New piece in Belt Magazine:
When Richard Florida’s new book came out earlier this year, I saw some of the reviews and was intrigued. It was called The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class — and What We Can Do About It. I was interested in the subject. After the 2016 election, who wasn’t?
My interest, however, ran a little deeper than most. Some reviews billed it as Florida’s “mea culpa,” or his “act of penance” for his 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, in which he argued that young, creative workers were the new engines of economic growth and that cities needed to court them in order to prosper. In the beginning, everybody wanted to believe in this “Creative Class” theory. And for a while, so did I. But by 2012 I had serious doubts, and I wrote a critique of Florida’s theory that went viral. Five years later, with the publication of his new book, I wondered if Florida had finally taken my critique to heart.
I didn’t always feel that way. When I first came across Florida’s theory, I myself was a young, creative worker, and I loved the idea that people like myself were economically significant, and that by simply moving to a city we would cause it to flourish. Not long after The Rise of the Creative Class was published, my wife and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin. According to Florida, the city needed us and somehow we were the keys to its future. Yet as a freelance writer, subject to the extreme ebb and flow of income (mostly ebb), I often found myself biking around town, too broke to even afford a cup of coffee. At these times, I wondered: How exactly was I fueling Madison’s economy?
Read the rest here.
The Fall of the Creative Class
Still Falling: On Chickens and Eggs, Cause and Effect and the Real Problem with the Creative Class
The Price of Everything
It’s been nearly a year since the launch of Thirty Two Magazine, and the fourth issue is now out–the biggest yet by far. Not only are there fantastic pieces on the Dark Cloud soccer fans, the sharing economy, fiction about life in Antarctica, and more. There’s also beautiful photo essay of artists’ work spaces. For my part, I interviewed Andrew Lange of the experimental record label Taiga, which puts out albums on limited-edition vinyl. I also wrote about wildlife art.
Better yet: Two free albums also come with this issue, called Two Seasons: Thirty Two & Friends, which features 19 songs by local bands (including the lovely “Clouds” by the late Zach Sobiech) and which you can download from the site, plus a CD sleeve to cut out from the magazine.
So please find it any of these shops, enjoy it, and if you like what we’re doing, subscribe here. (Subscribers keep us alive!)
From Thirty Two Magazine:
Driving north from Des Moines not long ago, I veered off the freeway to a place I knew about but had never had any reason to visit. When I got there, I could see why: Mason City, Iowa was a miserable looking town filled with functional commercial buildings that left me with a vague feeling of despair as I passed them by.
Nonetheless, I was there because the city had done something historic, something of such cultural significance that I had first seen mention of it on the BBC. It had saved and restored one of the most important buildings in the world, the City National Bank and Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and first opened in 1910. Now it had been reborn as the Historic Park Inn after a $20 million renovation.
It may be news to you that Mason City exists, let alone that it has such a building. But it does, and the fact that this is not widely known seems to me like some kind of crime. Barely anyone is aware that one of the most architecturally significant hotels in the world could exist in an ordinary, downtrodden Midwestern town. It is this fact that I find both so inspiring and so disturbing.
Read the Rest here.