Florida, Richard (L.) 1957-
FLORIDA, Richard (L.) 1957-
PERSONAL: Born November 26, 1957, in Newark, NJ; son of Louis and Eleanor (De Cicco) Florida; married Joye-Nathalie Davis. Education: Rutgers University, B.A., 1979; graduate study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Columbia University, Ph.D., 1986.
ADDRESSES: Home—411 South Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Office—J. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie-Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, associate professor of public policy and management at J. John Heinz III School of Urban and Public Affairs and faculty member of department of engineering and public policy, 1987—. Also taught at Ohio State University. Consultant to multinational corporations and government agencies.
AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Breakthrough Illusion: Corporate America's Failure to Move from Innovation to Mass Production, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1990.
Industrializing Knowledge: University-Industry Linkages in Japan and the United States, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Coauthor or editor of other books. Contributor of articles to scholarly journals and trade periodicals. North American editor, Regional Studies.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Florida once told CA: "My main research interests revolve around foreign direct investment in U.S. manufacturing, the Japanese 'transplant' manufacturers and U.S.-Japan joint ventures, technological innovation, industrial competitiveness, venture capital, and the structure and organization of regional innovation complexes such as Silicon Valley and the Route 128 area around Boston. I spent several years working closely with state, regional, and national officials to develop new directions for industrial, technological, and economic development policy, especially to revitalize the Rust Belt states."
Florida and coauthor Martin Kenney published Beyond Mass Production: The Japanese System and Its Transfer to the United States in 1994. This study illustrates the commercial and cultural impact of the arrival of Japanese "transplant" factories in the 1980s. In the authors' view, Japan "is at the centre of an epoch-making new model of technology, work and production organisation that is now being transferred to the United States and elsewhere around the globe," according to Steven Tolliday in Business History. Japanese-style labor practices include work teams, job rotation, and "multiskilling," as well as "quality control and quality circles, low management hierarchies and management by walking around," in the words of Economic Geography contributor Richard Walker.
In the first part of Mass Production Florida and Kenney define the Japanese industrial system; in Tolliday's opinion, "they establish a clear case that information and skills flow relatively freely in the Japanese system and that this is central to Japanese success." However, the critic added, "conduits for these flows . . . are only sketchily mapped out." To Tolliver, "the lack of definition" underlies the authors' argument, that the Japanese system has been successfully integrated into the U.S. factory culture. Walker similarly had some doubts about Florida and Kenney's argument, noting that the authors don't acknowledge the flaws in Japan's system, but overall deemed Beyond Mass Production "an exceedingly good book and a vital contribution to the debates over the changing face of industry and the global economy in the late twentieth century."
In 2002's The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life, Florida theorizes that the U.S. cities enjoying the most economic growth are the ones welcoming the artistic and the offbeat. He adds that the creative class comprises gays and "bohemians" such as authors, painters, musicians, computer programmers, and entrepreneurs. "Creativity has come to be valued," Florida writes, "because new technologies, new industries, new wealth and all other good economic things flow from it."
Florida is not the first economist to make the case for creativity enhancing a community, noted Emily Eakin in her New York Times Book Review article. But where the author "adds a new twist . . . is to argue that while the creative class is unquestionably a blessing to the economy as a whole, at the regional level the picture is hardly so rosy." Indeed, Florida takes to task members of the creative elite who enter a city and leave over-gentrification in their wake. "The rise of the creative class, Florida says, not only leaves the endemic injustices of American life untouched, it probably makes them worse," Adweek columnist Debra Goldman commented.
For those cities willing to embrace a creative class, the community must be willing to welcome creative types who seek "tolerant environments and diverse populations as well as good jobs," as Eakin explained. "In essence, Florida's advice is what any savvy consultant might tell a brand trying to boost market share: Attract lots of young people, project an image of authenticity, and generate buzz," remarked Goldman. "It works for TV networks, soft drinks and cars. Why not cities?" Using his own creativity index, Florida determines the top-five larger U.S. cities that have benefitted from the creative class: San Francisco, Austin, Texas; San Diego, Boston, and Seattle. At the bottom of Florida's list are Buffalo, New York; Las Vegas; Norfolk, Virginia; and Memphis.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Florida, Richard, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Adweek, July 15, 2002, Debra Goldman, "Consumer Republic," p. 16.
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Mary Whaley, review of The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life, p. 1651.
Business History, October, 1994, Steven Tolliday, review of Beyond Mass Production: The Japanese System and Its Transfer to the United States, p. 170.
Choice, July-August, 1993, J. W. Leonard, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 1812.
Crain's New York Business, November 20, 2000, Alice Lipowicz, "Do Large Gay Populations Help Build Tech Centers?," p. 22.
Economic Geography, January, 1994, Richard Walter, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 76.
Journal of Asian Studies, February, 1994, Koji Taira, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 212.
Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, June, 1994, Carl Dassbach, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 171.
Journal of Japanese Studies, winter, 1995, Michael Smitka, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 167.
New York Times, June 1, 2002, Emily Eakin, "The Cities and Their New Elite," p. A15.
Planning, July, 2002, Philip Langdon, "The Coming of the Creative Class," p. 22.
Times Higher Education Supplement, January 28, 1994, Tom Kemp, review of Beyond Mass Production, p. 25.
Richard Florida Web Site,http://www2.heinz.cmu.edu/ (September 7, 2002).*