Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander
Richard Florida, Charlotta Mellander and Patrick Adler The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002a, hereafter Rise) has enjoyed unusual impact both on the practice of economic development and on academic debate. It has been less than a decade since the book was published and it already stands as one of the most referenced texts in economic development and urban sociology. A Google Scholar search in early 2010 showed that 2584 subsequent works had cited it to that point, edging out Jane Jacobs’s (1969) seminal, The Economy of Cities (2403 citations) and Louis Wirth’s (1938) ‘Urbanism as a way of life’ (2433 citations). What accounts for the book’s academic traction and the ensuing debate it generated? First and foremost, Rise was the first work that really synthesized the emerging construct of ‘creativity’, coursing through psychology, economic history and regional science in the kind of straightforward language that practitioners as well as academics could understand. It draws off earlier work by Jane Jacobs (1961) and especially by Åke Andersson (1985) on the role of creativity and of the intersection of people’s creative capacities and place to situate creativity in the context of regional development. Rise also successfully integrated two divergent streams of thinking in urban economics: one which held industry and university location paramount to growth, and a second, more recent stream which focused on the autonomous decisions of human capital or skilled labour. By adopting place as the organizing unit of economic growth, replacing the corporation which played that role...
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