Friday, December 7, 2007

The Creative Class and the Gayborhood

Richard Florida, an economist and Urban Studies professor believes the best way to revitalize decaying cities is to invest in the "Creative Class." Prof. Florida has been to dozens of cities, speaking to hundreds of city officials and planners about how to save their cities.

Florida's theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of high-tech workers, artists, musicians, gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohmians", correlate with a higher level of economic development. Florida suggests that attracting and retaining high-quality talent, versus a singular focus on infrastructure projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, and shopping centers, would be a better primary use of a city's regeneration resources for long-term prosperity.
Among the city planning realm, Florida has sparked a wave of interest and criticism on his views of city revitalization.

Some cities have taken Florida's message to heart, Philadelphia for example fully embraces it's gayborhood and actively promotes it's downtown known as Center City to be hip, trendy and cool. The city has recently hosted Gay Pride weeks promoting a nine block stretch of Center City known as the "Gayborhood" and is trying to capitalize the $54 billion gay travel market.

What's your opinion of Richard Florida's theory? Do you believe investing in the creative class will revitalize cities?

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