we hit our 30's. Get a young restless 20 something now and they might be yours for life more or less. Labor is a resource for industry and as the boomers retire strong labor pools are going to become scarcer and scarcer.

As we burn through discussions of trendy topics cynicism isn't unwarranted. (Creative Class Blah Blah Blah!) But if you look beyond the "first wave" popular academics there is some serious work going on. Now is time for the shameless plug---but its for a colleague not myself. There is a streaming video of a great presentation on this issue on our website “Portland’s Creative Class: The Young and the Restless”(http://www.media.pdx.edu/PSU/IMS_042503.asx) where we run through the numbers. (See also our main page http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IMS/about/events.html for viewing tips and more on the series.

Regards,
 

Wannaplan?

Ready to Learn
Messages
3,237
Points
30
japrovo said:
Get a young restless 20 something now and they might be yours for life more or less.

Not to be base or anything, but I'm getting the sense that attracting the twentysomething crowd has to do with creating places that offer many diverse opportunities to seek out sexual partners. Everything I've read that has quotes from the twentysomething crowd talks about why they moved and work where they do - because there are other younger people there. They also want something fun to do, likes clubs and bars, to meet other people. To me, this is a euphemism for "I want to get laid." And this translates into, "I don't want to be alone and bored." This is very human and I wonder if Florida goes in this direction with his book. I haven't read his book, but I've been on http://www.creativeclass.org/ and the site looks like the Next Big Thing since Covey's Seven Habits. It's all about book sales and the lecture circuit. What about the human condition? No one wants to die alone and unloved.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
A pretty interesting response. (I have to admit that many of Kotkin's underlying ideological presuppostions are questionable-and I want to beleive Florida more.

One place where I might disagree with Florida is that the "creatives" necessarily want diverse cities. Garreau's Edge Cities, while hardly "research" does find many examples of very safe, controlled "nerdistans" where techonology-industry workers unwind from stressful work lives in very controlled suburban environments.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,589
Points
34
Cardinal said:
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.

I'm glad I read this before our meeting tomorrow. LOL Besides, in your town it's all about putting a toll on college student swimming in the fountain at bartime, right? :) And yes, I have the scars from my roadtrips to prove it...
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,589
Points
34
jresta said:
Florida's argument is dead on in today's world run by neo-liberals. If you're going to play their game you have to play it their way and Florida gets at that.

UMM... not in my region of the US of A. WTF?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,899
Points
25
I hate to bring old threads back from the dead, but after reading this week's Rant (a long letter to the editor) in the local indy rag, I felt this one warranted resurrection.

As some of you may know, Richard Florida recently packed up all of his creativity and shipped it to Virginia after Carnegie Mellon University, and some local foundations refused to pony up the money so he could start a center for creativity here. And apparently the author of this rant, along with a lot of other people in these here parts, isn't really crying over his departure.

Richard Florida: Adios Poseur!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
biscuit said:
I hate to bring old threads back from the dead, but after reading this week's Rant (a long letter to the editor) in the local indy rag, I felt this one warranted resurrection.

As some of you may know, Richard Florida recently packed up all of his creativity and shipped it to Virginia after Carnegie Mellon University, and some local foundations refused to pony up the money so he could start a center for creativity here. And apparently the author of this rant, along with a lot of other people in these here parts, isn't really crying over his departure.

Richard Florida: Adios Poseur!

LOL! Pretty funny.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
10,139
Points
45
Good article. My fav paragraph would have to be:

What you want to do, it seems, is create a creative economy that creatively allows people to create. This can be done by offering free-trade zones to artists, homosexuals and other bohemian types so that, say, dirty old Lawrenceville will get all fixed up, making it safe for double-income household members to bike along the Allegheny. This isn’t gentrification, folks, but a whole new way of thinking about capital: a**l sex with a multiplier effect.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,263
Points
22
Mine is:
If you’re base enough to bring up a real dilemma -- that pesky bridge in Greenfield that keeps dropping concrete onto the Parkway, for example -- you’re probably, well, a little less than kewl. If only we had a few more guitarists!

I knew if I had more guitarists, my projects would be better!!
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,463
Points
25
The news here had an article a while back about this guy, and when I saw this article here, I thought he was responsible;).

A load of crap IMO. Yah creativity is good, but it is not the cure all to end all. It sounds like our city's latest attempt to tap into the "artist space" thing, by providing money & areas for artists to "procreate" and set off their SoHo here. Thing is, these things happen by themselves, and we are a decade or two off in the downtown core for this kind of initiative when the ball has already been rolling. Hell they hired some art group or consultant (I forget which one) to do the study. These clowns could have asked me for free, because it has been happening, just under their so called good cause radar.

