June 18, 2017


Author Reconsiders Urging Cities to Cater to Millennials (Jonathan O'Connell, 6/17/17, The Washington Post)

Richard Florida's argument, in short, was that to save themselves from postindustrial ruin, cities needed to attract the best young talent in computer programming, engineering, finance, media and the arts so their towns could build economies based upon the venture capital and start-up companies the new workforce would produce.

Often taking a cue from Florida's mantra, real estate developers dialed up hip but tiny apartments designed for creative millennials and outfitted them with coffee bars, gyms, pool tables, bocce courts, pool decks and fire pits. Mayors invested in better sidewalks, bike lanes and business incubators aimed at nurturing the new arrivals and keeping them around longer.

Somewhere along the way, however, Florida realized that the workers he so cajoled were eating their cities alive.

In places such as New York, San Francisco, Seattle and arguably Washington, the mostly white, young and wealthy "creative class" has so fervently flocked to urban neighborhoods that they have effectively pushed out huge populations of mostly blue-collar and often poor or minority residents.

"I think, to be honest, I and others didn't realize the contradictory effect," Florida said in April at a panel discussion. He said he realizes now that prompting creative types to cluster in small areas clearly drove living costs to such heights that low-income and often middle-income households have been forced elsewhere, creating a divide.

"We are cramming ourselves into this limited amount of space. And at the same time that the super-affluent, the advantaged, the creative class -- we could go on and on (with what to call them) -- the techies, global super-rich, absentee investors, invest in these cities, they push others out ... and it carves these divides," he said.

The strategy is working, now just give the displaced vouchers to move out of the city, where they can enjoy a higher quality of life and get better education for their kids.

Posted by at June 18, 2017 6:50 AM