Florida’s Fading Stardom

I finally got around to reading the Post’s review of Richard Florida’s most recent book, Flight of the Creative Class, which came out in April. The reviewer makes it sound like a warmed-over version of his Rise of the Creative Class
which I thought was thought-provoking, if not the most rigorous social
science research, saying she found “meandering logic and fuzzy
idealism.? I found a related book, The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution Is Reshaping the American Landscape, to be a much more concise yet similar discussion about the impact of the changing economic realities on American cities.

Meanwhile in Michigan, Governor Granholm is giving his theory whirl for her state’s cities – the Cool Cities Initiative is on its second grant cycle. I just got around to downloading the summary of results
(PDF) from a major online survey of graduates of Michigan colleges and
universities the state conducted in 2004, but I haven’t checked out the
results yet in detail.

On a cursory review, I found a few
interesting statistics. Nearly 70% of those surveyed said they agreed
that they want to live in a place that “fits my lifestyle more than a
job that pays the most? and 70% agreed “I can get a job almost any
place I chose to live.? They report concludes “gambling places/casinos,
professional sports, large malls and shopping centers, and warm weather
do not play a significant role in choosing place to live.? The report
also had a little mini-list of the top ten “first choice? cities in
Michigan. Here’s the top five – the bottom five have such small
percentages I’m not sure its significant:

1. Ann Arbor
2. Detroit
3. Grand Rapids
4. Traverse City
5. Marquete

Finally,
the table of top attributes the respondents were looking for in a place
to live was interesting. I thought it was surprising that the #3
attribute was “Walkable Streets? – ahead of “shops? (6), “people my
age? (#10), “arts/culture? (#16), or even “low taxes? (#24). Also high
on the list: “safe streets? (#1), “affordable? (#2), “many different
jobs? (#4), and “public schools? (#8).

I thought this suggestion to Michigan cities tucked at the end of the file was amusing:

Because
Cool Cities Initiatives deal with a variety of topics not typically
dealt with in traditional economic development circles, it is important
to include the parts of the community that are familiar with those
non-traditional areas within the Development Targets when creating the
strategic plan. Some of those representatives include the arts and
culture community, minorities, small business owners, or the gay
community.

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Author: Rob Goodspeed