A look into the new "creative class".
June 10, 2002 8:13 AM   Subscribe

A look into the new "creative class". A new study says cities must attract the new "creative class" with hip neighborhoods, an arts scene and a gay-friendly atmosphere -- or they'll go the way of Detroit.
posted by BlueTrain (14 comments total)
There are paths other than that which they positively describe, and that of Detroit. Some would prefer neither.
posted by dissent at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2002

yet again, if yer creative, yee must be gay! round up dem creative gay folk...
posted by drock at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2002

Also discussed here, but I can see why you couldn't find it - hard to search on. Anyway, a very interesting way to look at cities.
posted by luser at 8:37 AM on June 10, 2002

What's so bad about Detroit?
posted by insomnyuk at 8:48 AM on June 10, 2002

As a native Detroiter living in New York, I get the feeling that dek was written by a disgruntled former Detroiter. But I do feel compelled to point out that Detroit was not ranked "consistently last." Salon lists it as 10 places ahead of Memphis, Tenn.

I agree, in general, with the idea that cities need interesting amenities to attract interesting people to live there, not themepark attractions to attract people to visit. But I hate this idea of "creativity" as some mysterious force that unites artists with doctors, lawyers, programmers, and so on. That's either artists flattering themselves about their own economic importance or working drones flattering themselves about their own cultural importance.

I don't think any cities are going to "go the way of Detroit" in the future — including Detroit. They'll find ways to self-destruct in spectacular new fashions.
posted by oddovid at 10:53 AM on June 10, 2002

Go Boston! Yay! :)
posted by LinemanBear at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2002

The word "hip" in and of itself in this day and age is decidedly and definitively not "cool". If they call it a "hip" neighborhood, it must be a retirement home.
posted by banished at 11:11 AM on June 10, 2002

Another former Detroiter, but in NJ. I must say that Detroit has appeared to have gotten worse since I left 8 years ago, but I have a peculiar attraction for the place. I don't think the casino helped.

FWIW, when I was in high school, I participated in what I thought was a great underground scene at the time...there's a lot of great ska in the city, some great art festivals (the African fair at Hart plaza was great), and music festivals that I found a lot of fun. I don't think that the city's excessive blight means that there aren't pieces of artistic worth in the city.

Then again, we did produce Eminem. And Ted Nugent, but we did provide the world with Iggy Pop. Ya win some, you lose some.

Go Wings!
posted by adampsyche at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2002

don't forget kid rock
posted by Hackworth at 12:33 PM on June 10, 2002

cities must attract the new "creative class" with hip neighborhoods, an arts scene and a gay-friendly atmosphere

...so that these colonizing creative types can open trendy restaurants and boutiques that attract culture-starved middle-class drones (like myself). This results in huge increases in the rents for commercial and residential property, driving out the poor artistes but making the neighborhood a prime location for condos, touristy t-shirt shops and Starbucks!

I'm thinking of Key West and Miami Beach here, I'm sure you can name a few yourself.
posted by groundhog at 1:16 PM on June 10, 2002

I kind of like what someone else said the last time this subject came up about this being a way for the "creative class" to make themselves feel all important.

Besides, I think it takes a lot more courage and uniqueness to be creative when you live in a small town than in a big creative city or what not. It's a lot easier to be creative when you're being just like everyone else, then to go against the grain.
posted by jodic at 2:01 PM on June 10, 2002

Except that, in most small places I'm familiar with, "going against the grain" usually means leaving, preferably for the "big creative city or what not." That alone can take a lot of courage. I've tried both the small town and the big city, and the city's a hell of a lot more rewarding. I'll gladly take anything that makes being creative easier.
posted by muckster at 2:43 PM on June 10, 2002

A similar story circulated a couple of years ago and was discussed here.
posted by sudama at 11:15 PM on June 10, 2002

There goes the neighborhood... When the hipsters move in, life improves, but rents and taxes rise?and then Starbucks.

I'm curious to see how gay communities fit into this model. I see a more crucial factor being the existence of young, single people who are willing to take low-end service jobs, live in the city in low-rent apartments, shop locally, and spend (relative to their income) a lot on entertainment, but not on children, houses, new cars. It's like an economic perpetual motion machine, and the BoBos (Bourgeois Bohemians) can thrive on the surplus value created. Inevitably, the colonization of poor underdeveloped areas by the hipsters is followed by yuppie gentrification.

In San Diego, the hip areas are Hillcrest/North Park, well on its way to being yuppified, and Little Italy, which is wedged between downtown, the airport (planes fly directly overhead) and I-5. The latter is wanted by none (too noisy) , but it creates the kind of entertainment, life-style amenities, and arts that Florida identifies. Ultimately, it will resist gentrification and continue to add to the circulation of wealth well after the party has ended in Hillcrest.
posted by rschram at 4:59 PM on June 19, 2002

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