"The key to economic growth lies not just in the ability to attract the creative class, but to translate that underlying advantage into creative economic outcomes in the form of new ideas, new high-tech businesses and regional growth."--The Rise of the Creative Class, p. 244We suspect that many of our readers are familiar with Richard Florida’s argument about the creative class and its connection to economic development. His very provocative and controversial ideas about how cities and regions can strategize for home-grown innovation and economic growth offer a welcome relief to many from stadium building boondoggles in urban areas across the world.
But of course, given the streak of contrariness (or sideways thinking) that epitomizes the FloatingSheep collective, we began wondering what the opposite of the creative class might be: The Boring Bourgeoisie? The Insipid Intelligentsia? The Lackluster Lineage? The Dull Derivation? The Mundane Moiety? Apologies, but once you get started it is hard to stop.
Even more fun, is thinking about the kind of public policy initiatives that could be put in place to attract these populations. Although we admit we’re at a bit of a loss as to why it would be in cities’ interest to do so.
Then it occurred to us that our two most popular maps – the Price of Weed and the Beer Belly of America – contained within them the means to provide a metric of sorts for the anti-creative class. Or at least places where the ability to be usefully creative would be severely compromised, i.e., where the price of marijuana is low and the available of bars is high .
In other words, we're looking for the Slacker Strata of America, the list that no city wants to be on.
Given the short attention span of our target audience for this map (the Slacker Strata) we kept our analysis simple and just “smushed” the Beer Belly map together with the Price of Weed map and added some more appropriate symbology.
The Slacker Strata
(please click for a larger version of this map)
Given the decidedly flippant approach to this map, interpret with care. One thing that does jump out is that many places that have a relatively high level of geotagged information about bars, also have relatively high prices for marijuana. Wisconsin and Minnesota (with the high concentration of PBR cans in the map) consistently show up as high price locations according to the Price of Weed data. Likewise, the places with the lowest marijuana prices generally do not have high numbers of bars, with the possible exception of Northern California and Taylor’s hometown of Louisville, KY.
Nonetheless, this visualizes an intriguing relationship, leading us to make an initial hypothesis that these two goods largely act as substitutes to one another, at least when considered at the macro-scale. This idea, of course, still needs testing so hold off on any public policy decisions!
btw, this map is now available in t-shirt form!
Stay tuned for our next post when we map hipsters!
 We’re sure that some readers are bound to argue that they are at their most creative when partaking. We have our doubts and request that said readers review the documentary evidence provided here, here, and here.