Thursday, January 31, 2008
Toronto’s Creative Capitalism and the Rise of Richard Florida
I read and reference Richard Florida's blog Creative Classroom quite often. I consider him an important contemporary voice. His insight into urban creative energies, urban development, gender, creativity and the arts, and capitalism at large is both informative and appealing. He speaks to one's reason and creative impulse, and that is what marks him as a unique voice. To me, at least.
His work on the 'creatives' and the 'creative class' has informed many of my current attitudes and opinions. Ever since I saw him on the Colbert Report, I am happy to say I am a fan. He is smart, sees the city for what it is: a wonderful fusion of diverse creative impulses and energies, and last but not least, he considers rock music relevant. Ah, yes, and he is an American living, teaching, and researching in Toronto. Enough said.
While he might appear like a manufacturing artist of this so-called 'industry of cool,' he is substantial, informed, and careful. Yes, I truly enjoy reading him and recommend his writing most openly and happily.
Hence, I was pleased to read the following feature on him in the Canadian paper, The Varsity. The author, Chandler Levack, notes:
'As the information age evolves, more workers enter what Florida calls the “creative class,” pursuing careers that take more mind than muscles. The cultivation of such individuals drastically impacts the communities where they live. Witness the death of once prosperous factory cities like Cleveland and Detroit, and the birth of coastal artistic communities like Portland and Seattle. As great minds enter, rental prices rise and neighbourhoods gentrify along a scale Florida indexes according to bohemian, homosexual and diversity quotients. For lovers of a good café and interpretative performance art, this is all well and good, but Florida’s 2002 book Rise of the Creative Class caused uproar among old-school economists: becoming the poster child for promoting a talented, tolerant, atypical America.'
An interesting piece on a most interesting intellectual who seems to have focused his own creative energies on identifying and fostering those of all the other people around him. For, as Florida himself notes, “Every single human being is creative. It’s not about attracting the yuppies, the gentrifiers, the hipsters, it’s about harnessing the creative energy of every single human being, and that’s what my books are about.”
Interesting bit. Read it in its entirety here.