Why cities without gays or rock bands are losing the economic development race


I am one of those who mark lots of emails with a red flag to read them quietly in another occasion. Today, Sunday, I’ve sat to check all those emails with interesting articles, links, presentations, etc. that my colleagues and friends usually send me. Among all of them, one @susanaolivera sent me some time ago specially caught my attention and I started trying to find out more. It is an interesting concept I tried to summarize in a post.

Creativity, innovation and gay index

A part of the long term economic potential of a region can be measured through the creativity rate. That rate is calculated based in 4 factors:

  1. The creativity index, the percentage of people in creative and innovative positions over the total amount of workers.
  2. The amount of presence of high technology industry.
  3. The innovation index, measured as the number of patents registered per capita.
  4. The diversity index, measured by the “gay index” that measures the representation of gay couples in a zone among the total number of population.

The gay rate is used as a guide to know how open minded a city, population or area is to accept different kind of people or ideas. According to these studies made in the United States, the gay rate showed it could predict correctly the presence and growth of high technology industry.

3 T’s model

These 4 factors can be summed up as the innovation and economic growth’s 3 T’s model: Talent, Technology and Tolerance.

Cities rank by creativity index

The father of this concept is Richard Florida, author, among others, of the book “The rise of the creative class and how it’s transforming work”. His study of the year 2000 put San Francisco, Austin, San Diego and Boston in the top 3 of the American cities with the highest rate of creativity (sharing the last 2 the third place). And if we talk about states, the first ones on the ranking and in order are Massachusetts, California and New York.sto). Y si hablamos de estados, los primeros del ranking y por orden, son Massachusetts, California y Nueva York.

There is an article written by Richard Florida about this subject and whose title I love: “The height of the creative class. Why cities without gays or rock bands are losing the economic development race”

After reading the results of the study in the United States, it’s been inevitable to think in which place would Spain be and in it, its cities. I’ve found a study (about USA and the European Union) done by Pablo Coto Millán from the Universidad de Cantabria in 2009 according to which Sweden, USA, Finland and Netherlands occupy the top 4 (in that order) and in which Spain is placed the 11th, sharing place with Ireland and ahead from Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Nowadays when everybody talks about creativity and innovation, it’s been interesting to see how these concepts, sometimes too ethereal, can be settled, measured and implicated in an empirical way with the results they produce: the economic growth.

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