Late last week I stumbled onto this piece, reporting on a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce meeting. It’s significant because Richard Florida spoke at the event on how to cultivate creativity, which he frequently argues should lead to prosperity. That alone is a fairly unorthodox view among lay people such as myself, as I think we tend to look simply at “job creation” or “infrastructure” as ways to improve a city.
But if you scroll down that article past the stuff on Las Vegas, there are some interesting ideas. Basically Florida argued in his speech that creativity is what drives wealth. I enjoyed this passage:
We can attract and retain creative people by improving our quality of life, working on basics like good schools and low crime, welcoming diversity, and nurturing the arts and parks and so on.
Creativity can be found among artists, of course, but he also pointed to technology workers, scientists and even hotel workers, who can use their cognitive or emotional intelligence to improve the guest experience. (Here’s a previous column on Florida.)
What I like about this passage — which was written by journalist J. Patrick Coolican, not by Florida himself — is that it encourages investment in culture as a way to improve everyone’s lot. If we spend money on cultivating creativity, the argument goes, we reap the kinds of rewards we’ve been looking for all along. I’m particularly interested in “welcoming diversity” and “nurturing the arts,” because while I think many people in Provo appreciate the arts and diversity, our city is not particularly diverse or especially artistic.