‘The New Urban Crisis”

Following his 2002 work ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’, urbanist Richard Florida has published a new piece of research examining the causes of urban inequality. He identifies five dimensions to this: (1) a runaway lead by ‘superstar cities’, which take a disproportionate share of high value industry, (2) unaffordability of superstar cities, in part due to property speculation, (3) a shrinking middle class, leading to polarisation of neighbourhoods, (4) displacement from the core, leading to suburban poverty, and (5) urbanisation without growth in developing countries, leading to worse living conditions. He advocates densification to take advantage of high performing clusters and the reform of zoning and tax policies to ensure that economic benefits are shared. However, for now the investment message is clear: successful clusters will continue to snowball.