This is a wonderful book that is as interesting as it is informative. No wonder it was a Globe and Mail Best Book!
Richard Florida shows that Canada, its mega-regions, and its urban centres are well positioned in the coming economic and geographic transformation. Every economic system has its unique geography, what geographers call a spatial fix. A spatial fix is what values and ideas look like when you turn them into bricks and mortar–and massive highway systems.
Suburbanization was the spatial fix for the industrial age–the geographic expression of mass production. Low-cost mortgages, extensive highway systems, and suburban infrastructure projects fuelled the industrial engine of postwar capitalism, driving the demand for cars, appliances, and all sorts of industrial goods. That era is now winding down.
The creative economy is giving rise to a new spatial fix–something that we are just beginning to see emerge. It is not so much the cost of gasoline that makes it so expensive to live in the suburbs; its the cost of time.
Energetic cities are driven by innovation, collaboration, and efficiency; sitting in traffic for hours meets none of those needs, and according to several studies, I tis one of the least enjoyable activities we engage in,.
This new spatial fix will take shape around humongous mega-regions, which blend city and suburb into denser and more extensive urban agglomerations with multiple city centres and business cores, greater clusters of workplaces, residences, and industry than anything we’ve seen before.
While we are in the early development stage of this new economic geography, one trend is clear: the history of economic development and of capitalism revolves around the more intensive use of urban space.
This trend will pose challenges as well as opportunities in Canada. There is little room for complacency during such a massive economic and geographic shift. The world is becoming more competitive and spikier every day.
And as we learned in late 2008, trying to grow an economy with financial capital leads to economic turmoil. Cities and regions will have to increasingly invest in, and build up, their real capital.
So, it is important to choose where we choose to live.
Rating: 5 stars