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The benefits (or not) of creative communities

It is sure to lose me some cred with my Creative Fresno friends, but I have to admit I’ve never read Richard Florida’s “Rise of the Creative Class.” There’s a copy on my bookshelf that a friend gave me when she moved, but it’s pretty dusty at this point.

But, I understand the man’s significance. Florida made fans in the early ’00s for his assertion that cities can reinvent themselves by appealing to the creative community (sometimes called knowledge workers). Much of the spirit of Fresno’s revitalization (and the existence of Creative Fresno) comes from these ideas.

So when Joel Kotkin wrote in a lengthy piece on the Daily Beast Wednesday that Florida all-but admits the creative class isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, well, it was a bit like Al Gore rethinking climate change.

Florida has since written a lengthy rebuttal calling bollocks on Kotkin and offering some clarification.

Both are great reads if you have the time and offer some interesting thoughts to ponder as the city of Fresno faces off with the county over whether a health-sciences university at Millerton Lake is sprawl (also that 5,200-home development in Madera County).

My thoughts: Rhetoric (on either side) be damned. Smartly planned, sustainable cities create better quality of life for everyone.

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