Smart Cities

Is Richard Florida right? We've written repeatedly about his idea that cities will thrive if they attract the best and the brightest, creating comfy havens ...
by | April 11, 2006

Is Richard Florida right? We've written repeatedly about his idea that cities will thrive if they attract the best and the brightest, creating comfy havens for the well-educated and hip. Some are skeptical, noting that cities with rapid recent job growth -- such as Oklahoma City and Las Vegas -- are hardly swankster meccas.

The Associated Press has just done an analysis of census data to determine that the cities that have the highest proportion of college graduates are, in fact, the ones that are flourishing. Seattle has the most, followed by San Francisco, Raleigh, Washington and Austin.

Compare that to struggling cities that retain relatively few college grads, such as Cleveland, Newark and Detroit.

"The largest predictor of economic well-being in cities is the percent of college graduates," Ned Hill, professor of economic development at Cleveland State University, told the AP. To do well, he said, cities must be attractive to educated people.

In other words, he agrees with Florida.