Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
After Andrew’s presentation on Monday where he mentioned Richard Florida’s book “Rise of the Creative Class,” I saw this article in the DCist and Washington Post about a new report from the organization Richard Florida heads, the Martin Prosperity Group. The report shows the geographic and income divide between the “knowledge based creative class” and the working and service classes in the DC/VA/MD region. The comprehensive report actually did this for a number of US cities nationwide. I ended up down an internet worm hole learning more about the Creative Class, the Creative Economy and Richard Florida’s theories on developing the Creative Class into the Creative Society.
Over the past decade plus, the creative class has emerged as the driving force for economic growth and innovation. This weeks report highlights the wage disparity between people working in the creative class (the innovators in Silicon Valley but also healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education) and people working outside of the creative class. Florida’s report highlights a new difference between the creative and service classes – while historically high income individuals and families leave the city in favor of more space in the suburbs and the ability to afford cars, the new creative class has been moving into cities, increasing housing prices downtown and pushing lower income individuals and families (who perhaps cannot afford a car) out of the city and further away from resources. While I think this high concentration of “creative” types with disposable income in the city is exciting for the arts, I find this wage and location disparity disturbing. Especially as more and more services and goods are packaged and sold as experiences (Experience Economy), I’m curious as to how economists predict opportunities for growth in the service and working classes. (And am hoping Florida’s book goes into more detail on this because I just ordered it.)
What do fellow arts managers think?