In 2002, social scientist Richard Florida popularized the idea that the so-called creative class would be the source of a new era of urban renewal. While the jury’s still out on whether Florida’s theory really does help improve the economic future of a city, it seems that Baltimore is increasingly popular with creative types.
According to Florida’s analysis, Baltimore is the seventh most popular city for the creative class, with nearly 35 percent of the workforce comprising “creative” jobs–that is, knowledge-based workers (as opposed to those employed in traditional blue collar or service industry jobs). Other cities making the top 10 include D.C., San Jose (home of Silicon Valley), San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Austin. Baltimore’s share of creatives has grown from the last time Florida performed his analysis, in 2000.
Florida is generally positive on Baltimore, despite the city’s recent (and highly publicized struggles). Back in May, he wrote an article pointing out how the city has weathered the transition away from an industrial economy better than most: Baltimore “has more in common with knowledge hubs like San Francisco, the Silicon Valley, Boston, and Washington, D.C., than with Detroit, Cleveland or even Pittsburgh,” Florida wrote — but he also pointed out that “The city and region are sharply divided into areas of racially concentrated poverty and of racially concentrated affluence.” In other words, not everyone benefits equally from the city’s creative renaissance.