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Thursday, March 11, 2004
"The Rise of the Creative Class gives us a provocative new way to think about why we live as we do today — and where we might be headed. In a book that weaves a storytelling with a massive body of research, Richard Florida traces the fundamental theme that runs through a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing role of creativity in our economy.
Just as William Whyte's 1956 classic The Organization Man showed how the organizational ethos of that age permeated every aspect of life, Florida describes a society in which the creative ethos is increasingly dominant. Millions of us are beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always have - with the result that our values and tastes, our personal relationships, our choices of where to live, and even our sense and use of time are changing. Leading the shift are the nearly 38 million Americans in many diverse fields who create for a living — the Creative Class.
The Rise of the Creative Class chronicles the ongoing sea of change in people's choices and attitudes, and shows not only what's happening but also how it stems from a fundamental economic change. The Creative Class now comprises more than thirty percent of the entire workforce. The choices these people make already had a huge economic impact, and in the future they will determine how the workplace is organized, what companies will prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities will thrive or wither."
One of the things he also proclaims is that the gay community has a huge role in the economic devlopment of a region. I am assuming what he means is, if a region is tolerable enough to keep a social climate open to the gay community, then it can also cater to a diverse crowd whom all different needs and wants (mostly recreational and artistic), thus stimulating the region's economy to meet the needs of its diverse and creative consumers. I may be totally off from his point, but I think that touches some light to the matter.
So from his research of about 300 regions in the US, he ranked them according to his findings. He placed Seattle, San Francisco and Austin in the top 10 (Austin being #2, which makes everyone love Richard Florida in Austin). The Brownsville-San Benito-Harlingen region ranked #135 overall, over the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission region's rank of #164, which took me by suprise because most people see the upper Valley as having the upper hand in the valley economy.
He also ranks the cities on the following sub-categories. Here is the Brownsville data with their ranks following: Creativity(114), Diversity-Gay(76), High tech(106), Innovation(257). I am shocked to see the innovation factor so low. I am interested to know more about the data that supports this ranking. His "creativity firm" Catalytix offers their services and a detailed report for any of the regions he researched. I would love to get my hands on the 2002 detailed report for Brownsville, but so far it costs $500. Anyone have spare change for a good cause?
Anyways, I am not proposing that Florida's Creative Class is the save all of the Brownsville economy. But I think it deserves scrutiny and attention. If someone did an economic profile of your region, wouldn't you want to know what they found? Has anyone in Brownsville already studied these findings? It would be good to know.
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