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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 6:50 PM
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Expensive cities are killing creativity

Expensive cities are killing creativity

I know the issue has bubbled up from time-to-time in the forum, but I think this piece is the first I've seen that addresses the commodification of creativity and it's effect on the *creative* class.

Quote:
On May 5, musician Patti Smith was asked what advice she had for young people trying to make it in New York City. The long-time New Yorker's take? Get out. "New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling," she said. "New York City has been taken away from you."

Smith was not the only New Yorker to reject the city that had nurtured artists for decades. In October, musician David Byrne argued that "the cultural part of the city - the mind - has been usurped by the top 1 percent". Under Michael Bloomberg, New York's first billionaire mayor, homelessness and rent both soared, making one of the world's centres of creative and intellectual life unliveable for all but the richest.

At play, notes Byrne, was more than a rise in the cost of living. It was a shift in the perceived value of creativity, backed by an assumption that it must derive from and be tied to wealth. "A culture of arrogance, hubris and winner-take-all was established," he recalls. "It wasn't cool to be poor or struggling. The bully was celebrated and cheered."

New York - and San Francisco, London, Paris and other cities where cost of living has skyrocketed - are no longer places where you go to be someone. They are places you live when you are born having arrived. They are, as journalist Simon Kuper puts it, "the vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself".

There are exceptions in these cities, but they tend to survive by serving the rule. The New York Times recently profiled Sitters Studio, a company that sends artists and musicians into the homes of New York's wealthiest families to babysit their children. "The artist-as-babysitter can be seen as a form of patronage," suggests the Times, "in which lawyers, doctors and financiers become latter-day Medicis."

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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:07 PM
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Yawn. The same topic just getting recycled over and over
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:14 PM
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The most expensive cities on earth are also generally the most creative/innovative cities on earth.
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  #4  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:30 PM
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Cheap cities should therefore be hotboxes of creativity. But most often they are not.

Hypothesis failed to be supported.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Yawn. The same topic just getting recycled over and over
Yea this one has been mentioned before. A hypothesis from a cheap, silly woman.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:36 PM
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I love how it ties in St. Louis at the end!
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:56 PM
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Necessity is the mother of invention, and there's no other necessity quite like having to pay rent.

Expensive cities have their downsides, but stifling creativity really isn't one of them.
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 7:59 PM
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Detroit is cheap, move there.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 8:49 PM
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Yes. I heard that artists are flocking to Detroit big time.
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 9:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerman View Post
Yes. I heard that artists are flocking to Detroit big time.
I don't know if that's sarcasm or not, but Detroit is not anything close to a hotbed for artists or the creative class in general.

Doesn't mean that there aren't some, though. There are more than 5 million people living in the metro area.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 9:41 PM
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It (detroit) does have a high concentration of auto and related engineers though--a class of highly educated, very skilled professionals that are probably responsible for more bulk creativity than all of san francisco or new york's so called creative class (these are mostly webpage designers these days anyhow).
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2013, 10:06 PM
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This is happening all over London. The creative cheap rent districts have been replaced just as their creative inhabitants have. The centre is no longer the pluralistic place it once was. Likewise Berlin- when it went bankrupt in the early noughties it was the best thing that happened to it, seeing in a wave of students, artists, designers and writers drawn by the cheap rents in a city centre. Now it's become so hip, it's all being priced out - the nightlife, the start-ups, the boho hangouts and independent stores.

The money continues to flow in, from multinationals and tourists, businessmen, relocating billionaires and tax dodgers, but the actual grass-roots talent is stifled away to somewhere cheaper, or entirely.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 3:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Cheap cities should therefore be hotboxes of creativity. But most often they are not.

Hypothesis failed to be supported.
Cheap cities produce much of the talent in big expensive cities. After college, people get a job in the city. Just because they currently reside in the city working doesn't mean that particular city made them creative.

