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Creative Class vs Middle Class

Creative Class vs Middle Class   31 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Charlotte focus on the needs of the Middle Class or Creative Class

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    • Middle Class
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Many of you have heard of Florida's theory that cities thrive and create economic opportunity when they attract the "creative class" and I have heard spokes people from the uptown leadership repeat many of his theories. There are other theories that state that cities ought to be focused on meeting the needs of the "middle class" as real economic growth and prosperity comes from having a large growing middle class.

So the question is which group should Charlotte be more concerned with?

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Many of you have heard of Florida's theory that cities thrive and create economic opportunity when they attract the "creative class" and I have heard spokes people from the uptown leadership repeat many of his theories. There are other theories that state that cities ought to be focused on meeting the needs of the "middle class" as real economic growth and prosperity comes from having a large growing middle class.

So the question is which group should Charlotte be more concerned with?

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Are the 'weird' the creative class, or is it the lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, scientists, and 'knowledge workers'?

If it's the latter group, Charlotte is a good place and should continue to grow in that respect. Charlotte isn't really an industrial city in the classical American sense, in the vein of Buffalo, Cleveland, or Detroit.

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Are the 'weird' the creative class, or is it the lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, scientists, and 'knowledge workers'?

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Although this is somewhat a hedge in my response, I think Charlotte should continue to focus on building the Middle Class. I believe that growing the Middle Class through a strong labor market and policies that are business friendly will ultimately make the city more cultural as well. A strong middle class will lead to a demand for a Creative Class as people look for ways to spend their disposable income.

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Although this is somewhat a hedge in my response, I think Charlotte should continue to focus on building the Middle Class. I believe that growing the Middle Class through a strong labor market and policies that are business friendly will ultimately make the city more cultural as well. A strong middle class will lead to a demand for a Creative Class as people look for ways to spend their disposable income.

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I to agree with the presense of the creative class. Although it may have something to do with the fact that my friends (and I soon) fall into it. The building of residential space uptown, elizabeth, Noda, and the inner ring burbs are helping attract the younger creative class. I may as of last week talked a dentistry student (graduating next year) to open uptown. We see the potential for what the city will be soon. A big draw for the creative class is and will be neighborhoods that one can live, work and play (and not the odd little things 30 miles into the suburbs).

That being said, Charlotte does come up short in it's present state providing affordable space for the less affluent creative class. However, I tend to think as supply of housing begins to rise, this will come. In a perfect world (for the present) our older buildings would have missed the wrecking ball and provided housing. In a perfect world, Charlotte would have had a larger growth spurt before the 20th century and have moved it's density further out to provide these buildings--to make my previous statement, about the wrecking balls, true.

or is it the lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, scientists, and 'knowledge workers'?

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That's a tough question, because I don't think of them as mutually exclusive. Creative class does not refer just to artists, musicians, website designers, wine bar enthusiasts, etc, which is a common misconception. It refers to the difference between so-called knowledge workers and those in more traditional frontline manufacturing, agricultural and industrial jobs. Basically, jobs where individuals analyze, make decisions, apply experience, use technology, seek higher levels of training, often including some sort of entrepreneurial bent, all fit into the creative class, regardless of payscale.

Often, these types of jobs can tend to be higher paying than jobs where one carries out pre-defined work tasks in a more traditionally bureaucratic environment. This is what invites the economic class arguments. But, creative class jobs can really be any class, economically speaking. The reason they are sought after as a demographic is because economists project that's where the most job growth will be as traditional economic drivers decline. Not because they're needed to buy all the condos and attend all the art gallery openings.

As emphasis shifts more toward these knowledge based jobs, more people will advance their economic class as far as their own goals and ambitions dictate. Economists think that its good for cities to attract these jobs and these workers, as well as encourage existing workers to re-train for these jobs. Your basic rising tide theory.

But here's the exponential benefit -- with prosperous cities, and growing populations, there then develops an increased need for traditional middle class careers such as construction, teachers, firemen as well as more entry-level employment in service sectors. It's simply more effective to spend economic development dollars where they will have the most exponential impact. As to Metro's opening question, economists predict that attracting a knowledge worker is likely to bring more opportunities for traditional workers; moreso than attracting a traditional worker will bring for knowledge workers.

The fallacy is equating a traditional worker to the middle class and not the knowledge worker -- who is stereotyped to be the Gen X/Y, trend following, telecommuter with tons of disposable income and an interest in offbeat entertainment. I don't think you can draw clear distinctions between what would attract the middle class and what would attract the creative class because there are too many other demographic factors that would have a stronger influence.

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I find it interesting that so far it is 50 - 50 for those who think one is "better" for Charlotte. I would imagine most of us believe you need a good mix of both for a healthy social scene.

