- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (March 11, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465003524
- ISBN-13: 978-0465003525
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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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
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For most of our history, migration has been involuntary. Yet, as Richard Florida points out, it is one of the most important factors in determining the satisfaction with our life - in fact, it tops the charts! So, are you happy with where you are living? Was the location where you're currently living a conscious choice? Is there a place where you could be happier? And what makes a good community, or a place to live anyway? As you might guess, there are no absolute answers to any of these questions. But, there are good answers for each stage of your life.
This book provides a great framework to get you to think about all of these questions within the context of your own life. As they say, location, location, location. While I "understood" this implicitly, I don't think I appreciated the importance of this observation until I've read this book. Highly recommend it. It just might change your life, by changing where or how you live.
In the opening chapter, Florida positions his book as advice, "I have structured my advice around three key ideas..." These three ideas end up not being the cohesive thread we are lead to believe, in the book's introduction, they will be. One of Florida's "key" ideas is a clear repudiation of those espoused in the popular book "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman, "Despite all the hype...over the 'flat world', place is more important to the global economy than ever before." Florida posits that the world is in fact becoming increasingly "spiky", or concentrated into a few dozen mega-regions, where all creative talent and wealth creation is collecting and snowballing. But the majority of the book that follows seems less an elucidation of these three ideas as a way to offer advice, and more a bunch of ideas, facts, statistics, and citations.
In the heart of the book Florida bounces from references to city planning visionary Jane Jacobs to psychologists Martin Seligman and Abraham Maslow to everything in between, not within the context of a cohesive thread, but rather with the juvenile sense that more facts, despite their efficiency and relevancy, strengthen an argument. Florida attempts to make up for a lack of cutting purport with manic energy. Florida has written a book that is sure to be cited, re-tweeted, and talked about often; but this facet of the book's construction compromises the impact of its central arguments.
In the concluding chapter, suddenly the book that for 280 pages has veered from being anything resembling a self-help book, and has been more an idea biography, is now suddenly, frustratingly reshaped as a "ten step" guide. We are suddenly being sold a "basic framework, some real-world tools, and a ten step plan."
Despite my frustrations with this book's lack of a focus or well-crafted narrative, I read it in a week's time, found it entertaining, and at many moments provocative. I was invigorated by some of its insights. Many of these ideas helped be better understand the cities in which I have chosen to live, why I may have made those decisions, why others may have decided to live where they do, and how shifting demographics are impacting immigration patterns and the character of cities, suburbs, and mega regions.
Place is indeed becoming less and less a function of nation states; it is becoming divided along far more elusive lines. Florida's tireless energy is both his blessing and his curse: up to the might of tackling such a big idea, but constantly undermining the tautness of his argument.
This book explores all those topics and also ties them into the changes in our world. Along the way, you may find some surprises about which cities and neighborhoods are likely to make you feel better. I felt affirmed about my location and my choice of lifestyle because my town has a reputation for not being particularly exciting. However, it hasn't suffered from the real estate spikes of many larger cities, has relatively safe neighborhoods and is family friendly.
This backs up what the author notes about cities being good for certain stages of life. As my spouse and I age perhaps another city will suit us better, a point made in the various chapters of the book. The author actually explores cities that work for young couples as well as those which are good for empty nesters or retirees.
If there is a weakness here, it is a lack of statistical information in some sections. Even so, you don't have to do much research to back up the points made in the book. While people often believe finding true love or getting the right job is vital to happiness, all too few discount the importance of PLACE, according to this author. I agree.
Place is important. A small example from our own life: we once moved from a neighborhood without sidewalks to one with sidewalks. The distance between the two neighborhoods? About a mile or two. The difference in our happiness? It made a HUGE difference. Our kids could ride their bikes on those sidewalks instead of the streets (it helped that the streets didn't have blind curves like our old street did). We could stroll around the block and not have to keep moving to the side every time a car passed. We even got a chance to meet more neighbors who were also strolling along the sidewalks.
If a small thing like sidewalks can affect one's happiness and quality of life, then one can only imagine how an entire city - its cost of living, air quality, social groups and educational systems - can make or break perceived happiness levels.
Subtopics in this book are equally engaging. Some are controversial or startling but if you are about to start out in life, have just graduated college or are thinking of any major life change, please read this book. It could help you make the right choice about where to live!