09 November 2010

just a thought.

How do you build a truly creative community--one that can survive and prosper in the emerging age? The key can no longer be found in the usual strategies.  Recruiting more companies won't do it...The rise of the Creative Economy has altered the rules of the economic development game.  Companies were the force behind the old game and cities measure their status by the number of corporate headquarters they were home to.  Even today many cities, states, and regions continue to use financial incentives--some of them obscenely extravagant--in their efforts to lure companies.

But while companies remain important, they no longer call the shots. As we have seen, companies increasingly go, and are started, where talented and creative people are.  Robert Nunn, the CEO of ADD Semiconductor, told the Wall Street Journal the "key element of building a technology business is attracting the right people to the company.  It's a combination of experience, skill set, raw intelligence, and energy. The most important thing is to be somewhere where you have a pool of people to draw that."

The bottom line is that cities need a people climate even more than they need a business climate.  This means supporting creativity across the board--in all of its various facets and dimensions--and building a community that is attractive to creative people, not just to high-tech companies.  As former Seattle mayor Paul Schell once said, success lies in "creating a place where the creative experience can flourish." Instead of subsidizing companies, stadiums and retail centers, communities need to be open to diversity and invest in the kinds of lifestyle options and amenities people really want.  In fact you cannot be a thriving high-tech center if you don't do this.

--Taken from the book The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida.

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