About this time last year I had a brief debate with a minion of a local architect’s firm who was employed by the city’s chief consultant to make recommendations for how many highrises could be stuffed into the Preston-Carling CDP (no conflict of interest here, no sir-e-e-e).
This minion, previously described in this blog as “Spike” thought it was GREAT that the neighbourhood was undergoing renewal, revival, rejuvenation, rebuilding, etc. ad nauseum. Of particular import to him was that firms moving in were the CREATIVE CLASS. High tech firms, planners, and of course, ARCHITECTS. Like his firm, having just bought an elderly industrial building that it would turn into spiffy new offices. Definitely a blessing to the neighbourhood.
Just how is it a blessing?, I asked. Will the new locations employ more locals than before? Will they make things we want to purchase or enjoy? Will they support local merchants? He was a bit taken aback by my implication that architectural staff weren’t perceived by the dumb locals (meaning me) as a superior sort to the previous workers, at say the displaced baseball bat factory previously on that block.
How many parking spaces does the new architectural offices have? Well, one. Hmm. Bodes well for the firm owner, but it sounds more like a land play, where selling the lot for a high rise becomes his retirement gift to himself.
That earned me a frown.
Will you be living in the neighbourhood? I inquired. Maybe riding your bike to work? Well no, he lived in Greely, and will be driving to work. Transit and cycling are just not practical where he “happens” to live.
So his infusion of the creative class replaces local employees with others, clogs our streets while they are here, no doubt converts residential properties to more parking lots, and on departure with a tax-favoured capital gain leaves behind yet another high rise with too-little guest parking. For this we are blessed?
Well, I suppose it is a shorter drive to Harry Rosen for those nifty creative class clothes.
So now the architect has moved in. And what do we find a half dozen blocks away, but a temporarily-vacant lot — someday to be another highrise if the condos sell — now turned into a parking lot exclusively for the creative class to drive in an out, liberally bestowing their blessings en route.
It’s enough to make one shed a tear.
5 thoughts on “Blessed by the Creative Class”
Hey, I like Harry Rosen!
I’ll have the filet minion medium rare please
If Mr. Spike Minion cared enough, he’d ride his bike to work no matter how far he lives! Thanks for killing the earth you selfish jerk!
Richard Florida, the guru of “The Creative Class” idea is basically full of it. City governments love him because he tells them that there’s a place for them in “reworking” their city to attract this “Creative Class”, but there is no real evidence that this “Creative Class” improve anything.
This is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve read all week. (1) That “minion” (way to be needlessly insulting btw) was not “employed by the city’s chief consultant.” He was invited by the city (at the expense of the firm for which he works) to offer an opinion. (2) The baseball bat factory was not “displaced” by the architecture firm. That building had already been vacant for almost a decade as the factory had relocated long before the architects moved in. The firm simply bought a vacant building from the owner of the already relocated factory. (3) Those employed by the firm will probably buy at least some things locally. There are a lot of restaurants in the area and they probably eat at them. There aren’t many clothing stores though. Hard to support businesses that don’t exist. (4) The idea that the owner of the firm will simply sell the site to a developer looking to build a high-rise is absurd. The site is not nearly large enough for such a project. But beyond being absurd, it’s wholly speculative to entertain ideas about what the owner will or won’t do with the land he owns when he looks to retire. (5) Some of the employees do live locally and do bike to work. I imagine this is why Mr. Darwin didn’t include a photo of the front of the building, where one can regularly see their bikes chained up. And if there’s parking and traffic congestion in the area it probably has more to do with the large government industrial park nearby, not one rather small office. (6) Most architects don’t make nearly enough to shop at Harry Rosen. While the owner of the firm may be able to afford to shop there, the majority of his staff probably can’t. All the architects I know didn’t get into that profession for the money (which isn’t nearly as much as people seem to think), but because they love design and construction work. My view: This is a blatant case of ignorant “Othering” on the part of Mr. Darwin, and a poor foundation for community-building indeed. By grouping a number of hard-working individuals under the category of the “creative class,” he looks to rile animosity toward them by spouting off a bunch of lies and half-truths. This seems to me a simple case of misdirected anger. I’m not defending “Spike’s” views, but, given the rather insulting and utterly false things Mr. Darwin says in the process of presenting them, it’s hard to believe that they too aren’t being misrepresented.
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