‘Creative class’ debunked?

The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting op-ed piece yesterday by a researcher who claimed cities are putting their eggs in the wrong basket by trying to attract young single professionals with a “brew-latte-and-they-will-come-approach.”

Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow at Chapman University, said job growth is stronger in cities like Charlotte, N.C., and Houston because they’re attracting young, educated families. These people are twice as likely to climb into the top 20 percent of income earners and their incomes are rising much faster than the national average, Kotkin argued. Thus, they are better able to build local economies.

“The evidence … suggests that the obsession with luring young singles to cities is misplaced,” Kotkin said.

He went on to say that families are more interested in plenty of economic opportunities, affordable housing and family-friendly environments that allow parents to spend more time with their children.

Cities that thrive will find ways to keep families from fleeing to the suburbs, Kotkin maintained. Rather than emphasizing bars, restaurants and clubs, he said, that means building social fabric by encouraging schools, churches and civic organizations, and making sure there are plenty of good parks.

Do you agree?

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