Who’s Your City
Richard Florida is one of favourite contemporary authors. His book, The Rise of the Creative Class is one of the best things I’ve ever read; a book that I constantly recommend and a tremendous help in clarifying the trends that are shaping our globalised world. Florida’s latest book is Who’s Your City, which builds on […]
Richard Florida is one of favourite contemporary authors. His book, The Rise of the Creative Class is one of the best things I’ve ever read; a book that I constantly recommend and a tremendous help in clarifying the trends that are shaping our globalised world.
Florida’s latest book is Who’s Your City, which builds on the ideas of The Creative Class and looks at the way our place of residence effects our lifestyle. Florida’s contention is that we typically devote a lot of energy to the who and what questions of our lives – who to marry, who to befriend, what to do for work and what to believe – but not enough on the where question.
But, where we live has a tremendous impact on our education, work prospects, sense of identity and even our potential happiness. Who’s Your City explores a wealth of research into how people feel about the places where they live, why people move from location to location and what makes a location ideal for a certain way of life. Unlike The Creative Class, which was focussed on a specific set of demographics, Who’s Your City explores a much wider set of potential career and lifestyle options and also looks at the needs we face in different stages of life.
In essence Florida is trying to help us clarify what to look for in a potential community or neighbourhood. It’s not just fact upon fact; there are lots of questions and opportunities for self-reflection and self-examination. I found reading the book helped me to think more clearly about why I find Hong Kong to be such a dissatisfying place to live (a point I hope to return to in a future blogpost) and why I’ve had the feelings I’ve had about other cities. I’ve also taken Florida’s advice and started to build a little research project into possible future places to live.
If the book has one weakness for me, it is that most of the concrete examples and detailed research are focussed on the US. But, the book is not totally US-centric in so far as the concepts, principles and ideas are applicable to any global location. Hopefully we will one day see a similar book that deals with international locations in a more nuanced way, especially as ex-pats have more freedom to choose potential working locations and retirees continue to look globally for the best places to enjoy their stage of life.
Who’s Your City is a challenging, well-researched (there’s lots of secondary references) and thought-provoking read. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking to change communities, either by choice, or because of commitments. In particular, it is a useful book for people transitioning from one life stage to another (college to work, having children, entering retirement).
[tags] Who’s Your City, Richard Florida [/tags]