Arnold Kling  

Creative Class Warfare

Did MAD Work - Or Did We Just ... Senator X's Amazing Letter to ...

Joel Kotkin writes,

Urban centers that have been traditional favorites for young singles, such as Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have experienced below-average job and population growth since 2000. San Francisco and Chicago lost population during that period; even immigrant-rich New York City and Los Angeles County have shown barely negligible population growth in the last two years, largely due to a major out-migration of middle class families.

Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go. They are twice as likely to be in the top 20% of income earners, according to the Census, and their incomes have been rising considerably faster than the national average.

Read the whole thing. I do have a softspot for Common Genius type stories.

Refutation expected from Richard Florida (one of my favorite bloggers, even though he takes the other side of this issue) in 5-4-3-2...

UPDATE: ...blast-off!

How about a little wager to make things interesting? . Lets have a bet on which city-regions will perform best over the next decade measured by per capita income, innovations, and growth in wealth. I take my creativity index regions - San Fran, Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, plus NY and LA. Globally, I'll take London, Toronto, Vancouver, Amsterdam and Stockholm. Joel can have his favorite places. I've made this offer to Joel before and I'll make it again. I'm putting my money down now. Any takers?

I'll take Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Fairfax, ...whoa, there--you said regions? That doesn't leave me much. Given that there are suburban enclaves as well as urban hip zones in all of these regions, maybe this is a silly argument.

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COMMENTS (5 to date)
TGGP writes:

Steve Sailer's review of Richard Florida's book can't be found at the website of its original publication or his own, but I've copied it here.

Heather writes:

Isn't a large part of the growth in cities due to their ability to grow? With the incredibly high population density in New York, Boston, San Francisco, et cetera, there is very little additional growth that can occur, regardless of the type of people who live there and the sorts of industries and creativity that occur in those places.

I'm not sure I've ever seen anything on it before, but is there any sort of study that has been done on maximum population density and how that affects growth?

bt writes:

If middle class families are the key to growth then Houston, Atlanta, Dallas should be the next "hot areas." Low cost of living, better than average schools and good job growth. Houston for instance, I just visited there, has great growth and I saw construction on practically every street.


Vincent Clement writes:

It is a silly argument.

Florida said "The best cities and the best regions offer something for everyone."

Enough said.

John Thacker writes:

With the incredibly high population density in New York, Boston, San Francisco, et cetera, there is very little additional growth that can occur,

Possibly true with Boston, doubtful with respect to New York, certainly not true with San Francisco. Plenty of additional growth is possible, just not with current restrictive zoning policies and neighborhood sentiment that opposes higher density housing. Economic research by Ed Glaeser suggests that it's zoning, not the inherent cost of land caused by running out or too high density, that is responsible for the high cost of living in those areas. See for example some of the links that Virginia Postrel provides here.

Of course, if you include the opinions and preferences of the locals as a political reality that's most of why little growth can occur, then it renders the question moot.

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