In his best-selling book, The Rise of the Creative Class (2002), Richard Florida documented the growth of work related to knowledge and highlighted the importance of creativity, design, and art to business success. Highly educated, highly social “creatives” (the word has migrated from adjective to noun) spurned corporate suburbs and gravitated to cities that were diverse and rich in cultural and entertainment opportunities. Business followed the architects, designers, artists, app makers, writers, media entrepreneurs—among others—to the cities.
Yet in his latest book, Florida argues that this phenomenon has triumphed too well. The clustering of imaginative people and innovative businesses has not spread itself widely among metro areas but has ended up concentrated in a handful of “superstar cities”—Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Here in the glittering gulches of skyscrapers and prowling Teslas, factors like stratospheric housing prices, costly entrepreneur- stifling zoning regulations, and a homogenizing tidiness threaten to kill the creative ethos.