Richard Florida's High-class Glasses

Ann Daly

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When Richard Florida took the mainstage at last year's Americans for the Arts conference in Portland, Oregon, the woman next to me—we had never met—leaned in with an immediate response. “Hubba-hubba,” she murmured in my direction. The Carnegie-Mellon University professor of economic development had come a long way since the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class in June 2002. On the back flap of the book, the author's photo portrayed a typical academic—a bit slouchy, in a dark polo shirt and blue jeans (albeit strategically positioned in front of an abstract painting). But here in the Hilton ballroom, the guru of the creative class was costumed as an impeccably groomed and fashionable figure.