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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 09:36 PM

The Fall of the Creative Class

For a vari­ety of not-very-well-thought-out rea­sons, this brought us to Madi­son, Wis­con­sin. It wasn’t too far from our fam­i­lies. It had a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion. And for the Mid­west, it pos­sessed what might pass for cachet. It was lib­eral and open minded. It was a col­lege town. It had cof­fee shops and bike shops. Besides, it had been deemed a “Cre­ative Class” strong­hold by Richard Florida, the prophet of pros­per­ous cool. We had no way of know­ing how wrong he was about Madison…and about everything.

Florida’s idea was a nice one: Young, inno­v­a­tive peo­ple move to places that are open and hip and tol­er­ant. They, in turn, gen­er­ate eco­nomic inno­va­tion. I loved this idea because, as a free­lance writer, it made me impor­tant. I was poor, but some­how I made every­one else rich! It seemed to make per­fect sense. Madi­son, by that rea­son­ing, should have been clam­or­ing to have me, since I was one of the mys­ti­cal bear­ers of prosperity.

Soon after we arrived, how­ever, I was sit­ting at my desk won­der­ing where all these cre­ative, self-employed bohemi­ans might be, when I watched an unset­tlingly large woman lum­ber out of the apart­ment next door. She stood in the sun and blinked like she hadn’t seen it in years. It took her an ago­niz­ingly long time to shuf­fle across the park­ing lot to the dump­ster, where she deposited her trash. Then she began the trek back. After the door slammed behind her, I never saw her again. In most parts of Amer­ica circa 2003, this scene would have been unre­mark­able. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It stayed with me and filled me with dread, as if there was some hid­den mean­ing in it; as if the woman was an omen, and her trash bag was filled with my dreams.

<snip>

I know now that this was Florida’s true genius: He took our anx­i­ety about place and turned it into a prod­uct. He found a way to cap­i­tal­ize on our nag­ging sense that there is always some­where out there more cre­ative, more fun, more diverse, more gay, and just plain bet­ter than the one where we hap­pen to be.

But I’ve been down that road, and I know where it goes. I know that it leads both every­where and nowhere. I know you could go down it for­ever and never quite arrive. And I know now that it may be wiser to try to cre­ate the place you want to live, rather than to keep try­ing to find it.

Full essay (~3,800 words): http://thirtytwomag.com/2012/06/the-fall-of-thecreative-class

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Reply The Fall of the Creative Class (Original post)
salvorhardin Jun 2012 OP
FarCenter Jun 2012 #1
dogknob Jun 2012 #5
XemaSab Jun 2012 #2
Taverner Jun 2012 #8
salvorhardin Jun 2012 #3
BOG PERSON Jun 2012 #4
JHB Jun 2012 #6
alcibiades_mystery Jun 2012 #7

Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 10:31 PM

1. Are there any entrepreneurial companies that started in Madison?

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 04:16 PM

5. The Onion?

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:19 PM

2. Why don't the cool people

recognize me for my genius?

(This article had some interesting points, but DAMN did these people come off as hipster jerks.)

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 06:20 PM

8. LOL - my thoughts too

 

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 03:31 PM

3. Kick

Last edited Wed Jun 20, 2012, 10:55 PM - Edit history (1)

Good article about Richard Florida, folks.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 04:08 PM

4. good article

the very idea of a "creative class" is pretty offensive imho.

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Response to salvorhardin (Original post)


Response to salvorhardin (Original post)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 06:00 PM

7. Love it...great article

I read Florida's book with a massive eyeroll nearly a decade ago, it seems. It's nice to see that some serious researchers began to finally put some pressure on his claims.

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