The point of interest in the reading is that businesses, communities, and culture are changing because a new generation of adults is shaping cities and economies in ways that are different from their predecessors. This new generation is called the “creative class”, an adequate name because a lot of “creative class” people are liberal young adults who are rather countercultural and artistic. Unlike their parents, they don’t look for corporate-like jobs with prestige in cities with malls and sports franchises. They look for a diverse, countercultural, and artistic scene, with the intent of building and nourishing a unique culture.
The author’s research opposes a lot of old theories on economy. Such theories are that people primarily move because of “jobs” and that geography is no longer relevant because of the Internet. Since we can talk to anyone across the globe, it shouldn’t matter where we live, right? No. While we can communicate with people online, it’s nowhere near as intimate as being physically with another person. We can meet all sorts of new people and form online groups, but we truly flourish and benefit from each other in a physical place.
I felt the author spoke to me in some important ways. Most of the “creative class” he talks about is made of millennials, Generation Y and Z kids, who are looking for something more fulfilling than the careers their parents had. What they’re looking for is not so much a place to be “unique” or “authentic”, so much as to thrive as a creative being, which entails finding a community of companions who will share your interests. That way, creative people find fulfillment and become happy.
As a member of the “creative class” (if you pardon me presuming to be one), I face similar questions and struggles about my future. I went to Bard College, one of the most liberal schools in America, to get Bachelors in Music. My goal at the time was to learn to compose music for my own benefit, because I didn’t have any clear idea of what “jobs” I wanted. I attend Fordham University right now, striving for a Masters in Urban Studies, for a compromise of many different reasons. I am passionate about politics and social justice, and I really want to make a change. While I still want to do my own writing and music, I feel Urban Studies is more relevant for me at the moment, and that I will learn valuable information about politics, activism, research, and history.
Notice how little I think about the things such as salary, reputation, or social prestige. Don’t get me wrong. Making a living is on the back of my mind. It’s even one of the reasons I want to Major in Urban Studies, because while being a professor or social worker is not a prestigious job it is a profession. Like my fellow millenials, my reasons focus more on things such as creativity, education, and activism. These are new realms (from a professional standpoint), with a lot of potential. At the same time the old prestigious jobs of being a doctor or a lawyer aren’t as secure as they used to be, and the old motivations of pursuing such jobs are going out. I’m just bringing up my life story because what I’m dealing with right now is similar to what a lot of young adults like me are grappling with, which the author of Development Politics and Urban Culture writes about.