Can Business and New Federalism Save Our Cities?


Noted urbanist Richard Florida has some challenging ideas on the income inequality that is killing our nation’s cities.

Richard Florida (image)

Richard Florida is an academic, author, and leading voice on all things urban studies. His Rise of the Creative Class, first published in 2002, predicted a resurgence in city centers due to a new class of creative “knowledge workers.” His insights helped to catalyze scores of major city redevelopment efforts. Hailed as a far-reaching seer for predicting the tech and arts-driven boom in American cities, Florida’s work has recently been called into question for the unexpected consequences of urban renewal, in particular gentrification and its attendant income inequality, which has pushed lower income and diverse populations from cities throughout the United States.

But instead of ducking those consequences, Florida embraces them in his most recent work, The New Urban Crisis. In our conversation, Florida has some choice words for the tech industry, and posits a new approach to local government that he admits would be challenging to implement. We spoke to Florida earlier this week, below is a transcript of the conversation, edited for length and clarity.

NewCo Shift: First of all let’s talk about your latest book. It seems like it’s a departure — maybe a bit of a look back on your previous work. Some of the reviews said it was a mea culpa — but I’d call it a “rethinking” of some of your earlier work. Can you contextualize it in light of that?

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Transforming the Motor City


by Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company

The auto industry is undergoing a revolutionary change that will improve people’s lives in cities around the world. It also will support the ongoing renaissance in my hometown of Detroit.

I am excited to be a part of both of these amazing transformations.

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Lynchburg, Virginia: The Most Typical City in America


Creating Context for Cities

Data is nothing without context. How can we understand a city without first understanding the characteristics of a normal or typical city? I crunched the numbers on eight measures of 917 cities to learn what constitutes a typical city in America. Here’s what I found.

Population; population density; median age; median income; poverty rate; commuting by car; high school graduates; postgraduate degrees. Of course, this is something of an arbitrary selection of metrics. The American Community Survey (the source of this data, vintage 2015) provides over 1,200 tables of measures of cities alone. Each table has one to dozens of different measures. Consider, too, the hundreds, if not thousands of other data sources, public and private, that could provide data germane to understanding a “typical” city. Let’s accept that, while we could spend a lifetime investigating the makeup of a typical city, these eight measures are, at the very least, a good start.

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