Creative class

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The Creative Class is socioeconomic class (arguably constituting a distinct social class) that economist and social scientist Dr. Richard Florida, a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, believes are a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities in the USA.

Florida describes the 'Creative Class' as 40 million workers - 30 percent of the U.S. workforce, and breaks the class into two broad sections, derived from standard SOC codes data sets:

  • Super-Creative Core: This comprises about twelve percent of all U.S. jobs. This group is deemed to contain a wide range of occupations (e.g. science, engineering, education, computer programming, research) with arts, design, and media workers making a small subset. Those belonging to this group are considered to “fully engage in the creative process” (Florida, 2002, p.69). The Super-Creative Core is considered innovative, creating commercial products and consumer goods. Their primary job function is to be creative and innovative. “Along with problem solving, their work may entail problem finding” (Florida, 2002, p.69).
  • Creative Professionals: These professionals are the classic knowledge-based workers and include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They “draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems” using higher degrees of education to do so (2002).

Additional to these two main groups of creative people, the usually much smaller group of Bohemians are also included in the creative class.

Florida concludes that the creative class is the core force of economic growth in our future economy, and is expected to add more than 10 million jobs in the next decade.


[edit] Background

The social theories advanced by Florida have sparked much debate and discussion. Florida's work proposes that a new or emergent class, or demographic segment made up of knowledge workers, intellectuals and various types of artists is an ascendant economic force, representing either a major shift away from traditional agriculture- or industry-based economies, or a general restructuring into more complex economic hierarchies.

The theses developed by Florida in various publications were drawn from - among other sources - US Census Bureau demographic data, focusing upon economic trends and shifts apparent in (at first) major US cities, with later work expanding the focus internationally.

The nebulous Creative Class has been on the rise for at least four decades; with an economic shift towards technology, research and development, and the internet (and related fields) building within the overall postwar economies of many countries.

A number of specific cities and regions (California's Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128, The Triangle in North Carolina, Austin, Seattle, Bangalore, India, Dublin, Ireland and Sweden) have come to be identified with these economic trends; in Florida's publications, the same cities are also heavily associated with the "Creative Class."

The Creative Class is relevant to our society because of their ability to create and increase economic outcomes in the form of new ideas, new high tech businesses and regional growth (2002).

[edit] Creative class occupations

The Creative Class is a class of workers whose job is to create meaningful new forms (2002). The Creative Class is composed of scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and architects. The Creative Class also “includes people in design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or creative content” (Florida, 2006, p.8). Their designs are widely transferable and useful on a broad scale, as with products that are sold and used on a wide scale. Another sector of the Creative Class includes those positions which are knowledge intensive, these careers usually require a high degree of formal education (2002). Examples of this sector are health professionals and business management, who are considered to be a part of the sub-group called Creative Professionals. Their main job is to think and to create new standard approaches for fixing the problem at hand. Creativity is becoming more valued in today’s global society. Employers look at creativity as a channel for self expression and job satisfaction in their employees. About 38.3 million Americans and 30 per cent of the workforce in America identify themselves with the creative class. This number has increased more than 10 per cent in the past 20 years. In short, they are shaping a new culture for the America of the 21st century.

The Creative Class is also known for its departure from traditional workplace attire and behavior. Members of the Creative Class are starting to set their own hours and dress codes in the work place, often reverting to more relaxed, casual attire instead business suits and ties. People of the Creative Class are working for themselves and setting their own hours, no longer sticking to the 9-5 standard. Independence is also highly regarded among the members of the Creative Class and expected in the work place (2002).

[edit] The Creative Class and the global economy

The Creative Class is not a class of workers among many but in reality it is the class that will bring any country who has them to great economic power and growth. The main advantage to a creative class is that it creates outcomes in new ideas, high-tech industry and regional growth. Even though the Creative Class has been around for centuries, the U.S. was the first large country to have this Creative Class that deals with information technology in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1960s less than five percent of the U.S. population was part of the creative class which is now 26 per cent. Seeing that having a strong Creative Class is vital in today’s global economy, Europe is now almost equal with America's numbers for this class. Competition has developed as to who can attract the creative class to their cities.

[edit] Places of high creative class populations

Florida's research of census and economic data, presented in works such as The Rise of the Creative Class (2002), Cities and the Creative Class (2004), and The Flight of the Creative Class (2007), as well as Bobos in Paradise, by David Brooks (whose "bobos" roughly correspond to Florida's Creative Class), and NEO Power by Ross Honeywill that introduces the NEO Neighborhood, have shown that cities which attract and retain the Creative Class prosper, while those that do not stagnate. This research has been gaining more and more traction among members of the business community, as well as among politicians and urban planners. For instance, Florida and other Creative Class theorists have been invited to meetings of the National Conference of Mayors and numerous economic development committees, such the Denver mayor's Task Force on Creative Spaces and Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm's "Cool Cities" initiative.

