Research

New York as a Global Creative Hub: A Competitive Analysis of Four Theories on World Cities

Elizabeth Currid University of Southern California

Economic Development Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 4, 330-350 (2006)

How New York City has maintained its position atop the global urban hierarchy as a leading player in the world and national economy is part of the broader discussion on why cities grow and why some remain at the top of the heap decade on decade. There are several dominant theories explaining New York City’s success, most notably those that argue the city is a center of command and control or managerial elite and is a global hub of finance and its related services. Yet an emerging framework explaining New York City’s dominant position argues for the importance of global creative centers. From an occupational analysis of these competing hypotheses emerges a picture of New York City as a great bastion of creativity and cultural and artistic production. These results provide a unique perspective on New York City’s position in the world hierarchy of cities and new opportunities for economic development strategies.

Key Words: creativity • New York City • global cities • world cities • economic development

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There goes the metro: how and why bohemians, artists and gays affect regional housing value

Journal of Economic Geography Advance Access published July 8, 2009

Richard Florida – *Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto,
Canada. email 5florida@rotman.utoronto.ca4

and Charlotta Mellander – Prosperity Institute of Scandinavia, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden. email
5charlotta.mellander@jibs.se4

Abstract
It is often conjectured that artistic, bohemian and gay populations increase housing
values in the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside. But these groups
are small, and the evidence of their effect on housing prices is anecdotal and limited.
We argue that artists, bohemians and gays affect housing values through two kinds
of mechanisms: an aesthetic-amenity premium; and a tolerance or open culture
premium. To examine this, we introduce a combined measure of bohemian and gay
populations—the Bohemian-Gay Index. We conduct statistical analyses to test the
performance of this measure against other variables expected to affect housing
values—income, wages, technology and human capital. The findings indicate that
the Bohemian-Gay Index has a substantial direct relation with housing values across
all permutations of the model and across all region sizes. It remains positive and
significant alongside variables for regional income, wages, technology and human
capital. The Bohemian-Gay Index also has a substantial direct correlation with other
key variables, particularly income, indicating an additional indirect effect on housing
values.
Keywords: Housing, human capital, creative class, income, gay, artistic, bohemian

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The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities

Christopher R. Berry, Edward L. Glaeser National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 11617*
September 2005

Abstract Over the past 30 years, the share of adult populations with college degrees increased more in cities with higher initial schooling levels than in initially less educated places. This tendency appears to be driven by shifts in labor demand as there is an increasing wage premium for skilled people working in skilled cities. In this paper, we present a model where the clustering of skilled people in metropolitan areas is driven by the tendency of skilled entrepreneurs to innovate in ways that employ other skilled people and by the elasticity of housing supply.

*Published: Berry, Christopher and Edward L. Glaeser. “The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities.” Regional Science 84, 3 (2005): 407-444

This paper originated at the A Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government of the John F. Kennedy School of Government , Harvard University. A pdf of this paper can be downloaded here.

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Michael Storper* and Allen J. Scott** *Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics; Master of Public Affairs, Sciences Po, Paris; School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles.
**Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
November 2008
Abstract
Do jobs follow people or do people follow jobs? A number of currently prominent approaches to urbanization respond to this question by privileging the role of individual locational choice in response to amenity values as the motor of contemporary urban growth. Amenities, it is often said, have an especially potent effect on the migration patterns of individuals endowed with high levels of human capital. However, these approaches raise many unanswered questions. Theories that describe urban growth as a response to movements of people in search of consumer or lifestyle preferences can be questioned on the grounds of their assumptions about human behavior, as well as their silence in regard to the geographical dynamics of production and work. We argue that a more effective line of explanation must relate urban growth directly to the economic geography of production and must explicitly deal with the complex recursive interactions between the location of firms and the movements of labor. In this context, we also offer a reinterpretation of the currently fashionable notions of ‘creativity’ and the role of skilled labor in cities.
Keywords: urban growth, amenities, creativity, human capital, migration, agglomeration, Sunbelt, Rustbelt, urbanization,