Oh and I forgot, they need the artists to make the area safe before the yuppies move in and drive up costs.;)
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
-- Albert Einstein


"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent persperation."
-- Thomas Edison



So, I think that creativity is important...if you can back it up with blood, sweat, and tears.
-- MZ
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
Once more, I will point out that Florida's work is grossly misinterpreted. He is not talking about artists and gays as an end product, but as indicators of places open to new ideas. The places where ideas can be aired and thrive are those that are open to entrepreneurship and invention. These are the critical elements of economic strength.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,225
Points
25
I wrote a post to urbanphoto on this thread: http://p196.ezboard.com/fcafeurbanitefrm1.showMessageRange?topicID=2269.topic&start=21&stop=29 which I believe is applicable here.

The problem with Kotkin is that if you were to take away all the arguments that I and others here have pointed out as false, and all the ones that have no logical relation to his stated thesis, then Kotkin's article would be very short indeed. He has failed to support his thesis, and your repeating it without support doesn't help at all.

My point about the definition of the city is this: If you reject Kotkin's axiom that urbanity in America only consists of that land within the municipal boundaries, then it doesn't hold that American cities are doing badly. Certainly some are--Buffalo, for instance, is suffering from a systematic metro-wide drain of people and jobs--but most are not.

Take Detroit. It is one of America's largest metropolises with a population of around five million, and it continues to post steady job and population growth. One could hardly call it a failure. Yet its economy is surprisingly homogeneous for a city of five million people. Despite its size, it has been unable in nearly 100 years to diversify away from the industry that made it. That industry has no long term possibilities in America, except decline. When the central city of Detroit collapsed, metropolitan Detroit's image as a whole went with it. Now Detroit finds itself at a serious disadvantage when trying to attract new companies from beyond, despite its abundance of plush outer neighborhoods.

Of course, growth must come primarily from local improvments rather than imports, but what would Detroit spend the money on to foster "indigenous job growth?" Job training programs? Those are already provided through state and federal unemployment programs. Loans and grants for small businesses? Again, those are already available, many from the federal government. Now perhaps those programs could be better-funded. I don't know where the levels are at the moment, but even if they're low, dumping "billions" into them won't help that much. There's the law of diminishing returns you have to consider.

And even for people born in the state, I mean, having schools is good, but people who are educated demand more cultural amenities. When Michigan's sons and daughters, after having received their degrees from the superb University of Michigan, look all around their parents' plush yet mediocre "suburban" neighborhoods, and all they see is Walmart, what do they do? They head off toward the bright lights of Chicago shimmering across the lake. These are the very people who Michigan would need to diversify their economy and "create indigenous job growth," but they're leaving in alarming numbers. People who have a choice will often not choose to live in an unstimulating environment, regardless of if they're indigenous or not.

Michigan's two most significant problems, after its declining industrial base which it is powerless to solve, are its image gap, and its livability gap. The image gap is resultant of the deplorable condition of its downtown and central city. That's the impression of Detroit that people walk away with. The livability gap is resultant from the lack of cultural amenities, lack of opportunities for stimulating activities, and the lack of a compelling built environment in Michigan.

Governor Granholm's admittedly poorly named and marketed "cool cities" program is, at its heart, a program conceived to close those two gaps. It is not a program meant to end poverty in Detroit, or to retain its industrial prowess. The American economy as a whole is structured to have a large, permanent underclass of working poor, and to slowly export industrial jobs. No state program can change that. The "cool cities" program seeks to make it possible for Detroit to survive the realities of the current American economy by stemming its drain of smart, well-educated young people by making Michigan a good place in which to live.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,877
Points
57
Yes, Michigan’s governor read Florida’s book and he even came to Michigan for to speak at a Cool Cities conference.

I think that what has been done is not going to be even close to enough. She needs to step up or get out of the way. Granted she is doing something, but I don’t think it is going to cut it. K-zoo got funding to rehab a building. WHOOO HOOO. Maybe she should have looked at providing funding for a neighborhood redevelopment program within walking distance of the central urban core. Right now many of the neighborhoods are so run down, it is frightening. Property owners either do not front the money or they don’t have it. There is a section known as the Edison neighborhood on Portage Rd. It is kind of like a mini red light district. (they keep picking up people for prostitution and there is a strip club and a few adult book/ movie stores in that area). The sad part is if the commercial core of that neighborhood where cleaned up, and some incentive for positive in-fill development was provided, then it could become an amazing neighborhood to live. It has many of the major physical characteristics in place, with a little cleaning, landscaping, and some TLC, the possibilities could be endless.
 

Wannaplan?

Ready to Learn
Messages
3,237
Points
30
michaelskis said:
K-zoo got funding to rehab a building. WHOOO HOOO.

And let me guess, your town did not? I sense the jealously oozing right out of your pores. Would you ever say that to the faces of the planners and officials who work in K-zoo? I bet they are proud that the State essentially gave them a handout to do good work. Maybe you need to polish your grant-writing skills so that you can show your boss why your town is better than K-zoo?

Remember, these grants that were awarded under the Cool Cities banner are part of a pilot program. It's just starting. The way you react so negatively to anything that has to do with the Cool Cities program indicates your lack of understanding of how the municipal grants and funding game works in Michigan. Or are you just full of petty partisan jealousy?
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,463
Points
25
Look out

Wanigas? said:
And let me guess, your town did not? I sense the jealously oozing right out of your pores. Would you ever say that to the faces of the planners and officials who work in K-zoo? I bet they are proud that the State essentially gave them a handout to do good work. Maybe you need to polish your grant-writing skills so that you can show your boss why your town is better than K-zoo?

