View Full Version : "He Places an Emphasis on Hip Cafes, Art Galleries for the Creative Class"

11-14-2008, 05:24 PM
Stagnation in your Swedish town? Blame Florida

Which comes first: urban creativity or sound economic growth? Nima Sanandaji aims to separate the chickens from the eggs as he examines the influence on Swedish policy-makers of US urban theorist Richard Florida.

American academic Richard Florida has gained international attention for his theories about the "creative class". According to the bestselling author of The Rise of the Creative Class, the key to urban success lies in attracting certain groups of people, such as artists, scientists and twentysomething singles.

Florida insists that this can be accomplished through nursing a specific type of culture within a city. For example, he places an emphasis on hip cafes, art galleries and other manifestations of indigenous street-level culture.

Florida´s theories have become rather popular in Sweden, the country that tops his creativity index, and have come to influence policy decisions about urban planning. The Social Democrats go as far as to quote Florida in a parliamentary bill.

In Sweden, Florida´s ideas are used by those who wish to argue that public funding of cultural events, rather than a competitive business climate, is the way to achieve economic growth.

Swedish cities quote Florida in their strategies for urban development, shifting the focus from business-friendly reforms to attracting "unusual shops" in order to bring development to communities hit by high unemployment and other social ills snip