The world is not so flat

052708_1In 2005 New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote in his bestselling book The World is Flat (also available to members through our library) that location was becoming less and less important as global communications revolutionized how people interact and work. Friedman says we can just as easily innovate and create from a cabin in Idaho as a desk on Park Avenue.

Richard Florida responds in his latest work, Who’s your city, that while technology may make it possible to live anywhere, where a person choses to live does matter. Global creative forces are much spikier than flat with significant economic growth concentrated in large regional mega-cities. So while communication and technology means that engineers could live on a farm in North Dakota, more often than not they will be found in Silicon Valley, Austin, Tokyo, London or one of the other global tech hubs.

This book is divided into two main parts. In the first, Florida expands on his earlier work, The Rise of the Creative Class, explaining how clustering of creativity is making some regions winners while others are losing out. He says that the rising mega-regions are replacing nations as the chief economic growth agents and that these regions have personalities that attract different types of people.

In the second half of the book, Florida lays out a 10-step plan to help the reader decide on a new home. He doesn’t suggest that everyone needs to move to a creative hub like San Francisco or Austin, as local connections and family are sometimes more important to people. But deciding on where to live is one of the three greatest choices a person has to make in his or her life and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if you’re not looking to move, the book provides an interesting study of changing economic and cultural trends.


Senior Information Specialist

More Posts