Remember, these grants that were awarded under the Cool Cities banner are part of a pilot program. It's just starting. The way you react so negatively to anything that has to do with the Cool Cities program indicates your lack of understanding of how the municipal grants and funding game works in Michigan. Or are you just full of petty partisan jealousy?

I smell a death match brewing;)
 

Wannaplan?

Ready to Learn
Messages
3,237
Points
30
Rumpy Tunanator said:
I smell a death match brewing;)

No, not really. I'm just reacting in a plain and direct manner to an issue that is somewhat complex yet quite simple. I guess I'm not that good at being patient when a professional in my field apparently acts so naive, in my opinion, toward an issue that isn't neccessaily divisive. But I could be totally wrong - he and I have opposing political views so I am willing to say that I could be off-base, if only somewhat, when it comes to Cool Cities in Michigan.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
Well, in defense of michaelskis, his post was not THAT simple, most of it was suggesting other areas for investment that might have better long term results (i.e., downtown residential neighborhood revitalization).

Although how you can revitalize a residential neighborhood of ordinary wood frame houses without a strong downtown is a good debating point.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
I don't read any jealousy in Michaelski's post. I think he is on the right track, as well. Florida's work is wonderfully misinterpreted and mis-applied. Watching people respond to his ideas with hairbrained schemes is one of the most entertaining things in economic development right now.

There are only a handful of places that are, or ever will be cultural meccas for the elite of the creative class. Trying to make all of Michigan such as place is simply foolish. Michaelskis is absolutely right when he suggests that the state's resources would be better applied to solid, mainstream, structural improvements in the downtowns and neighborhoods neighborhoods of Michigan's cities.
 

Wannaplan?

Ready to Learn
Messages
3,237
Points
30
Cardinal said:
Florida's work is wonderfully misinterpreted and mis-applied. Watching people respond to his ideas with hairbrained schemes is one of the most entertaining things in economic development right now.

I just attended a Michigan Cool Cities press event. I think your comment is right-on, but I can tell you that there are some misconceptions out there regarding the Michigan Cool Cities initiative. Of all the speakers there today - from the head of Michigan department of labor and economic development to the city mayor to the rehab project managers - no one had even mentioned Richard Florida, the "creative class," or any of that bunk. The speeches were about revitalizing neighborhoods, helping Michigan's oft-neglected urban areas, and creating unique housing opportunities to show what's possible. A mass-myopia of the "City" hovers over the heads of Michiganders. With the Cool Cities initiative, Governor Granholm is spotlighting our urban areas with these media events, hopefully to spur more people to live, shop, play, and invest there.
 

schristmas

Cyburbian
Messages
34
Points
2
While many on this thread bash Florida's creative class theory, I support the concept as intriguing and worth continued inquiry. The concept itself could posess more explanatory power than most professionals and academics would like to admit. I know that prior to the publication of "The Rise of the Creative Class" I had already begun to think, as a college student, of where I would like to settle: NYC and Boston were frontrunners. Both cities had amenities such as interesting architecture and thriving nightlife, and a lifestyle that appear really enjoyable. Baltimore, where I grew up, just couldn't compare. I know I couldn't be the only one thinking this way. And this way of thinking among educated people could actually be a significant contributer to urban growth. Now whether that means American cities should reposition themselves via major image overhauls, I am not sure. But cities like Cleveland and Detroit, need to at least add a diverse range of amenities and nicer housing options to make themselves both attractive and competitive.
 

Kovanovich

Cyburbian
Messages
180
Points
7
Wanigas? said:
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:

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.

Just revisited this thread and wanted to get my (belated) two cents in regarding the Mackinac study on Michigan's Cool Cities initiative...It is, sadly, all too characteristic of the conservative mentality to blatantly cherry pick evidence, in the case of the false comparison of Flint and SoHo. OF course, silly me, had the market merely been allowed to play out, all our cities would look like Florence and not Dresden after it was bombed. Their arrogance makes me less likely to take seriously the potentially helpful suggestions that they do make. Even more seriously, and also characteristically, the authors focus on what is wrong with the cities. They want to change laws that they feel cities have hurt themselves with. No mention of how Michigan, like all states and the federal government, have systematically destroyed cities (by heavily funding highways, give tax advantages to sprawl housing and business creation, etc etc etc). Not a mention of any of this. So I conclude that, like most conservatives, the authors don't feel that anything should be done with cities. Their collapse is the cost of our society's economic progress. A pretty small cost, in their view. I feel that this view is reprehensible, but I think that it is defensible. It's all a matter of what we choose to value -- our history, culture, civic life or economic growth, job creation, and the continued elevation of private wealth alongside public squalor. If conservatives could admit this, I would have more respect for them.
 
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