The Importance of Arts and Culture in Growing the Creative Class
Members of the creative class encompass a wide variety of industries, including technology, entertainment, journalism, finance, high-end manufacturing, and the arts. The creative class is fast-growing, highly educated, and a well-paid portion of the workforce. It also contributes significantly to corporate profits and economic growth. Regions with significant percentages of creative class members are also some of the most wealthy and prosperous. It is regions that succeed in attracting and retaining creative class people that are thriving, while those that fail may endure long economic downturns. Many of the region’s cities have large concentrations of service workers and that pushes them low on the list for the creative class
Authentic and Unique Places
Cities and regions that have appealed to creative talent are often those with greater diversity and high levels of quality of places that are unique and authentic. Authenticity comes from many qualities of a community – historic buildings, established neighborhoods, a distinctive music scene, or particular cultural characteristics. Those features are most effective in a compact and diverse built environment with refurbished buildings and infill development. An authentic place also provides exclusive and original experiences that attract talented people who seek a vibrant environment receptive to diversity. A positive people environment is also important to creating the quality places that the creative class seeks. That includes investments in amenities such as urban parks and places for bicycling, roller blading, and casual walking (and places for dog to walk too).
An Effective People Climate
While a solid business climate is always important, an effective people climate is even more vital. Small targeted investments are vital components for fostering an effective people climate. Whereas companies and even sports teams that get financial incentives can pull up and depart at practically any time, small investments in amenities like urban parks, for example, last for generations. Other lifestyle amenities, such as dog parks, bike lanes or off-road trails for running, cycling, roller blading, casual walking, and even off-road vehicles can have long-lasting benefits for the entire community.
Young People Work Hard and Stay Single Longer
A critical engine of economic growth in the region is young people. While it is important for cities and communities to be accessible for children and families, prosperity in the creative age comes from an environment that satisfies the social interests and lifestyle needs of the creative class. Young workers prosper because they are able to work longer and harder, are more prone to take risks, and have the most up-to-date skills. The average age of marriage has risen about S years in the last generation, and furthermore, college-educated people postpone marriage longer than the national averages. The never-been-married group is the fastest growing category. A climate oriented to young people is also more broadly appealing to the creative class.