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If the creative class is the knowledge worker like UptownGrrl says, it should be encouraged. If it's the beatnik, than no.

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.... Maybe some here are not so familiar with Florida (the author--not the state).

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If the creative class is the knowledge worker like UptownGrrl says, it should be encouraged. If it's the beatnik, than no.

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What if we look at it as the creative class indicates that group of citizens who "create" - whether it be art, technology, new businesses, ideas, trends or the need for more of these things. Or think of it as people who create "change" in a city.

that was my take on the term

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Many that fall into this category have non-traditional jobs and lifestyles which is the antithesis of what Charlotte was built on and stands for. I fervently hope that this atmosphere will change

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What if we look at it as the creative class indicates that group of citizens who "create" - whether it be art, technology, new businesses, ideas, trends or the need for more of these things.

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A lot of Charlotte seems to suffer from the mindset that if someone does not look like a J.Crew ad they are not good enough to live here.

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I think this attitude is manifested in a myriad of circumstances. The anemic support for alternative art groups in this town being one example. Charlotte Rep is gone, Moving Poets has left and those that remain are struggling. Read Charlotte Mag this month. Their survey of Charlotte's committment to the arts compared to comparable metros is very eye opening. Then there is the refusal of the city to enact any kind of inclusive zoning to help protect the distinctive nature of neighborhoods such as NoDa or PlazaMidwood from overgentrification as has been done in other cities. If it's not mainstream it's not "good". There is a general unwillingness by city government to support innovative programs to encourage creativity and diversity. City Council's refusal to support our right as citizens to host Charlotte Pride in Marshall Park. Last year's event at Gateway was a success but after reflection I find it shameful that Charlotte's gay community was forced to "hide" in private space out of public view because our city government does not support us. Gay Prides in ATL and other cities comparable to CLT are supported by the community at large and held in public space. Heck, Columbia has a parade and festival through their downtown but that's not allowed in "word class Uptown Charlotte". Mayor McCrory's refusal to issue a standard welcome letter for The Human Rights Campaign dinner when he does it for other groups. Mayor Coble of Columbia welcomed the Dinner guests last year and will probably do it again this year. Shameful. Pathetic behavior for a Mayor of a "world class" city. Cities that attract creatives don't have the constant "hangup" with homosexuality that Charlotte seems to constantly struggle with. Finally, City Council's reaction to Artspace's proposal to rehab the Mills was lukewarm at best and dismissive and patronizing at worst. They just dumped the idea in committee to die. I think things can change but other cities achieved success through partnering with the artistic/creative community and the establishment in Charlotte is too conservative right now to make that change. Writng checks to the ASC is not the answer to everything.

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..... Last year's event at Gateway was a success but after reflection I find it shameful that Charlotte's gay community was forced to "hide" .,....

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I apologize for ranting :blush: but this month's story in Charlotte Magazine really does provide an interesting examination of Charlotteans support for the Arts compared to metros with similar populations and I think cities with thriving and diverse artistic communities are successful in attracting creatives.

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The question I believe intends to define "creative" class as the artist types.

To be a complete city, both classes are absolutely necessary.

As someone who pretty much exclusively belongs in the middle class, without much creativity, I still enjoy driving out to NoDa or other "artsy" neighborhoods occassionally for some good food and entertainment.

I'm sure the artist types also appreciate incremental funding and demand for art & entertainment that exists in part due to the influx of middle class people who want to relieve stress and appreciate art in various ways.

I personally would like to see this city appreciate both classes and give opportunity for both to flourish.

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I'm pretty pro-artsy, but I have a hard time believing that creative people truly represent a "class" in the same sense as "middle class". A lawyer is clearly not in the same "class" as an artist, so something seems awry in the concept of a creative class.

Seems to me that this is more about attracting intelligence. One of the worst things that can happen to a society is "brain drain", so it's a good idea at this stage of Charlotte's development that we take steps to permanently retain a well-educated population. In that respect, I fully support measures to continue attracting high-quality jobs to the area -- whether they be based in the arts, technology, law, or even just more executive positions in the banking industry. Of course, that also means we need to provide a proper social network to support intellectual growth: better public schools, increased arts options, and ramping up the University's academic profile.

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Take a look at Cleveland as an example of a city that I feel does a pretty good job when it comes to the Creative Class - Good Universities, Museums, Arts, science, a world class symphony, listener supported radio, etc... I think across the board it puts Charlotte to shame. However, Cleveland has a problem with their economy. Poverty levels are near the nation's highest. Unemployment is above the national average. The overall job market is weak. As as result, people are leaving the area.

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