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The growing power of creativity

In "The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited," Richard Florida uses new evidence to back up a bold plan for economic growth.

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Think creativity equals starving artist? Think again. Not only are the more creative among us raking in more cash, they’re reshaping our businesses, cities, and culture. They’re probably also the key to a more stable economic future.

This, according to economist Richard Florida, who has been tracking the way Americans live and work for over a decade. In 2002, Florida observed that companies were relocating to areas with larger pools of creative talent, individuals seemed to prefer cities over suburbs, and workers were altering traditional nine-to-five schedules. Florida argued that these broad social changes were the result of the “rise of creativity as a fundamental economic force.”

In his book The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida wrote about these changes and argued that the move toward a creative economy had created a new social class – one with individuals whose work is defined by their ability to create. Think: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and other visionaries. Since then, the Creative Class has become more and more dominant economically. Given today’s uncertain economic times, Florida’s thesis moves from prediction to prescription.

Florida proposes a new “Creative Compact,” which includes a restructured education system, a new social safety net and an effort to support urban communities in order to achieve a more prosperous future. Florida’s revised book, “The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited,” uses new data, studies and anecdotal evidence from the past ten years to construct a bold plan for economic growth and improved lifestyles.

How has the economic downturn impacted creatives? Why does location matter for the Creative Class? Could a “Creative Compact” lead to a new and improved economic order?


Richard Florida, Author of “the Rise of the Creative Class Revisited” (Basic Books); Professor, University of Toronto and New York University; Senior Editor, The Atlantic