Richard Florida

From Academic Kids

Richard Florida is an American economist at Carnegie Mellon University and George Mason University. He is best known for his work developing the concept of the so-called creative class and its ramifications in urban regeneration. He is the author of the bestselling book Rise of the Creative Class and its successor Flight of the Creative Class.


Views and Controversy

Florida's theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of hi-tech workers, artists, musicians, gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohemians", correlate with a higher level of economic development than in cities and regions that are lacking these. He suggests that attracting and retaining high-quality talent -- rather than building large job-creation infrastructure projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, shopping centres -- would be a better primary use of a city's regeneration resources for long-term prosperity.

Florida's has devised his own ranking systems that rate cities by a "bohemian index," a "gayness index," a "diversity index" and other similar categories. His conclusions are partly based on the results from these indexes.

Florida's theories are the source of both praise and controversy. Florida has been attacked by all sides of the political spectrum, and by both academics and journalists. His ideas have also proved to be influential on those heading regeneration in cities in the USA and Europe.

Researchers have critiqued Florida's work for shortcomings in its methodology. Terry Nichols Clark (University of Chicago) has used Florida's own data-sets to question the much-touted correlation between the presence of significant numbers of gay men in a city and the presence of high-technology knowledge industries.

His critics have questioned Florida's empirical evidence, suggesting his observed correlations may be spurious, overly simplistic, or even that the official Standard Occupational Classification System data-sets he uses may be questionable. Florida has replied, at length, to many of his critics.

Those outside the USA see Florida's work as applicable only to discreet and measurable U.S. cities, rather than to the overlapping and 'difficult to measure' conurbations of small densely-packed countries such as England or Japan.

Florida's first book, the Rise of the Creative Class came at the tail of the dot-com boom, and the conditions it describes may no longer exist. In his sequel book, Florida argues that the health and growth of the U.S. "creative class" is at threat because potential immigrants to the United States cannot easily obtain entry-permits post 9/11. He also cites an alleged rise in prejudice and bigotry in parts of the USA, after the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush.

Partial bibliography

  • Florida, Richard (2005). The Flight of the Creative Class. The New Global Competition for Talent. HarperBusiness, HarperCollins.
  • Florida, Richard (2005). Cities and the Creative Class. Routledge.
  • Florida, Richard (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life. Basic Books.
  • Branscomb, Lewis & Kodama, Fumio & Florida, Richard (1999). Industrializing Knowledge: University-Industry Linkages in Japan and the United States. MIT Press.
  • Kenny, Martin & Florida, Richard (1993). Beyond Mass Production: The Japanese System and Its Transfer to the US. Oxford University Press.
  • Florida, Richard (1990). The Breakthrough Illusion. Corporate America's Failure to Move from Innovation to Mass Production. Basic Books.

Critical articles on Florida

  • Joel Kotkin The Capital of What? (

External links


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