Richard Florida “Cities and the Creative Class”

Florida posits the idea of a creative capital thesis in which he believes creative and talented residents are key to contemporary urban growth and development. Florida argues that the cultural aspects of the city is a key factor in attracting a highly desirable creative workforce and that some cities attract larger proportions of the “creative class” than do others and he set out to find out why.

In contrast to Robert Putnam’s social capital theory, Florida found that contemporary communities tend to focus less on building strong community ties and residents were actually more content with weaker ties as these ties proved to be less invasive connections. These weaker ties allowed residents to maintain “quasi anonymity”.  A more contemporary theory,  the human capital theory of regional development, posits that the economic importance of a locale determines rate of growth, and you become economically important with highly educated and productive people working.  Florida asks why then are these highly educated productive people concentrated in certain places. Florida wants to know how do people decide where to locate. He produced the creative capital perspective.

In his research, Florida found that creative people do not just simply follow the jobs instead lifestyle considerations as well as economic considerations mattered in their decisions. The creative class prefers places that are innovative, diverse, and tolerant. He concludes that creative people are key to economic growth and found that there are underlying factors that shape their decision on where to locate.The creative class is drawn to certain areas based on specific criteria, which Florida termed as the “new geography of creativity”.

Richard Florida argues that cities should focus less on infrastructural attractions and focus more on becoming centers of cultural experiences. Rather than building sports and entertainment districts, Florida argues the focus should be on marketing their cities as diverse and creative communities.

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