A Culturally Creative City Will Thrive

Article excerpt

What makes cities successful?

Diversity combined with density produces unexpected results - jazz, for instance.

In recent years, thoughtful people have tried to create the recipe that produces this gumbo of creativity.

It starts with a welcoming attitude that accepts people who may look, act or talk differently than the conventional styles.

In business, the intention to be creative has been called a "skunkworks" for just that out-of-the-box thinking.

Two authors with doctorates, Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, have tried to sort out these factors in a book titled "Creatives."

The authors describe a new country that does not have physical boundaries; it is more subtle than that.

"... It is emerging not only in the cornfields of Iowa but on the streets of the Bronx, all across the country from Seattle to St. Augustine," the authors write.

Because of this subtlety, it may not receive enough attention because creative locales don't fit into the standard boxes.

MASSIVE RESEARCH

The authors did more than think, they reported on 13 years of research on more than 100,000 Americans.

These creative types are alienated from today's extreme partisanship and institutions. They reject materialism and status displays. They are focused on ecology, relationships, spirituality, psychological development.

The authors identify 26 percent of American adults who have these creative traits. That's about 50 million people. In the 1960s, the proportion was just 5 percent. This is a sea change that is "shockingly quick," the authors say.

They are optimists who are leading the way toward a more creative future for the 21st century.

The authors say the creatives are reshaping their world view, lifestyles and values.

This is the sort of thing that futurists have been predicting for years. The authors say that the time may have arrived to the surprise of not only America but the creatives themselves.

"Because Cultural Creatives are not yet aware of themselves as a collective body, they do not recognize how powerful their voices could be," the authors write.

But in today's connected age, you don't need geographic proximity to have a creative collaboration. And yet you can't replace the high-touch aspects of face-to-face communication.

BIG MOMENT NEXT YEAR

That is one reason why the Epoch Project next April, a massive arts and innovation festival, is so exciting. …