Read in The Atlantic of 28 May 2015:
In 2003, at the opening of Westergasfabriek, Richard Florida visited Amsterdam for the first time. That was only one year after his ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ (2002) first was published. I remember. All Dutch cities wanted to become creative after that great performance. More than six years long each of them tried to surpass the others in its ambition to become a creative hub. Now, twelve years later, Richard Florida writes an article in The Atlantic in which he presents new data on the creativity of American cities. In ‘One Reason It’s So Hard to become a Creative Superstar City’ he reveiles that only 19 out of 364 U.S. metros have fully formed sustainable creative economies. That is no more than 5 percent. His sobering conclusion is based on new research of Shade Shutters, Rachata Muneepeerakul and Jose Lobo of Arizona State University. They took a detailed look at the growth and development of the creative economy between 2005 and 2013, so before and after the recession. Florida: “This small group not only outperformed the rest across several key economic measures, but the creative gap between them and the rest grew over the eight years studied.”
The researchers found that the small group of creative metros follow a general trajectory towards a creative economy that requires them to increasingly specialize in every economic domain. “In other words, the places with the most creative economies also have the highest overall diversity of occupations and specialities – by a wide margin.” That means, you cannot build a creative economy, at least it will be “quite daunting”. A diversity of occupations and specialities – also in the non-creative sectors – is needed. Its talent pool must be deep with all the skills, creative and otherwise, required for economic growth. Boston stands out, then follow Washington and San Francisco. Florida concludes that it is extremely difficult for the other cities to break into the small club of creative leaders. So what about the Netherlands? All those cities wishing themselves to be ‘creative’. All those creative ‘hotspots’, museums, factories, breeding places. Also without research one could expect that from the more than fifty Dutch cities – all rather small – only one or two might be called creative. The rest is not and will not easily be. The gap will become even bigger.