Richard Florida in The Atlantic

Austin has always loved Richard Florida, largely because in The Rise of the Creative Class, he had so much sugar for us.  He told us what we were already telling any Fortune  reporter with a notebook.  Namely, that our city’s particular economic kismet (?) was nearly inevitable when software geeks and film hipsters are allowed the graze each other like so many molecules in a petri dish.  I took no issue with Florida’s conclusions.  It was just that the book seemed like it wanted to be a magazine article.

I have  a precisely inverted reaction to Florida’s recent Atlantic cover story, “How the Crash Will Reshape America.”  In it, we the molecules are back, and 40 or so worldwide “mega-regions” are and will remain the most productive places for us to crash into one another.   And although none of his conclusions is a shocker (e.g. home ownership in America has been over-encouraged; the Rust Belt will continue to rust; New York will come out of the financial mess just fine while the Inland Empire will not), together they suggest increasingly dystopic patterns of economic development .  With themes of this size, Florida is almost certainly is planning a book to “show his work.”   I’ll bite. 

Oh, and while I was on the Atlantic site (truly one of the best in the serious journalism business) I was reminded of Christopher Leinberger’s eerily prescient article  from March 2008 about the coming slummification of many suburbs.

Double oh.  Check out the interactive map that goes with the Florida piece.  This is the journalistic stuff that brings a tear to my eye and a song to my heart.


One Response to Richard Florida in The Atlantic

  1. Phil Gilbert says:


    Good post. The two most striking things I take away from the maps are (1) why hasn’t Austin kept up with Salt Lake City on the patents… that’s the story of that map. And (2) if you look at the population map from, say, 1970 – today what’s most surprising to me is that it isn’t surprising at all… unless you expected some major shift. That is, except New Orleans. Look at the circle shrink. It’s scary, like looking at some map of Olde England during the plague years.


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