The road to riches?
In "The road to riches?" Christopher Shea examines the ideas of Richard Florida, who argues that attracting the "creative class" is the key to a strong urban economy. Should cities make special efforts to attract artists, computer programmers, and other members of this new class? Or should they focus more generally on luring businesses and building new housing?
I believe it would be a lot better if there were "Creative classes" that were to thrive in neighborhoods. Even if you think back to when people were younger, who doesn't want to hang out with the cool crowd at the cool bars and lounges. It's common sense. Jamaica Plain has changed over the ten years. Before you would be able to find drug dealers on the street, crack houses, gangs, hardly no real good businesses but there were changes not in housing but in people. The environment of JP has changed. There are homosexuals, arrtists, businesses that are not chain related, different races, different classes, etc. AND everyone gets along. JP has to be one of the best examples of what a "creative class" is and it just takes many other neighborhoods to look at JP to see how we did it.
Neith , Jamaica Plain
Why can't we have it both ways? There's adequate room to accommodate both creative people as well as new businesses. The question about building new housing poses a different challange, however. Providing available, affordable housing may be the breakthrough that opens the floodgates and allows more businesses and creative talent to reside in a given geographic area.
Robert , Topsfield
No place is more unattractive when it tries so hard to fit into a certain scene. People who work in marketing are just so strange. I cant get into the morals of this issue because its just not my world to talk about it. What I think we really need to talk more about is this mind control that perpetuates in our society. We're arguing over things like gay marriage and janet jackson's breast just so we can avoid the more important issues like bad intelligence and the result of over 500 dead US soldiers. Its time for people to wake up. If 9/11 was supposed to wake us up then I can only assume now that we're just dead asleep.
Ben , Braintree
Well I think we need to do it all, and especially provide equity buy-in for "creative" types early in the gentrification (which is a good thing, you don't want the reverse) process. Boston is notorious for fast-tracking certain projects and holding up others (like building more office space when there is a glut and taking forever on housing, countless examples). And meanwhile we lack master plan and a BRA that creates new exceptions for every project. Here's some food for thought: Paris has the same land area as Boston, 4 times as many people but more culture. That's what we should aspire to.
Investing in public amenities such as parks, cultural venues, festivals, and public transportation really does help to attract young, educated, and mobile workers - especially those interested in quality of life issues. These amenities gives people a reason to stay in the region, even if job moves elsewhere. Examples of such places are Austin, Portland, and Denver. When talented workers are attracted to these areas, the cost of living rises - often pushing out lower income groups. This is a negative side effect of economic development, but often an unavoidable one. Prettying up a city is not always a permant solution - the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century failed to keep places like Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia from urban decay. But it did leave some enduring architecture that is still appreciated today. Cities will rise and fall in the long run as a result of macro-economic trends, but if they want to help themselves in the short run by doing things to attract good workers, its going to increase the quality of life for most residents of the city. Additionally, while it may not draw new residents to the region, it may keep the ones already there from leaving - or moving to the suburbs.
Andrew , East Cambridge, MA
JP- "Paris about the same size as Boston"? Are you talking about Paris, ME? JM
I wouldnt recommend it unless the City/Town in question already fits certain criteria. You would need old Houses for gentrification and the right kind of economy. These things have a tendency to spring up on their own. I can see a community trying to enhance an already burgeoning scene but starting from scratch isnt conceivable. Almost guaranteed to disappoint and make someone look awfully foolish.
Brian , Boston
It's absurd for cities/communities to market themselves to a group of people that one author called "the creative class" in order to sell books. "Let's target the younger educated worker who likes mountain bikes...". Give me a break. It's beyond absurd. It's a joke. Please stop wasting ink promoting a book.
There are only so many of these so-called creative types to go around. Even if they flock from one cool city to the next, some cities are going to lose. This trend will grow stale soon and something else will take its place. Cities should focus on improving value of life for their current residents for retention and remember that "if you build it, they will come".
Cities should be more concerned with the "working class" rather than a class of lazy losers that make their livings by drawing pictures and playing computer games!