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Richard Florida

Richard Florida

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Richard Florida is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 urban studies theorist.

Richard Florida's focus is on social and economic theory. He is currently a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management
Rotman School of Management
The Joseph L. Rotman School of Management commonly known as Rotman School of Management is the University of Toronto's business school, located in St. George Street in Downtown Toronto. The school, named after Joseph L...

, at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

. He also heads a private consulting firm, the Creative Class Group.

Prof. Florida received a PhD from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1986. Prior to joining George Mason University
George Mason University
George Mason University is a public university based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax. Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County...

's School of Public Policy, where he spent two years, he taught at Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

's Heinz College in Pittsburgh from 1987 to 2005. He was named a Senior Editor at The Atlantic in March 2011 after serving as a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com for a year.

Personal life


Florida lives in Toronto and is married to Rana Florida.

Research and theories


Florida is best known for his concept of the creative class
Creative class
The Creative Class is a socioeconomic class that economist and social scientist Richard Florida, a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, identifies as a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial...

 and its implications for urban regeneration. This idea was expressed in Florida's best-selling books The Rise of the Creative Class, Cities and the Creative Class, and The Flight of the Creative Class. A book focusing on the issues surrounding urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

 and talent migration, titled Who's Your City?
Who's Your City?
Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life is a non-fiction book written by Richard Florida. The book advances Florida's previous work on the locational choices of people and businesses...

, was recently published.

Florida's theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of technology workers, artists, musicians, lesbians and gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohemians
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

", exhibit a higher level of economic development. Florida refers to these groups collectively as the "creative class." He posits that the creative class
Creative class
The Creative Class is a socioeconomic class that economist and social scientist Richard Florida, a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, identifies as a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial...

 fosters an open, dynamic, personal and professional urban environment. This environment, in turn, attracts more creative people, as well as businesses and capital. He suggests that attracting and retaining high-quality talent versus a singular focus on projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, and shopping centers, would be a better primary use of a city's regeneration of resources for long-term prosperity. He has devised his own ranking systems that rate cities by a "Bohemian index," a "Gay index," a "diversity index" and similar criteria.

Florida's earlier work focused on innovation by manufacturers, including the continuous-improvement systems implemented by such automakers as Toyota.

Criticism and controversy


Florida's theories are the source of both praise and controversy. Florida's ideas have been criticized from a variety of political perspectives and by both academics and journalists. His theories have been criticized as being elitist, and his data have been questioned. Researchers have also criticized Florida's work for its methodology. Terry Nichols Clark (University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

) has used Florida's own data-sets to question the correlation between the presence of significant numbers of gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

 men in a city and the presence of high-technology knowledge industries.

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser performed statistical regressions on Florida's data sets and came up with a similar critique, contending that educational levels rather than the presence of bohemians or gay people is correlated with metropolitan economic development.
Other critics have said that the conditions it describes may no longer exist, and that his theories may be better suited to politics, rather than economics. Florida has gone on to directly reply to a number of these objections.

Florida's first book, The Rise of the Creative Class came at the end of the dot-com boom in 2002. It was followed by a 'prequel' titled Cities and the Creative Class, which provided more in-depth data to support his findings.

With the rise of Google
Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

, the gurus of Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

, and the call from business leaders (often seen in publications such as Business 2.0
Business 2.0
Business 2.0 was a monthly magazine publication founded by magazine entrepreneur Chris Anderson, Mark Gross, and journalist James Daly in order to chronicle the rise of the "New Economy"...

) for a more creative, as well as skilled, workforce, Florida asserts that the contemporary relevance of his research is easy to see.

Some scholars have voiced concern over Florida's influence on urban planners throughout the United States. A 2010 book, Weird City
Weird City
Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas is a non-fiction scholarly text by Joshua Long published in 2010 by University of Texas Press. The book uses the "Keep Austin Weird" movement as a central focus to discuss the social, cultural and economic changes occurring in...

, examines Florida's influence on planning policy in Austin, Texas. The main body of the book treats Florida's creative class theory in an introductory and neutral tone, but in a theoretical "postscript" chapter, the author criticizes Florida's tendency to "whitewash" the negative externalities associated with creative city development.

Partial bibliography

  • The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity, 2010. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Who's Your City?
    Who's Your City?
    Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life is a non-fiction book written by Richard Florida. The book advances Florida's previous work on the locational choices of people and businesses...

    , 2008. ISBN 0-465-00352-4.
  • The Flight of the Creative Class. The New Global Competition for Talent, 2005. HarperBusiness, HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-075691-8.
  • Cities and the Creative Class, 2005. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94887-8.
  • The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life
    The Rise of the Creative Class
    The Rise of the Creative Class is a 2002 non-fiction book that was written by noted American sociologist and economist Richard Florida.- See also :* Creative class* Cultural Creatives...

    , 2002. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02477-7.
  • Branscomb, Lewis & Kodama, Fumio & Florida, Richard (1999). Industrializing Knowledge: University-Industry Linkages in Japan and the United States. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-02465-9.
  • Kenny, Martin & Florida, Richard (1993). Beyond Mass Production: The Japanese System and Its Transfer to the US. Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    . ISBN 0-19-507110-7.
  • Florida, Richard (1990). The Breakthrough Illusion. Corporate America's Failure to Move from Innovation to Mass Production. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00760-0.

Critical articles on Florida


External links