Don't most artists (film, music, dance etc) originate from everywhere, small towns/suburbs/urban centers and then move to the city for work? They acquire/obtain a talent and then move to where they can make money off of it. Ie: Hollywood, Manhattan
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 3:10 AM
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^of course. but what you are saying is that expensive cities are magnets for creativity. They suck in the talent from the "cheaper seats". I mean, just like Frank Sinatra sings, "If I can make it there, I'll make it...anywhere; It's up to you: New York, New York!"
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 3:25 AM
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This is where Los Angeles should flex its muscle. LA isn't cheap but it's hardly restrictive in the SF and NYC sense, but at the same time LA retains some international clout. You can make it in LA and still find some 900/mo rent. Lots of creative people have gotten over their hang ups about LA's auto centric nature to make this is a fertile place for contemporary art. I just wish our general populace was smart enough to recognize it.
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 9:13 AM
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High income professionals and capitalists who have enough money to survive on investments most often, IMO, are CONSUMERS first. In general, most have decided that the arts- as defined by the 'artistic community' is not worth devoting one's life to. Rather, value often is determined by the exclusivity of possessions.

IMO, despite the internet, that the creative centers will flourish in the 2000 10s and 20s in the big Texas cities, particularly Houston.

Houston has grown huge with little zoning, and, so has become a quilt of different income levels, with distinct neighborhood differences. The city is growing rapidly, particularly the lower middle class, where recent immigrants are rapidly advancing out of the lower class. IMO, this upward mobility fuels cultural optimism, which is the foundation of the energy that the artistic community feeds upon.
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 3:19 PM
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In terms of the UK, other cheaper cities in the North have been internationally renowned for being creative centres, most notable Liverpool particuarly in the 1960's and Manchester most notable in the 80s'/90's. Whilst Hull has just been awarded City of Culture status.

In terms of London, it covers such a vast geographic area that there will always be some cheaper areas for struggling artists away from central areas, whether it be parts of the East End or indeed South London.







Last edited by Pretext; Dec 19, 2013 at 10:19 PM.
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  #18  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2013, 3:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I don't know if that's sarcasm or not, but Detroit is not anything close to a hotbed for artists or the creative class in general.

Doesn't mean that there aren't some, though. There are more than 5 million people living in the metro area.
Sorry Crawford - I was being sarcastic. I think artists still flock to the classical centers of creativity. My wife is an exhibiting artist and knows the areas of activity very well. Every big city has an active art community, but to make it "big time" many feel that you have to go to one of the really active centers. While NYC and Paris are seen as places to "go to" - they are expensive and often perceived as too established for those who want to be at the"cutting edge." Berlin is seen by many artists as the "hot" place to go now - where it is "happening." But it is clear that for established artists, NYC, Paris, London still are the centers for art.
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  #19  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2013, 1:41 PM
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I think it's a crude notion to think that only poor people are creative and more wealthy people are not. As an artist I work daily with wealthy people and they are often some of the most creative people I know, many times that's how they got wealthy in the first place and they have more time because of their wealth to be creative. I am able to be more creative myself as a more established artist, working full time as an artist and also now gallery/store owner than I was when I was having to work other jobs to make ends meet. Also, I know many people who have "ideas" and are creative, but whose ideas and creativity are lackluster, on all ends of the financial spectrum. Plenty of poor people are just as worthless at having new and creative ideas as some rich. Having money or not doesn't mean your ideas or your creativity is going to be any more or less. Having a bit of money however, may actually mean that you were "successfully" creative, and can now afford to be even more creative, afford better "tools/materials" of the trade, and afford more time to spend on being creative.
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  #20  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2013, 2:33 PM
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Actually, while creative types are often on the vanguard of increasing wealth and concomitant economic effects (the plutocratization of New York is arguably a macro effect of the same trend of the artist-driven gentrification) urban plutocratization has led to artist migration to less-expensive cities. In the U.S. this has manifested as a movement of creative types from Frisco to Oakland, for example, or New York to Newark, NJ, and Philadelphia; a UK example is the growth of northern English cities'* artistic scenes as they are being pushed out of London proper.

Detroit really has also become an artistic magnet as well.
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