Is the ‘creative class’ driving green building?
Worldchanger Jamais Cascio has a long, linktastic post about Richard Florida and his argument that there is an identifiable “creative class” of mobile workers that values, well, urbanism: a high quality of life, culture diversity and tolerance, thick labor markets, etc.
I live in Pittsburgh, where Florida got his start, so I’m well acquainted with his ideas and his, ahem, penchant for self-publicity. Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t actually delve into the relationship between the environment and thriving cities; instead he uses a generalized quality of life measure of somewhat dubious reliability (it’s hard to quantify this stuff).
So I’m glad that Jamais is looking beyond Florida’s initial focus and talking about sustainability and the prospect that the “creative class is taking on a distinctly Viridian shade of green.” Jamais looks at the top cities on Florida’s creative index and wonders if it’s the creative class that’s driving the growth of LEED-certified green buildings. From my experience here in Pittsburgh, where the city recently unveiled a massive and beautiful LEED-certified convention center, it’s actually the presence of several likeminded progressive foundations that has been decisive in these early years. The irony is that the wealth built up during Pittsburgh’s famous period of rapid industrial growth–which led to Pittsburgh’s equally-famous moniker as the “Smoky City”–is now the primary catalyst for a green renaissance.