Chapter 14. Place matters

Every creative deed ... issues from one's most authentic, innermost, nethermost regions.

Nietzsche

As it is in the brain so it is in the community. The more variables there are at play the higher the probability that novelty will be generated.

The demographics of creativity have recently attracted widespread attention thanks largely to the work of Richard Florida. Though social commentators had been bandying around phrases like 'the knowledge economy' since the early 1990s it wasn't until the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class in 2002 that the world and his dog woke up to the sea change that had taken place in the last two or three decades of the 20th century.

The thing that had them rubbing their sleepy eyes in disbelief wasn't the fact that the so-called creative class now constituted nearly 30% of the US workforce, it was Florida's extraordinary assertion that creative people were more likely to want to live and work in cities that were cool rather than in cities that weren't cool.

This might sound self-evident to you and me but apparently it came as a massive surprise to the city fathers and the corporate managers who had spent so much time and money transforming their urban workplaces into so many Stepfords. By cleaning out the gays and the blacks and the immigrants, and by replacing the speakeasies and stripjoints with Burger Kings and Wal-Marts, they had unwittingly condemned their local economies to creative death. And here was Florida with ...

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