The Good News – According to Richard Florida

In a recent article for The Atlantic, famed Urbanist Richard Florida comments:

“It’s abundantly clear that the economic crisis and Great Reset have caused mobility, which has long been a hallmark of the American economy, to stall, making it harder for both individual workers and local economies to adjust to new economic conditions. This has affected all types of Americans, including young, college-educated ones. And, according to Frey’s research, it is shaping a noticeable and significant shift in the landscape of migration and talent flows.

It appears to have stymied or at least slowed the long-running flow of people, including younger people and college grads into the Sunbelt, tilted the playing field of talent attraction toward larger cities and metros, and reinforced the position of tech centers and quality-of-place destinations like Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Seattle, the Bay Area, Denver and Portland, among others. But one of the subtler and perhaps more important trends brought on by the Great Reset is the improved and improving performance of older Rustbelt metros from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo to Milwaukee and St. Louis, which appear to have turned the tide in terms of their ability to attract and retain young adults and college grads.”

While I agree with Mr. Florida in the fact that, yes, cities such as Cleveland have come out of the recession with a sense of momentum in terms of a growing, passionate, younger base (the positive side of a really abysmal few years, or in our city’s case, few decades) I don’t believe that it’s only to do with lack of mobility.  I assume he’s commenting on the fact that many who have lost their jobs have either returned home, stayed in areas where housing is more affordable, or haven’t been able to move to areas where “the grass is greener.”  However, with all due respect, I see people returning to Rustbelt cities for many other reasons.  A common thread being this need to create.  To build.  To be a part of something.

As I’ve blogged about before – you can do that here.  Just in the last few weeks there has been some great coverage in the Cleveland Plain Dealer of younger entrepreneurs and the business that they’re launching here in town.  In case you missed them:

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.  There are a lot of exciting things happening here that stem from the passion of younger folks like those mentioned above and others who believe that cities like Cleveland don’t just have the potential to be something great, but that they already are.