In Cities and the Creative Class, Florida devoted several chapters to a discussion of the three main prerequisites of creative cities—though there are many additional qualities which distinguish creative magnets. Basically, for a city to become a magnet for the Creative Class, it must be an example of "the three 'T's" of Talent (have a highly talented/educated/skilled population), Tolerance (have a diverse community, which has a 'live and let live' ethos), and Technology (have the technological infrastructure necessary to fuel an entrepreneurial culture). In Rise of the Creative Class", Florida also points out the fact that members of the Creative Class value meritocracy, diversity and individuatlity and look for these characteristics when they relocate (2002).

As Florida demonstrated in his books, cities like Buffalo, New Orleans and Louisville are examples of cities which have tried to attract the Creative Class but, in comparison to cities which better exemplify the "three 'T's", have failed. The Creative Class is looking for cities that better accommodate their cultural, creative, and technological needs—cities such as Chapel Hill, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Austin, Seattle, Toronto, Ontario and Portland, Oregon. Florida also notes that Milwaukee, Wisconsin has all of the ingredients to be a "leading city in a new economy".

The “Creativity Index” is another tool that Florida uses to describe how members of the Creative Class are attracted to a city. The Creativity Index looks at four elements; “the Creative Class share of the workforce; innovation, measured as patents per capita; high tech industry, using the Milken Institutes widely accepted Tech Pole Index…;and diversity, measured by the Gay Index, a reasonable proxy for an area’s openness…(2002, p.244-5).” Using this index, the cities listed above can be rated and ranked in terms of innovative high tech centers, with San Francisco being the highest ranked (2002).

Florida and others have found a strong correlation between those cities and states which provide a more tolerant atmosphere toward culturally-unconventional people such as gays, artists, and musicians (exemplified by Florida's "Gay Index" and "Bohemian Index" developed in The Rise of the Creative Class), and the numbers of Creative Class workers that live and move there (2002).

Research involving the preferences and values of this new socio-economic class has shown that where people choose to live can no longer be predicted according to old Industrial Age models (such as "people will go to where the jobs/factories are"). Sociologists and Urban Studies theorists for example have noted that a gradual, and broad shift of values over the past decade. Creative workers are looking for cultural, social, and technological amenities/climates in which they feel they can best "be themselves".

[edit] Lifestyle

The diverse and individualistic lifestyles that the Creative Class enjoys involves active participation and experiential activies that are multidimensional. Florida (2002) uses the term Street Level Culture to define the kinds of stimulation that the Creative Class enjoys. Street Level Culture is considered as a “teeming blend of cafes, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between participant and observer, or between creativity and its creators” (p.166). Members of the Creative Class enjoy unique experiences like traveling and antique shopping, and they would rather be a participant rather than a spectator, participating in outdoor activities like bike riding and running (2002).

[edit] Criticisms

There are numerous studies that find fault with the logic or empirical claims of the Creative Class. Hoyman and Faricy (2009), using Richard Florida’s own measure, find no statistical evidence that cities with higher proportions of Creative Class workers correlated with any type of economic growth from 1990-2004. In "Urban Development and the Politics of the Creative Class", Ann Markusen (2006) argues that workers qualified as being in the Creative Class have no concept of group identity nor are they in occupations that are inherently creative. Markusen also notes that the Creative Class is highly based on educational attainment feeling that Florida’s indices become insignificant once educational attainment is added into his data (p.1923). Jamie Peck (2005), "Struggling with the Creative Class" says that the Creative Class theory offers no casual mechanism and suffers from circular logic.Along with these criticisms, John Montgomery (2005), feels that “what Florida has devised is a set of indices which simply mirror more fundamental truths about creative milieux or dynamic cities” (p.339). meaning that, the Creative Class isn't necessarily a class of people, but a diverse and creative place/area which fosters creativity, culture and innovation. Montgomery also disagrees with the citites that Florida heralds as most creative, stating that London should be one of the top in the U.K. not Manchester and Leicester. These arguments arise using Florida’s own indices.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  • On the Poverty of Experts: Between Academization and Deprofessionalization. Hartmann, Heinz, Hartmann, Marianne. 1982, vol 34, iss 2, pg 193
  • Florida, R. (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class: And How it’s transforming

work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Perseus Book Group

Evidence from the study of artists. Environment and Planning A, 38 (1): 1921-1940.

  • Montgomery, J. (2005). Beware ‘the Creative Class’. Creativity and Wealth Creation Revisited. Local Economy, Vol. 20, No. 4, 337–343, November 2005
  • Peck, J. 2005. Struggling with the creative class. International Journal of Urban and

Regional Research 29 (4): 740-770.

  • Ray, Paul H. and Sherry Ruth Anderson. The Cultural Creative. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000
  • Scott, Allen J. “Creative Cities: Conceptual Issues and Policy Questions,” Journal of Urban Affairs, 28, 2006, 1 – 17.

[edit] Web References

  • Cleveland, Harlan. “After Affluence, What?”. October 1977. Aspen Instit Humanistic Studies November 3, 2005. [2]
  • Saenz, Tara Keniry. “Portraits of U.S. High-Technology Metros: Income Stratification of Occupational Groups from 1980-2000”. March 2005. U Texas, Austin November 31, 2005. [3]
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