Monday, April 29, 2002

Mapping Talent
Fast Company featured Richard Florida and his work mapping talent, social networks, and social capital more than a year ago. He's gaining new attention today because of the imminent publication of his new book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," and a recent special report issued by the Austin American-Statesman. The report positions Austin, one of my favorite places, as one of the new capitals of creativity -- what folks have dubbed "cities of ideas."

Citing Robert Putnam, arguably the father of social capitalism, the report serves up a veritable recipe for building -- or at least recognizing -- a city of ideas:

  • More interested in other cultures, places
  • More likely to "try anything once"
  • More likely to engage in individualistic activities
  • More optimistic
  • Higher interest in politics
  • More artists, musicians, writers
  • Wages 30 percent higher
  • Volunteering increasing, but less than in Old Economy cities
  • Church attendance decreasing
  • Community projects decreasing more
  • Club membership decreasing more
  • Population growth 64 percent higher

    And for you locals, don't worry: Boston made the list. So it's Boston and Austin this time around.

    Humor decoder: That last line is a vague reference to an old singer-songwriter compilation CD that -- in title, at least -- positioned the two city's folk music scenes as sparring partners. It's not true. And it's not that funny a joke to quip on something so obscure and unrelated. But explaining bad jokes makes them better. At least in Austin. Or so I've heard.
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