Richard Florida, author of "The Rise of the Creative Class" will be speaking in Bloomington for the ArtsWeek celebration:
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 22nd
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Buskirk Chumley Theatre
114 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington
Why is this be important to SLIS students?
Because when you graduate, and put yourself back on the job market, you may want to learn more about the intriguing, vibrant cities across the US that attract the "creative class." These locations have become magnets for job opportunities and a quality-of-life beyond what most cities offer to its denizens.
Why not job search in a place you'd also LOVE to live? Read on...
(Article reposted with permission of the IU Home Pages.)
IU Home Pages
What constitutes an 'idea city'
Conventional wisdom changing, creative people an economic draw
By Susan Williams
For years, art and music programs, considered simply "extras" by those faced with how to run a school system on less money, have been cut from school curriculums. But now, according to at least one economic development expert, communities that are welcoming to the arts and other forms of creativity are exactly the ones that are more likely to flourish economically. Who knew?
Economic development expert Richard Florida, for one, suspected something new and interesting when he continually encountered evidence that countered the usual expectations in his research.
Florida, the Heinz Professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University in the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, pursued the unusual and identified what he calls the emergence of a new social class. His book, The Rise of the Creative Class, details his work, which he'll share as he kicks off Bloomington and IU's Arts Week in an opening lecture scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 22) at Bloomington's Buskirk Chumley Theatre.
According to Florida--whose current work centers around the globalization of industry, as well as the role of talent and amenities in the knowledge economy--the new creative class is comprised of highly educated people who deal in ideas. He includes scientists, engineers, architects, designers, writers, artists, musicians or any other person who relies heavily upon creativity. Members of the creative class, he says, whose numbers add up to more than 30 percent of the American workforce, perform a wide variety of work in a wide variety of industries--from technology to entertainment, from education to policy making, from journalism to finance, from health care to law, from high-end manufacturing to the arts.
And, according to Florida, like other historical class structures--the feudal aristocracy and its hereditary control of land and people, or the bourgeoisie and its merchants and factories--the defining basis of the creative class is economic. Just as other classes have left their marks on social history, Florida says that this group has "shaped and will continue to shape deep and profound shifts in the ways we work, in our values and desires, and in the very fabric of our everyday lives."
Florida's curiosity was aroused, he says, when he realized that conventional economic wisdom didn't seem valid anymore. Many cities focusing on economic development, for example, were grooming themselves in the image of the Silicon Valley, hoping to attract and then retain big companies with high-tech office parks and venture capital funds. After all, big companies create jobs, and people then go where the jobs are.
Not necessarily so, Florida came to suspect. Instead of companies moving to or forming in those beckoning locales, he believed economic growth was flourishing in areas full of skilled, bright and creative people. Think Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington and Boston or any number of university towns such as Madison, Boulder or Lansing. Florida calls them "idea cities."
How were people choosing to live and work in these particular cities, Florida wondered? So he asked. Instead of using job opportunity as the only criterion, lifestyle amenities were a major consideration in where people "settle."
Any number of measurements Florida used yielded similar results. A Carnegie Mellon graduate student's research, for example, showed like location patterns for gays and lesbians. And ditto for Florida's own "Bohemian Index," which indicated a density of artists, writers and performers. He concluded, he says in the preface to his book, that "rather than being driven exclusively by companies, economic growth was occurring in places where creative people of all types wanted to live."
So what makes a city "cool" to the creative class today and thus a hotbed for economic development?
Florida says that this new creative class wants lifestyle choices and amenities. Its members desire and expect from the workplace relaxed dress codes for comfort and flexible schedules to accommodate their real lives (i.e. children, spouses and other interests). They choose to live in places that value tolerance, embrace diversity, and celebrate differences and individuals. They want recreational opportunities such as urban parks, climbing walls and bike paths. Also in high demand are things to do: night life--divergent and traditional--museums, theater and art. And, "authentic" restaurants. Not chains or fast food shops, but good local eateries, bistros and cafes that span ethnic variety and personal tastes.
For more on Florida and his work, read this Washington Monthly Online article he authored:
or visit Florida's Web site at:
Posted January 17, 2003