Saturday, March 23, 2013

Michigan's Cool Cities Not What They Promised

During my 6 years on the Troy City Council, then Michigan Granholm’s "cool cities" program was developed to rejuvenate the urban areas of our State. Granholm's "cool cities" program was based on consultant Richard Florida's "creative class" idea that the "skilled, educated and hip" would remake and revive American cities. Until I came across the writings of Joel Kotkin, I thought the "cool cities" program made a lot of sense.

Well, Richard Florida recently admitted what Joel Kotkin and other critics have said for a decade...
...that the benefits of appealing to the creative class accrue largely to its members—and do little to make anyone else any better off. The rewards of the “creative class” strategy, he notes, “flow disproportionately to more highly-skilled knowledge, professional and creative workers,” since the wage increases that blue-collar and lower-skilled workers see “disappear when their higher housing costs are taken into account.” His reasonable and fairly brave, if belated, takeaway: “On close inspection, talent clustering provides little in the way of trickle-down benefits.”
You can read more in Richard Florida Concedes the Limits of the Creative Class.

Kotkin concludes the blog post, "contrary to the narrative espoused by Florida and other proponents of high-density cities, the predominant future urban form in America is emerging (largely unrecognized to the media) elsewhere, in places less dense, economically diverse and, perhaps, just a bit less hip and cool."

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