Richard Florida, a noted and debated author, has written a series of books stemming from his theory on the future on the workforce. His first book, and his most famous, is called The Rise of the Creative Class. However, a more important book for exploring regional use of the creative class is his Cities and the Creative Class, published in 2005. His theory is not perfect, as few ever are, but I think even he would be willing to admit its shortcomings, as he admits to that possibility in his book introduction. This book’s relevance for revitalization plays key when determining if one’s greater metropolitan area is ripe for an urban-style revitalization wave.
His book covers policy questions and gives case studies of specific regions. Read his book for the specifics, but here are a couple highlights of the book to take away:
- Theory of 3 Ts: Florida argues that for a metro area to be primed for economic growth, it needs a composition of Technology, Talent, and Tolerance. These should be fairly obvious; a metro area needs technological capability, both in its industry and in its innovation. A metro area needs talent; its human capital must have a significant portion of educated workers. Florida defines talent as a bachelor’s degree of higher. Finally, tolerance is an openness to different lifestyles and cultures.
- Florida ranks the top 50 metro area by indices. Richmond’s rankings are: tech-pole – 45, composite diversity – 30, gay index – 29, tech-growth index – 22, melting pot index – 39, bohemian index – 26, and the talent index – 11.
Florida’s website has a plethora of information and ways to provide community workshops.