The pressing need for inclusivity to be part of urban revitalization was a key topic at ULI’s recent Mid-Winter meeting in Washington, D.C., attended by the Institute’s global trustees, with former ULI visiting fellow Richard Florida and ULI trustee Edward Glaeser leading a discussion on the future of cities.
The main takeaway: while the urban evolution of the 21st century is boosting the prosperity and quality of life in many cities, a growing gap exists between the haves and the have-nots in successful cities, as well as between the cities that have succeeded and those that have not. Failure to address these inequities threatens to undo the progress made and could hamper future regeneration efforts.
“The clustering of urban activity, which drives innovation and economic growth and is the main source of productivity, is the exact same thing that is creating divisiveness in our nation,” said Florida, director of cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute in Toronto. “In our rush to magnify the impact of clustering creativity and knowledge in cities, by not dealing with the negative consequences, we [society] have let the divides grow and fester.” Florida, who explored the revival of urban areas in his 2002 book The Rise of the Creative Class, discusses the repercussions of the revival in his latest book, The New Urban Crisis, slated for release this spring.