Bethesda Among “America’s Leading Creative Class Cities in 2015”

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the creative class
RIchard Florida. Photo by Jere Keys.

Bethesda, Md., is not actually a city; it’s a census-designated place with no clear boundaries. But whatever it is, it’s the spot in the United States with the fourth highest concentration of “creative class” workers, according to CityLab‘s Richard Florida.

The “creative class,” if you didn’t already know, is a controversial socioeconomic designation that corrals “knowledge workers in fields like science and tech; arts, culture, media and entertainment; business and management; and healthcare and education” into one category. In the article, Florida, who coined the term (pretty creative himself!), added “high-paid” to the preceding definition, but that’s not usually part of it. Still, yes, the creative class includes a lot of high-paid people.

In Bethesda, the creative class makes up a whopping 75.1 percent of workforce, putting it fourth behind Cupertino, Calif., Palo Alto, Calif., and McLean, Va.

Florida pushes the idea that the the presence of the creative class is crucial to economic growth, but the logic is iffy at best. Sure, there is a high concentration of wealth wherever there is a high concentration of doctors and engineers, but even Florida eventually had to admit (without really admitting anything) that the wealth of the creative class benefits the creative class itself and does little to help service and blue-collar workers in the area.

I guess my point is, Bethesda is way high up on this list, whatever that means.



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