Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Richard Florida and his theory of the ¨creative class¨

Houses in Hamburg´s Hafenstrasse. The brightly painted buildings now belong to a Cooperative. Picture DPA.
Hamburg is investing billions in ambitious urban planning. This is the project for the Elbe Philharmonic concert hall, by archs. Herzog and the Meuron, which is over the budget. Picture DPA. From

From the article by Philipp Oehmke ¨Who has the right to shape the city?¨:

The three pages, printed from the Internet, are lying on Richard Florida's desk in his Toronto office. He begins skimming the document, but by the first sentence he has already had enough. It is, once again, an attack on his theories.
The sentence in question reads: "A specter is haunting Europe, ever since US economist Richard Florida came to the conclusion that only those cities prosper in which the 'creative class' feels comfortable." The "creative class" is a term coined by Florida. He puts away the pages and smiles weakly.
The sentence he just read comes from halfway around the world, from the northern German city of Hamburg, and it marks the beginning of a manifesto that Hamburg artists, musicians and social activists published in October 2009. In recent weeks, this manifesto has attracted a great deal of attention in Hamburg and throughout Germany. It is directed against an urban development policy that is based on a theory that Florida has developed over the past few years.
In his theory, Florida argues that cities must reinvent themselves. In contrast to the 1990s, they should no longer attempt to attract companies, but people. More specifically, the right people -- people who invent things, who promote change and who shape a city's image. He has classified these people as the "creative class." It's a theory that has had unintentional consequences -- including bitter conflicts in places like Hamburg. (...)
In Europe, hardly any other city has relied on Florida as heavily as the traditional trading city of Hamburg. A few years ago, Jörg Dräger, at the time Hamburg's science minister, showed up one day at the city-state's administration, the Hamburg Senate, with Florida's books under his arm. It was shortly before the summer recess, and Dräger distributed the books to his fellow Senate members. He asked them to read the books over the summer, saying that they offered a possible approach for the city's future.
Soon afterwards, the city of Hamburg hired the management consulting firm Roland Berger to examine how Florida's theory could be applied to Hamburg. "We didn't simply want to follow him blindly, but his ideas were the basis for the subsequent development of our strategy for the city," says Dräger today.
The result was called "Hamburg, City of Talent," and Florida, in his role as guru, even came to the city in person and gave presentations there.

Hafen City development (Harbor City). Picture DPA, 2008
The new Water District investment designed for 12,000 people
Clashes between the police and leftist protesters in 2009. Picture DPA

Keep on reading about the fight against gentrification:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails