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Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life Hardcover – March 11, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Choosing a spouse and choosing a career are important life decisions—but perhaps even more predictive of our all-round personal happiness is our choice of living location, argues Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) in this informative if somewhat dry tome. As globalization makes the world effectively smaller, economic growth concentrates in certain mega-regions of large superstar cities, leaving other regions in the proverbial dust. The areas where we live are also affected by our increasingly mobile culture, housing priorities that change as we age (from starter homes to family-friendly suburbs to empty nests and finally retirement centers) and the global economy. Few of the author's conclusions are new—people gather where they can make friends with others like them, personality types tend to cluster—type A to urban areas, type B to rural—and the book's tone wanders from broad, Friedmanesque discussion of the world economy to home-buying advice as well as statistic-and-theory-heavy text as though unsure of its intended audience. Yet the author opens up a complex, underexamined subject along the way. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"If you think working remotely means where you live--your place--doesn't matter anymore, Florida correctly shows us--with his trademark data and analysis--why you're dead wrong. The book is a superb treatise on the location paradox: the idea that as the world becomes more mobile, the more decisive location becomes...We learn why San Francisco is the best city for young singles; why Washington D.C. is the best place to raise kids; and why New York City is one of the top spots for retirees. Something to look forward to!" -- Michelle Conlin, Business Week

"The world is not flat, and Richard Florida is the man to tell you why where you choose to live is more important than ever. Passionate and thoughtful, this book is an indispensable guide to the way our cities really work. The spirit of Jane Jacobs lives on." -- Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist and author of The Logic of Life

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465003524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465003525
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Stroll on September 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's frustrating to read books like this. Florida's insightful observations are undermined by the number of errors in this book.

Florida melds psychology, sociology, and economics to try to determine the importance of humanity's displacement from rural areas to cities and, now, megalopolises. Some of the ground he covers is well-trod, but he comes up with a number of ideas that I find insightful. I particularly liked his categorization of urban districts into such places as, e.g., strollervilles (wealthy neighborhoods full of two-year-olds being strolled around by nannies while Daddy is at the law firm and Mommy is either working or doing something else), designer digs (e.g., Aspen, La Jolla), ethnic enclaves (think Fremont, Calif.), preservation-burgs, and boho-burbs (chic neighborhoods, often on old streetcar lines, with lively shopping areas; e.g., the Sellwood district and N.W. 23rd Ave. in Portland, Ore.). The Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, Calif., is both a strollerville and a boho-burb. Florida goes beyond the usual accolades one might expect to be conferred on such places to point out their drawbacks. It's very well done.

If only Florida and his publisher had taken better care to vet the manuscript before publishing it! I'd read only a few pages before I started noticing typos: paarticular, New "Dehli" (must have excellent pastrami sandwiches), São "Paolo," Brazil (must have changed its official language to Italian). Then I started noticing factual oddities: Seoul, Korea, described in two different and seemingly mutually exclusive categories; San Francisco described as a place in which single women predominate when the accompanying map shows just the opposite.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Florida does it again. In his bestselling "Rise of the Creative Class", he demonstrated the world's move to a creativity-based economy. But also that this emerging economy is increasingly concentrated in about a dozen cities in the US, and two or three dozen worldwide.

In "Who's Your City", Florida goes in two directions. First he lays the groundwork, expanding on his research of a clustering force of creative people that is making some regions economic and cultural winners. He explores the emerging "Mega-regions" (Bos-Wash, Northern California, Greater London) that are replacing nations as the organizing force of economic activity. He also plays with the idea that cities have personalities that attract different kinds of people.

Then in the last section Florida brings it all together, and shows why the book got its name. He says where we live is one of three major life decisions (along with choosing a mate and a career), and in fact can have a strong effect on the other two. But most people give it little thought, especially compared to love and work.

Then he gets personal. He gives us a 10-step process for deciding on a new home. To his credit, Florida doesn't assume we should all move to creative class Mecca's like Austin or Seattle. He recognizes that for many people, staying near family and friends is paramount, and that the search for experience isn't for everyone. What he does do is say that this can be a conscious decision.

But if you ARE looking for a new place to live, Florida's 10-point list is certainly the best tool for organizing your thinking -- from identifying what's important to you to generating a short list, researching the options and making a final decision.

Even if you're happy with your city and not planning to move, "Who's Your City" is a fascinating study of how the world is changing, from macroeconomics to popular culture. Recommended for everyone.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. R. Florida counters the theories of the The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. At the beginning, he outlines how just 40 Mega-Regions dominate the World economy. While those account for just 17% of the World's population, they generate two thirds of its GDP and over 85% of its innovation (measured by patents and scientific papers). Additionally, the GDP of those Mega-Regions are growing faster. So, the concentration of economic power in those centers is accelerating. He calls this the "clustering effect." Thus, the World is not flat. It is spiky and getting spikier. Risk taking, creative, and talented people represent the "creative class" a concept he introduced in The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. The creative class members have strong incentives to cluster where the action is (the Mega-Regions). He demonstrates how the main economic scale has shifted from Nations to Mega-Regions and MSA level. The first two Mega-Regions (greater Tokyo and the D.C., New York, Boston corridor) both generate GDPs greater than $2 trillion. They would rank as the 3d and 4th largest World economies second only to the U.S. and Japan.

With other eminent social scientists, he studies the allocation of human resources in the U.S. in many ways. He shares the resulting maps of: a) the U.S. Mega-Regions, b) areas by % of college graduates, c) areas by income, d) areas by % belonging to creative class, e) areas by home prices.
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