Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Who's Your City": Summary and Response

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In his chapter “Who Is Your City?,” Richard Florida states that the world is both “flat and spiky”. In a global economy where technological advances have made communication virtually limitless, location seems to lose its significance. However Florida contests that, though financial dealings are without borders, financial centers form in specific geographical locations. Where connectivity is made easy, it is limited to a handful of global “peaks”. These peaks are distinguished by their population density, economic activity, and innovation. As a centrifuge of innovation, peaks attract and nurture the creative class. Where creative innovators, implementers, and financial backers are all located in a concentrated area, constant contact is afforded. This connectivity allows for an efficient flow and execution of ideas not otherwise possible through digital exchange.

The innovative force of a global peak is something I have witnessed firsthand. While attending school in Illinois I lived both in the city of Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs. Though in the suburbs I received an arts education, I found that creative assets were much more accessible within the urban center. Wicker Park, an arts district located on the West Side of Chicago, was my invaluable resource. While working there I was in constant contact with fellow members of the creative class. Artists, gallery owners, magazine editors and program directors surrounded me in and outside of work. These creative people were integral to the inspiration, critique, and implementation of my ideas. Though technology connects me to the rest of the globe, my exposure to innovative people and resources was alarmingly location-specific. Richard Florida was correct in stating that the world is not as flat as it appears.

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