Joe Patti and Drew McManus post about Portland’s new diversity goals and they (as well as commenters) bring up a ton of controversial issues regarding the implementation of such an initiative. In my Portland is where young people go to retire post, I mentioned some problems with the idea of giving arts organizations superficial facelifts that seems to coincidentally come on the tail end of Richard Florida’s influential ideas regarding his Creative Class and the types of environments that purportedly draw these budding [and younger] entrepreneurial types to various regions (including Portland).
The problem is, as I mention in my post, most of those regions that Florida ranks high on his metric for economic growth seem to be doing poorly. Funding the amenities that draw in the Creative Class just hasn’t seemed to be enough to actually promote economic prosperity. Another side effect of the effort to attract this kind of demographic is particularly relevant to the diversity issue. Creating an attractive environment for the Creative Class is making many of the neighborhoods far too expensive for young families:
Portland is one of the nation’s top draws for the kind of educated, self-starting urbanites that midsize cities are competing to attract. But as these cities are remodeled to match the tastes of people living well in neighborhoods that were nearly abandoned a generation ago, they are struggling to hold on to enough children to keep schools running and parks alive with young voices.
Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city – dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary – are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.