Why hipsters make cities flourish

BUSINESS CLASSIC: Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class places tolerance at the heart of prosperity.

by Stefan Stern
Last Updated: 28 Nov 2016

It would not be fair to blame Richard Florida for hipsters.

Not fair at all. However, if one person can be said to have first charted and then popularised the concept of urban renewal through the influx of bohemian creatives, it is the American academic.

Florida spotted that growing and flourishing cities around the world seemed to have something in common. He summed these characteristics up as the 'three Ts'. These Ts are technology, talent, and tolerance.

Cities draw in talented, creative people when they can live in affordable but attractive environments where all the benefits of modern life can be enjoyed, but that crucially provide a welcoming ('tolerant') and benign setting.



Can hipsters save the Northern Powerhouse?


These people are the 'creative class'. They will fire up your city with technological innovation and entrepreneurialism, attractive consumerism and high-end lifestyles.

A virtuous circle can then be created in which high-performing, creative hot spots draw in ever greater numbers of talented people. It's like a gold rush for beautiful high achievers. The consequences for house prices and social mix can be problematic, however.

Initially there is greater diversity. But after a time others will be forced out by the price list. They have to take their beards elsewhere and find the new future hot spots.

Stefan Stern is visiting professor at Cass Business School. Follow him on Twitter: @StefanStern.

The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida was published by Basic Books in 2002.

Image credit: Luis Alvarez Marra/Flickr

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