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Richard Florida: Pittsburgh is the least "gay-friendly" city in America!

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Some of you may be familiar with Richard Florida, the former CMU professor (now at Virginia's George Mason) who was famed for his unique and controversial views on urban and economic development and coining the term "creative class". In his book and in interviews he has always displayed a somewhat curious and occassionally contradictory love/hate relationship with his long-time home of Pittsburgh. His work has been criticized by a broad spectrum of experts due to its questionable methodology and his "observed correlations may be spurious and overly simplistic".


This is from a study Richard Florida did that was featured on CNN recently. Press play on the video and you'll see Richard Florida talking about how gay-friendly cities are also the most economically successful cities.


Obviously, San Francisco is ranked as the top gay-friendly city... and it has, with the exception of that temporary dot-com bust, experienced extremely robust growth in high wage sectors. However, Portland... which also ranks in this list... has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates and slowest rates of income growth.

Richard then talks about the "least gay friendly cities"... and ranks Pittsburgh as No. 1 in this dubious category. The cities in this list are largely economic underperformers (though to split hairs... the story of Pittsburgh's economy is extremely nuanced... while there has been meager net job growth... the region has experienced the 19th highest rate of income growth amongst the country's top 100 regions). I honestly think this is playing to outdated stereotypes and using questionable methodology. While I know Pittsburgh is no San Francisco or Seattle or NYC... I can't see it being worse than Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Nashville, etc...

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Ugh, someone put a gag on that man.

How do you rate something like that, anyway? You can't really quantify how gay-friendly a city is. I am very curious as to his criteria.

I can tell you one thing, Pittsburgh is certainly not un-friendly to gays. I was recently reading a long thread about this on another message board, and a number of gay people chimed in and said they feel very comfortable here. Not a single one said they had ever felt unwelcome here or had any problems.

I really wish Richard Florida would just go away. He has done a lot to hurt this city's image.

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