Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Theory of the Creative Class Has Some Holes

Frank Bures is a writer who has been living the creative class life for some time.  He and his wife moved to Portland before it was Portlandia, to Madison because they thought it would be welcoming to cool creatives, and finally back to Minneapolis because they had friends and families and because it was substantial and cool enough.  Writing in the new Twin Cities creative-class magazine thirty two, Bures debunks the idea that cities can spark economic growth by attracting people like him.

Bures assembles the scholarly critiques of Richard Florida's "creative class" theory.  These criticisms are well taken.  The upshot is that smart techies can spark economic growth. But the big investment that some cities have made in drawing smart artists probably does not pay off in economic growth.

Bures is the first to say that the arts are good for life in a city.  But the correlations that Florida touts between having lots of artists and gay people (the most famous part of his formula) and economic growth are not really causal in the way he believes.

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