Richard Florida

Richard Florida NSB Richard Florida NSB

Richard Florida Bio

Richard Florida is an economist and Urban Studies theorist. Florida's focus is on social and economic theory. He is currently the Hirst Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. Florida received a PhD from Columbia University in 1986. Prior to joining George Mason, he taught at Carnegie Mellon University from 1987 to 2005.

Florida is best known for his work in developing his concept of the creative class, and its ramifications in urban regeneration. This research was expressed in Florida's bestselling book The Rise of the Creative Class, Cities and the Creative Class, and The Flight of the Creative Class. While a new book, focusing on the issues surrounding Urban Renewal and talent migration, titled Who's Your City?, is currently in development.

Florida's theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of high-tech workers, artists, musicians, gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohemians", correlate with a higher level of economic development. Florida posits the theory that the Creative Class fosters an open, dynamic, personal and professional environment. This environment, in turn, attracts more creative people, as well as businesses and capital. He suggests that attracting and retaining high-quality talent, versus a singular focus on infrastructure projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, and shopping centers, would be a better primary use of a city's regeneration resources for long-term prosperity. Florida has devised his own ranking systems that rate cities by a "Bohemian Index," a "Gay Index," a "Diversity Index" and similar criteria.

Florida's theories are the source of both praise and controversy. He has been attacked by all sides of the political spectrum, and by both academics and journalists. His theories have been criticized as being elitist, and his data has been questioned. His ideas have also proved to be influential on those heading regeneration in cities in the USA and Europe. Proponents of Florida's theory point to the rise of the creative class in booming urban centers and a visibility in "creative class" industry.

Florida's first book, The Rise of the Creative Class (which was followed by a 'prequel', that provided more in-depth data to support his findings, Cities and the Creative Class), came at the tail of the dot-com boom. Some critics have said that the conditions it describes may no longer exist. However, with the rise of Google, the juggernauts of Web 2.0, and the constant call from business leaders (often seen in publications such as Business 2.0) for a more creative, as well as skilled, workforce, his supporters state that one can easily perceive the contemporary relevance of Florida's research.

In his sequel book, The Flight of the Creative Class, Florida argues that the health and growth of the U.S. "creative class" is threatened because potential immigrants to the United States cannot easily obtain entry-permits post 9/11.