May 18, 2012


Ten years after publishing of The Rise of the Creative Class, the prominent city-booster says high-rises are “vertical suburbs” and we need “urban environments that stir the spirit.” 

Like a preacher in an urban-revival tent, Richard Florida roused the gathering at last week’s 20th Congress for the New Urbanism in West Palm Beach, Florida. The event took place on the 10th anniversary of publication of The Rise of the Creative Class, the book that made him a star among city admirers.

“Isn’t it interesting that the world has come to us?” he asked the gathering of 1,100 urbanists. 

“Something has changed to make this part of the great challenges of our time. … I thought I was out in the wilderness, but it’s happening everywhere.”

Florida first gained a wide audience by talking about urban revival and the “creative class” in the late 1990s. At the time, he encountered considerable skepticism. “People said that the bust would end the revitalization of cities,” he said. “Then they said the Trade Center disaster would do it. Then the economic collapse. The power of urbanism has just accumulated.”