Okay, so I’m a baby boomer, a cultural creative, and now I find out I’m a member of a growing class of folks called “The Creative Class,” made up of individuals who work in creative fields and environs. In Richard Florida’s fascinating book, The Rise of the Creative Class, I learn that there are millions of us out there and that we are literally reshaping the social and economic landscape.
Florida, who is H. John Heinz III Professor of Regional Economic Development and a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, has the credentials and knows his stuff as he lays out a thouroughly detailed examination of what the creative class is, where they live, and what they do, as well as their profound and increasingly evident effects on the nation. Using plenty of charts and city rankings, we come to know that these creative people are writers, artists, computer pros, scientists, educators, musicians, architects, engineers and many other professions that incorporate individuality and creativity. We also learn which modern cities of various sizes are home to the greatest population of creative class members, and which regions offer the kind of diversity and open-mindedness that attracts the creative class.
The author shows how this new and rising phenomenon that is the creative class is affecting the working class and service class, often creating a wider gap in income and a greater divide between the classes. But this new creative group is seen to be responsible for a virtual renaissance in the way business is done, as well as how we live our lives. Basically, the author is stating that the new paradigm of our society is that of the
creative ethos, and it is changing every aspect of our existence. This book not only shows how, and explains why, but offers plenty of proof and evidence, including an updated preface and current rankings of cities that are considered the most and least creative. I’ll give you the top three “Most Creative": Austin, San Francisco and Seattle. Let me tell you, the rest of the list of twenty most creative cities will stun you, for that list includes many cities normally not thought of as creative hotbeds.
The emergence of this new social class has so many implications for our society and for the future of our nation, including the need for the creative class to identify their commitment to community and the environment, something the author claims is missing in the quest for “more for me” that seems to define this new class. If the upwards of 38 million members of this creative class, making up more than thirty percent of the current workforce, can get their proverbial stuff in order, they, I mean, we, could create a society based around real values, integrity, authenticity and the celebration of the creative spirit.
Wouldn’t that be nice?