The key factor that draws people to a certain place is the place itself. Quality of Place, in comparison to Quality of Life, refers to a unique set of characteristics that define a place and make it attractive. This factor is so important, that Florida has identified Quality of Place as “Territorial Assets”; the fourth T of economic development after Technology, Talent, and Tolerance (the 3Ts of Economic Growth).
There are three key dimensions to Quality of Place (Florida, “What Draws Creative People?”):
What’s there: the combination of the built environment and the natural environment; a stimulating, appealing setting for the pursuit of creative lives.
Who’s there: diverse people of all ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, interacting and providing clear cues that this is a community where anyone can fit in and make a life.
What’s going on: the vibrancy of the street life, café culture, arts, and music; the visible presence of people engaging in outdoor activities—altogether a lot of active, exciting, creative goings-ons.
In summary, Quality of Place is about an interrelated set of experiences. Many of these experiences occur at the street level and are dynamic and participatory. Everyone is a part of the picture of the place; whether it’s being a part of the street-buzz or retreating to your home or the park.
Quality of Place does not occur automatically. It is an ongoing, dynamic process that involves the engagement of a number of disparate aspects of a community. However, the process is not always a good thing; what appears to be neighborhood revitalization from one perspective is gentrification from another. (Florida, “What Draws Creative People?)
Another element of Quality of Place is thick labor markets. Creative people are attracted to places that offer several jobs in their field rather than just one. They want confidence in knowing that there are several opportunities for them and they don’t have to feel trapped working the same job for the rest of their life. To be attractive, a place needs to offer a job market that is conducive to a horizontal career path (Florida, Revisited 287).
Thick labor markets allow for place to solve a basic puzzle of our economic order: it facilitates the matching of creative people to economic opportunities, providing a labor pool for companies that need people and a thick labor market for people who need jobs. In this way, place replaces the large corporation. It becomes the central organizing unit of our economy and society. “The gathering of people, companies, and resources into particular places with particular specialties and capabilities generates both the efficiencies and the innovations that power economic growth” (Florida, Revisited 288).
Brandon E. Young