Is establishing a creative community like herding cats?

It’s not easy, according to research findings in Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City?“>Who’s Your City?. The following excerpt from his book highlighting the findings of another colleague, Christopher Peterson Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, best explains the cloud problem of development a creative community akin to herding cats.

“Peterson’s independent analysis of his strengths data and my own creativity measures found a direct relationship between character strengths – such as appreciation of beauty, creativity, curiosity, and a love of learning – and creativity index for cities. However, Peterson fond a negative relationship between creative cities and strengths that connect people to one another – such as modesty, gratitude, spirituality, teamwork, kindness, and fairness. It may very well be that creative cities have higher concentrations of people who basic personality makeup is doing their own thing. This jibes with my research team’s findings which show that regional creativity and innovation are related to diversity and openness, but not to social capital of the sort Robert Putnam has written about. Putnam’s most recent research has also found that diversity hinders social capital. This is all very troubling news for our sense of community and social cohesion. The very strengths that make places diverse and creative seem to damage our social capital and community commitment.

A solution. This is a very real challenge many cities have either recognized or yet to recognize, but one that CoolTown Beta Communities was designed to overcome. Read about the solution in more detail in the primer, Crowdsourcing Cool Places for Creatives, featured on the CoolTown Beta Communities home page.

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