The Washington Post: Occupational segments are shaping U.S. city neighborhoods

Map from “The Divided City: and the Shape of The New Metropolis”

The Washington Post reports about a new analysis on how the “creative” occupations appears to be the new ruling class, steering where everyone else can afford to live.

Professor and urbanist Richard Florida and fellow researchers from the Martin Prosperity Institute mapped the occupations of Americans, versus where they lived.  Florida is responsible for coining “the creative class” a decade ago.

Their analysis separates workers into three classes, derived from Florida’s research: the “creative class” of knowledge workers who make up about a third of the U.S. workforce (people in advertising, business, education, the arts, etc.); the “service class,” which makes up the largest and fastest growing sector of the economy (people in retail, food service, clerical jobs); and the “working class,” where blue-collar jobs in industries like manufacturing have been disappearing (this also includes construction and transportation).

…these maps show that those workers tend to cluster in the same communities. About three-quarters of the region’s “creative class” lives in a census tract where their neighbors are primarily creative-class workers, too. That means your lawyers, doctors, journalists and lobbyists live together in parts of town far from the people who pour their coffee.

This also means that their evolving preferences — to live downtown, or close to the red line, or around Rock Creek Park — shape the city for everyone else.

New York Map from “The Divided City…”

And from the report itself:

The study identifies four key location factors that shape the class divided city and metropolis, each of which turns on the locational imperatives of the creative class:

  • Urban Centers: The concentration of affluent creative class populations in and around central business districts and urban centers, especially in larger and more congested metro areas.
  • Transit: The clustering of more affluent creative class populations around transit hubs, subway, cable car and rail lines.
  • Knowledge Institutions: The clustering of the creative class around research universities and knowledge based institutions.
  • Natural Amenities: The clustering of creative class populations around areas of natural amenity, especially coastlines and waterfront locations.
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