In Florida’s new book, “The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited” Florida argues that the old methods for building creative communities simply will not work. It’s not enough to just provide good schools or a family-friendly environment, just as it’s not enough merely to have an environment that’s teeming with restaurants and bars. Florida argues that cities need to attract a people climate as much as a business climate. A people climate refers to a general strategy aimed at attracting and retaining people, especially, but not limited to, creative people.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for a successful creative community. An effective people climate cannot have restrictions and be monolithic because the creative class group is diverse across the dimensions of age, ethnicity and race, marital status, and sexual orientation. Building a creative community is an “organic,” bottom-up process. “It’s a matter of providing the right conditions, planting the right seeds, and then letting things take their course.”
Extensive research has been conducted trying to determine the ideal age range to target in order to build a successful community. Most community leaders will tell you that married couples in their late thirties and forties- people with middle to upper income jobs and stable family lives is who they try to attract. However, one group that has been neglected by most communities, at least until recently, is young single people. In the creative age, Florida notes, young people matter for several reasons. They are workhorses, more prone to take risks and have up-to-date skills.
But a stable people climate is not all about age. What really matters is that cities and regions have a people climate that recognizes every type of person and every type of family. Regardless of age, people enjoy stimulating, dynamic places with high levels of cultural interplay. And if they have children, that’s the kind of environment they want to see their children in. In fact, many families prefer to live in urban settings. However, the truth is that many families tend to leave the city when their kids reach school age. What’s important to remember is that families themselves are increasingly diverse and that cities must be able to attract and retain diverse people and families.
Brandon E. Young