Design in a Small Town 8: Dismantling the Creative Class

I don't remember if I've talked about it before but much of my ire about metrocentrism came from reading Richard Florida's Rise of the Creative Class. While that book, which talks about how important creative people are to the economy, highlights hipster creative youth (which in my research often means young white males) it does so at the expense of other more pressing issues that cities (and rural areas) face. It also glosses over the struggles young creatives face.

Angela McRobbie, who studies British culture industries such as fashion design, lays bare the mythology of the hipster, artsy-fartsy lifestyle. She highlights how labour actually places the burden of social programs back on the individual creative producer and dismantles unionization through a 'hollywoodization' of work. Creative individuals who love the work they do go from job to job with no long term prospects and very little security net. This is the seedy underside of the creative class.

Add to that a city's need to support growing numbers of underprivileged individuals, address social inequities, and, heck, in some parts of the country just consider mundane infrastructure issues makes the focus on attracting creatives short sighted. Diversified creative communities are important, don't get me wrong, and we should pay attention to what their members have to offer. But the discussion needs to move beyond a celebration of the few who have made it and happen to be currently living in the city. There is a whole country that could use creative people, not just in the capacity they were trained, but in ways that could help communities grow and flourish.

For a good dismantling of Florida's creative class arguments read this article.
gregory turner-rahman