Felix Stalder on Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:38:45 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Richard Florida Is Sorry

At the risk of flogging a dead horse, it's noteworthy that Richard
Florida's new book, "The New Urban Crisis", by and large, falsifies his
earlier pronouncements on the "creative class"  and his recipes for
urban renewal.

It's another sign how dead "left-wing neoliberalism" (aka diversity,
tolerance, globalization, culture are good and can be advanced through
individual freedom and the market) really is.

Florida's proposed solution: public housing and local self-governance.....

While it's hard not to feel a certain glee about this mea culpa, I
wonder how long it takes until this trickles down into a further
slashing of cultural funding....



"After fifteen years of development plans tailored to the creative
classes, Florida surveys an urban landscape in ruins. The story of
London is the story of Austin, the Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Toronto,
and Sydney. When the rich, the young, and the (mostly) white
rediscovered the city, they created rampant property speculation,
soaring home prices, and mass displacement. The “creative class” were
just the rich all along, or at least the college-educated children of
the rich.

In 1979, Pierre Bourdieu wrote that the consumption and production of
art gave the upper middle classes a “dream of social flying,” a feeling
that their tastes and beliefs were somehow untethered from their
objective class positions. The creative classes of major western cities
were better at this than anyone.

Over the last decade, Florida has been beating a retreat away from some
of his early optimism. As early as 2005 he described the “externalities”
of the rise of the creative classes — namely, they brought dizzying
levels of income inequality into every city that they’ve inhabited. As
his work evolved, the “creative economy” has ceased to be a goal and
instead become an unstoppable force, something that governments need to
be tame rather than encourage.

His latest book, The New Urban Crisis, represents the culmination of
this long mea culpa. Though he stops just short of saying it, he all but
admits that he was wrong. He argues that the creative classes have
grabbed hold of many of the world’s great cities and choked them to
death. As a result, the fifty largest metropolitan areas house just 7
percent of the world’s population but generate 40 percent of its growth.
These “superstar” cities are becoming gated communities, their vibrancy
replaced with deracinated streets full of Airbnbs and empty summer homes.

Meanwhile, drug addiction and gang violence have spread to the suburbs.


Florida’s offered solutions are modest. They range from the specific —
more affordable housing, more investment in infrastructure, and higher
pay for service jobs — to the vague — “engage in a global effort to
build stronger, more prosperous cities in rapidly urbanizing parts of
the world” and “empower communities and enable local leaders to
strengthen their own economies.”"



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