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The Creative Class May Be Moving--Out of the United States

September 10, 2004
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Two years ago, Carnegie Mellon professor Richard Florida wrote in his book The Rise of the Creative Class that the key to a city's success is whether it is attracting the right talent to handle information-age jobs that require creativity and problem-solving skills. Now, Florida says that some of those top American cities are losing out to overseas locales.

Florida, writing for The Conference Board’s magazine Across the Board, says that Brussels is competing with Boston, Seattle and Austin as a center of creativity. Sydney and Melbourne are ranking up there with Washington, D.C. and New York.

One thing causing top talent to give up on the United States is the frustration of immigrants who have previously attended school or worked in America. Visiting graduate students, Florida says, "now complain of being hounded by the immigration agencies as potential threats to security, and they worry that America is abandoning its standing as an open society."

Florida says that some Americans choose to relocate--whether within the country or to a different country--partly for the job opportunities, but also based on whether they fit in culturally. Gays may leave cities they find intolerant, and scientists may leave places where there are heavy regulations on research. One leading stem-cell researcher left California three years ago for England, according to Wired magazine.

New York, according to Across the Board, could someday lose its place as the sort of de-facto capital of the world. Among the cities that urban planners, economists and futurists predict could be the next "capital of the world" are Shanghai, Bejing, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Jerusalem, Berlin, Budapest, Vancouver, Miami, Singapore and Toronto.

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