Archive for Sunday, June 9, 2002

Creative class

June 9, 2002

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To the editor:

Monday's story, "Lawrence ponders artists' economic potential," by Joel Mathis, distorts the theories and research of Dr. Richard Florida, of Carnegie Mellon University, in his new book, "The Rise of the Creative Class."

And Lawrence Arts Commission downtown sculpture committee chairman Jeff Ridgway's quoted remarks he is "cynical about the economic development potential of Lawrence's creative community" are discouraging.

The full title of Dr. Florida's 6,500-word article in the May issue of The Washington Monthly is actually "The Rise of the Creative Class: Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race."

Florida's research strongly correlates recent high-tech-based economic growth with four indices: percentage of the "creative class" in the work force; a high-tech index; an innovation index; and a gay index defined by Dr. Florida as "a reasonable proxy for an area's openness to different kinds of people and ideas." His Bohemian index, "a measure of artists, writers, and performers," also correlates well with growth.

A June 1 story in the New York Times quotes Dr. Florida: "You cannot get a technologically innovative place unless it's open to weirdness, eccentricity and difference."

The Times article uses the word "gay" ten times, and the word "bohemian" nine times. But the Journal-World article includes neither word. Why the slanted reporting?

I urge interested fellow citizens to read Dr. Florida's entire May 2002 article at www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html.

James Grauerholz,
Lawrence

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