Magazine article Real Estate Issues

The New Geography

Magazine article Real Estate Issues

The New Geography

Article excerpt

RESOURCE REVIEW

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The pattern of personal preferences is reportedly the new golden rule that shapes today's virtual workplace. This is a departure from the well established pattern that "he with the gold rules." In the Boston Globe Magazine, Richard Florida ("Finding a Bright Idea," June 23, (c)2002) noted that where the "creative class, estimated at 38.3 million Americans, roughly 30 percent of the U.S. workforce" go, the corporates of the new economy follow.

In The New Geography (Random House, 2000 paperback, October 2001), Joel Kotkin spins some wonderful anecdotal evidence and demographic data to confirm that indeed, some of the traditional values of quality of life have once again started to dominate site selection criteria. Kotkin likens the pattern to one that dominated the pre-industrial countryside both here in the U.S. and elsewhere. The information economy and its telecommunications have not created a placelessness but rather some new discernable patterns of growth worth measuring and discussing.

Joel Kotkin in the The New Geography develops a lexicon that evolves from the trends he identifies. The most memorable elements and prominent themes of his new geography include among others: "nerdistans" -Austin, Santa Monica, and sections of Boston, San Francisco, and Manhattan-- urban concentrations of knowledgeworkers and like-minded souls, "Valhallas" -Boulder, Colorado and Park City, Utah-beautiful remote places now connected by the new economy, and the "midopolises"-the older suburbs. With the terminology providing a helpful aid in collecting the supporting demographic data and anecdotes and related trends, the reader is fully persuaded by the book that these trends are clear and increasingly prevailing.

This group of personal preference pattern-makers is not limited to the telecommunications CEO, the telecommuter, and the virtual outsourcing contractor, but now includes a broad and deep and growing creative group with skill sets that will dominate the labor force in the information economy. People are increasingly making personal decisions based on preferences presumably not only on quality of life but also on lifestyle interests that their prospective employers will be trying to anticipate by their own site selection criteria and corporate strategies, real estate and otherwise. Remember low cost, plentiful labor, favorable tax climate, and plentiful power? Distribution and transportation systems and airport accessibility? These criteria still govern our manufacturing site selection, but the growth is elsewhere. …

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