If you aren't part of the current American discussion, it is important that you know of the continuing debate that has been going on between Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin over the past 15 years.
This article will give you a good summary of the debate as well as the data that show why Richard Florida's thesis about the 'creative class' has not been accurate.
Cities and towns throughout America have adopted the Florida model based on a 'creative class' of people who should be attracted to a declining town. Richard Florida has argued that such a class of people can restore vitality and growth.
It turns out that this is not the case. A city government appeal to the 'creative class' can bring people who will raise rents and drive out the middle class.
Kotkin has pointed out the importance of having a business friendly environment and how that is sufficient to attract new business and vitality.
My own perspective on this is different.
I have looked at towns and cities that are declining and at the very few towns that have seen a revival. Nearly all declining towns (except those dependent on farming) have forced businesses to leave because of strong unions. Unions have often come to control the political process. That means death for business that means death for that urban area.
Neither Kotkin nor Florida have made the point that all of America is about to face a renewal of traditional businesses because we have abundant natural gas. Both should recognize this. All of us should recognize this.
When it comes to what creates new businesses I am the living authority. I have had more to do with the creation of small businesses than any other living being. Read the history of the Briarpatch.
I would identify three elements in the creation of new business:
*Businesses grow and thrive in poor run down neighborhoods. In environments where the rigidity of the social structure is at a minimum. But safe. Places where the police and government inspectors are ineffective.
*They thrive particularly in societies that accept very weird people.
*Lastly new businesses thrive in areas where people are cooperative. That often means young but it can mean cooperative in other meanings of the word. That is my addition to the Florida-Kotkin debate.