Latest Richard Florida Takedown Has Big Dollar Figures


Just about everyone has written a Richard Florida takedown, to which I say, the more the merrier. This latest entrant, by Alec MacGillis, takes a long look at Catalytix, which is “A Richard Florida Creativity Group Company,” one that extols the virtues of and implements the Creative Class® philosophy that he espouses. This is a great racket.

In Syracuse, New York, economic-development officials are declaring victory, saying the $250,000 study that consulting firm Catalytix co-authored in 2003 laid the groundwork for the arrival of an electric-car manufacturer. Wilmington, North Carolina, recently received some of the first recommendations from its $250,000 Catalytix investment, including such tips as “Consider hiring a blogger to create, stimulate and participate in virtual conservations [sic] about the Cape Fear Region.” Providence ordered up a Catalytix report in 2003 that told it to “identify and amplify organically evolving nodes of creative energy”; seven years later, city officials are still holding events with college students to ask them what it would take to get them to stick around after graduation. Iowa, which hired Florida in 2005, is charging ahead with its “Great Places,” 25 communities — among them Coon Rapids, Council Bluffs, and Appanoose County — that are getting several million in state dollars to attempt to become creative magnets. Phoenix is looking to revitalize its downtown with the help of a $100,000 report by Catalytix that declares: “Downtown Phoenix is the right place. Now, is the right time!” Tampa’s “director of creative industries” was one of the first city jobs cut in the recession, but Creative Tampa Bay, a group of Richard Florida enthusiasts, is carrying on. In Naples, Florida, 400 people each paid $150 to hear Florida speak at a golf club in May. They learned to their dismay that Naples has few creative workers, says Beth Sterchi-Skotzke, an organizer of the event. “Obviously, with a lower amount of the creative class, we’re not as tolerant as we believe we are.”

The piece ends with Florida suggesting that people who live anywhere near Detroit commute, via the airport, to freelance employment of some sort, if, like, they can.