Gimme a Good Garage
Pastor Mike and I flew to DC earlier this week to talk with economist and urban theorist Richard Florida (Rise of the Creative Class, Flight of the Creative Class) about ways places like churches and museums enable creative capacity in their communities. Richard is on the right above. We met at a coffee shop north of Dupont Circle. It was a non-smoking joint, but that didn’t stop them from serving Mike’s water in a Camel cup as we waited. No better time for a fake smoke break.
Anyway, Richard’s’s creative economy research findings are revelatory. Though not always unexpected, they are frequently disturbing. Two things that caught my eye:
- Cities with a high creative index frequently have a high financial inequality index and a shortage of affordable housing (think San Francisco and Boston). Some highly creative places,like Stockholm, have a better handle on the class divide problem. I need to know more about that. I wonder how much tickets to Sweden are?
- Richard recognizes that all people are creative. A community that empowers only those with financial means while ignoring those without them will pay a high social and economic price.
Turns out Richard’s been asking some of the same questions that we have about the relationship between creativity and spirituality. He feels he is still at the beginning stages of exploring the intersections, but one of his conclusions is that to expand their creative capacity people need choice about and access to resources for fulfilling their creative dreams as opposed to institutionally prescribed handouts.
Mike and I were stunned at how Richard’s findings supported the direction Broadway (or the miracle on 29th Street as I’ve decided to call it) is headed with the Roving Listener, Animators of the Spirit and other projects.
Richard was a LOT of fun. One of the most interesting pieces of advice he had? Make sure there are plenty o’ garages handy. He pointed out that the coolest things happen there—conversations, band formation. He also noted that many of the most significant U.S. innovative companies started in garages (Apple, Disney).
More to come…
(Sorry about the small pics, but I’m lucky to have them. I forgot my camera. Mike had his camera/phone with him.)