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America’s educated elite is clustering in a few cities— and leaving the rest of the country behind

by Richard Florida, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2006

Today, a demographic realignment that may prove just as significant is under way: the mass relocation of highly skilled, highly educated, and highly paid Americans to a relatively small number of metropolitan regions, and a corresponding exodus of the traditional lower and middle classes from these same places. Such geographic sorting of people by economic potential, on this scale, is unprecedented. I call it the “means migration.”
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The Artistic Dividend: Urban Artistic Specialisation and Economic Development Implications

Ann Markusen Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 S. 19th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA, markusen@umn.edu//

Greg Schrock Centre for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois Chicago, 322 S. Green Street, Chicago, IL 60607-3555, USA, gschro2@uic.edu/

ABSTRACT Over the past two decades, urban and regional policy-makers have increasingly looked to the arts and culture as an economic panacea, especially for the older urban core. The arts’ regional economic contribution is generally measured by totalling the revenue of larger arts organisations, associated expenditures by patrons and multiplier effects. This approach underestimates the contributions of creative artists to a regional economy, because of high rates of self-employment and direct export activity, because artists’ work enhances the design, production and marketing of products and services in other sectors and because artists induce innovation on the part of suppliers. Artists create import-substituting entertainment options for regional consumers and spend large shares of their own incomes on local arts output. The paper takes a labour-centred view of the arts economy, hypothesising that many artists choose a locale in which to work, often without regard to particular employers but in response to a nurturing artistic and patron community, amenities and affordable cost of living. Because evidence on such economic impacts and location calculus is impossible to document directly, the distribution of artists across the largest US metropolitan areas is used as a proxy, using data from the PUMS for 1980, 1990 and 2000. It is found that artists sort themselves out among American cities in irregular fashion, not closely related to either size or growth rates. The paper further explores variations in the definition of artist, the relationship between artistic occupation and industry, and differentials in artists’ self-employment rates and earnings across cities. It is concluded that artists comprise a relatively footloose group that can serve as a target of regional and local economic development policy; the components of such a policy are outlined.

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The Artistic Dividend: Urban Artistic Specialisation and Economic Development Implications

Ann Markusen and Greg Schrock,

Urban Studies, Vol. 43, No. 10, 1661 – 1686, September 2006

Summary:   Over the past two decades, urban and regional policy-makers have increasingly looked
to the arts and culture as an economic panacea, especially for the older urban core. The arts’
regional economic contribution is generally measured by totalling the revenue of larger arts
organisations, associated expenditures by patrons and multiplier effects. This approach
underestimates the contributions of creative artists to a regional economy, because of high rates
of self-employment and direct export activity, because artists’ work enhances the design,
production and marketing of products and services in other sectors and because artists induce
innovation on the part of suppliers. Artists create import-substituting entertainment options for
regional consumers and spend large shares of their own incomes on local arts output. The paper
takes a labour-centred view of the arts economy, hypothesising that many artists choose a locale
in which to work, often without regard to particular employers but in response to a nurturing
artistic and patron community, amenities and affordable cost of living. Because evidence on such
economic impacts and location calculus is impossible to document directly, the distribution of
artists across the largest US metropolitan areas is used as a proxy, using data from the PUMS
for 1980, 1990 and 2000. It is found that artists sort themselves out among American cities in
irregular fashion, not closely related to either size or growth rates. The paper further explores
variations in the definition of artist, the relationship between artistic occupation and industry,
and differentials in artists’ self-employment rates and earnings across cities. It is concluded that
artists comprise a relatively footloose group that can serve as a target of regional and local
economic development policy; the components of such a policy are outlined.

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Jesse M. Shapiro (University of Chicago)
The Review of Economics and Statistics
May 2006, Vol. 88, No. 2, Pages 324-335

Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract

From 1940 to 1990, a 10% increase in a metropolitan area’s concentration of college-educated residents was associated with a 0.8% increase in subsequent employment growth. Instrumental variables estimates support a causal relationship between college graduates and employment growth, but show no evidence of an effect of high school graduates. Using data on growth in wages, rents, and house values, I calibrate a neoclassical city growth model and find that roughly 60% of the employment growth effect of college graduates is due to enhanced productivity growth, the rest being caused by growth in the quality of life. This finding contrasts with the common argument that human capital generates employment growth in urban areas solely through changes in productivity.

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