Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Developing homegrown competency

I'm reading a terrific book this week. Who's Your City by Richard Florida explores one of life's three major choices, 'where to live?' (the other's being 'what to do' and 'who to do it with').

Despite the ease with which technology has allowed us to interact with each other over vast distances, we still love to congregate. Actually, it still makes sense to congregate. Theoretically, this is intuitive: concentration of talented and creative individuals leads to increase innovation which leads to happiness and wealth creation.

Florida affirms that the world is not getting flatter with technological diffusion and communications convergence. Rather, it is getting 'spikier' - a term he uses to describe the peaks and valleys of the world economy and the highly localized nature of very specialized jobs (e.g. computer game design, equity management services, and publishing).

But what makes creative people want to locate in proximity to one another? Are there unique physical features of the place that make it attractive to certain types of people or are these characteristics incidental and secondary to selecting a place with people in your social group.

So is it chicken or egg? Do creative people create creative cities or do creative cities create creative people?

Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

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