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.