Day 25- Cities drown first

Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

Hip Cities, from Bilbao to Pittsburgh

The Guggenheim Bilbao cos 132 million euros to build. The plan was widely criticized by locals who couldn’t understand why the government would spend so much money on a museum when there were so many other needs and priorities. “The feasibility survey carried out estimated that 400,000 visitors per year would be required to justify the investment,” recalls Ibon. Nowadays, the average is about a million visitors per year. The economic activity induced directly or indirectly by the museum has created about four thousand jobs, about the same as the most important shipbuilding yard in the city during its heyday. The infrastructure built to transform the city — using Basque, Spanish, and European Union Funding — revolved around the new, sparking downtown area. However, “these figures don’t take into account other factors such as the positive publicity that this action brought to the city, or its effect to gain other investments,” The museum’s success also contributed to the “recovery of Bilbao’s self-esteem.”

Gays and bohemians

When people think of an urban creative hub, what comes to mind is usually Silicon Valley or Manhattan’s Silicon Alley. Global cities like San Francisco and New York City play a different role in the economy, “doing the work of globalization,” to borrow from sociologist Sakia Sassen’s pathbreaking research on the subject. They are magnets for the so-called creative class, a term proposed by University of Toronto professor and best-selling author Richard Florida to capture the phenomenon of the knowledge professionals from scientists and engineers to architects, articles, and designers. Cities compete with one another to attract and retain them. The creative class, in turn, attracts all manner of business, in a virtuous cycle. Most crucially, many cities have become hubs and innovations. Nowadays, the creative class accounts for about one-third of the American workforce, a proportion expected to reach 50 percent by 2030. Creative workers “draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems” Florida summarizes what it takes for a city to develop a dynamic creative class with his concept of “the three T’s: talent, tolerance, and technology.

2030 by Mauro.F.Guillen: 143–149

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