“Who’s Your City?” lecture at Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences

Canadian Ferderation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences website

As I had mentioned in previous post, the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences is having their national congress in town at the various UBC campuses around town. I want to highlight the one I’m really interested in (but which I unfortunately will miss).

12:15 TO 13:20, WOODWARD (IRC), THEATRE 2

Research in Society: Richard Florida “Who’s Your City?”

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading public intellectuals on economic competitiveness, demographic trends, and cultural and technological innovation. Currently Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Florida has held professorships at George Mason University and Carnegie Mellon University and taught as a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT. He is a former senior scientist with the Gallup Organization. Florida earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Through his work, he provides unique, data-driven insight into the social, economic and demographic factors that drive the 21st-century world economy.

He is more of an economist and deals mainly with demographics and statistical trends, but it would be interesting to see what he has to say about cities in general. An excerpt from Randy Shore’s Vancouver Sun article that I had referenced before shows that Richard Florida has some similar ideas to Jane Jacobs.

Florida is launching a book called Who’s Your City? in which he explores the idea that cities, rather than nations, are the drivers of the new knowledge-based economy. Florida says that choosing where to live is as important to our lives, our happiness and fulfilment as choosing a job or a mate.

Florida’s view outline above is very similar to what Jane Jacobs has written before in two of her books: The Economy of Cities and Cities and the Wealth of Nations. I’ve only had the opportunity to read the latter. So Florida may be building upon part of Jacobs previous arguments in her books.

There is a follow up lecture in the evening at UBC Robson Square:


“The Role of Culture in the Global Urban Economy”

In a global economy where the MFA is the new MBA, this panel considers Richard Florida’s notion of the creative class and what it will mean for the role of culture in our cities. The panel will include academics, authors, gallerists, artists, and city representatives; copies of Florida’s latest book, Who’s Your City?, will be available at special Congress price; presented in conjunction with UBC Alumni Affairs.

Actually, it’s more of a discussion than a lecture that will build upon some of the ideas that Florida will have presented earlier in the day. This is the lecture that is outside of my working hours and which I’ll be able to attend. I just wish I had taken the day off, but it’s too late now.

If anyone is interested in attending these lectures, you can purchase a Community Participant Day Pass at the Student Union Building (SUB) at UBC. It’s $15 and gives you access to a select number of lectures and displays on campus.


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