In my view, Richard Florida is essentially a snake-oil salesman and I’m in pretty good company in holding that opinion. Alec MacGillis at the New Republic had a nice post recently about Florida’s, shall we put it charitably, evolving views on Detroit’s prospects. I was tipped off to MacGillis by Columbia Journalism Review’s Anna Clark, who was one of Craig Fahle’s guests on his July 31 broadcast. Clark cited MacGillis as one of the better national commentators on the Detroit bankruptcy.
MacGillis points to Jeff Wattrick’s even blunter assessment of Florida. It’s also worth a read, if only for the delightful opening paragraphs:
Jane Jacobs was to urbanism what St. Thomas Aquinas was to theology. Jacobs provided urbanism, just as Aquinas did for Catholicism, a fresh intellectual rigor. Her work gave the world the idea that cities are the fundamental economic and social construct of civilization.
With that comparison in mind, Richard Florida is to Jacobs as Robert Tilton (aka “the farting preacher”) is to Aquinas. Florida preaches feel-good urbanism, a prosperity hustle for materially comfortable, city-dwelling believers seeking validation for their worldview.
I find nothing more refreshing than a good take-down of Florida, who has built a lucrative career out of selling his nonsense to a mostly credulous media.