Solving the New Urban Crisis With Inclusiveness

Metro regions across the U.S. are experiencing an economic resurgence, but Richard Florida says that growth has come at the expense of inclusiveness.

In his keynote address to attendees of APA's 2017 Policy and Advocacy Conference, Florida — a urban planning professor and author best known for his work on the "creative class" — discusses what he calls the new urban crisis.

For a place to be great, Florida says a city must have three things: technology, talent, and tolerance. But over the last few decades, cities have been focused primarily on growth (attracting technology and a talented workforce). This has fueled a growing gap between the wealthy urban elite and blue-collar workers — disproportionately along racial lines. These workers are being pushed to the peripheries and suburbs and given fewer opportunities.

"We have to switch from winner-take-all urbanism to urbanism for all," Florida said. He believes planners can help "make a narrative where growth and inclusion, growth and equity, are part of the same thing. Because at the end of the day, we cannot grow without inclusiveness."

In the panel portion of the plenary, Florida was joined onstage by Jessica Zimbabwe, director of the Rose Center at the National League of Cities and a partner with APA in the Prosperity Playbook initiative, and Majestic Lane, the deputy chief of neighborhood empowerment for the City of Pittsburgh to discuss strategies cities and planners can adopt to make inclusiveness a focus for future urban growth and prosperity in their communities.

"If it's not for all of us," Lane said, "it's not for any of us."

Richard Florida's presentation

panel discussion

Top image: Richard Florida speaking at the Policy and Advocacy Conference. Photo by Dylan Mullenix, AICP.

About the Author
Mary Hammon is associate editor at APA.

September 25, 2017

By Mary Hammon