Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Step 1: Population Density. Step 2: ?. Step 3: Innovation

This headline comes from the latest piece at NewGeography.com titled "Density, Unpacked" and written by Ohioan Richey Piiparinen, the Rust Belt Chic guy.  He takes on the failed logic of linking population density and innovation.  That's a topic I follow with great personal and professional interest.

His first paragraph explains why one needs to critically challenge theories like Florida's.  "The stories we tell affect the lives we lead. . .literally, the stories that are told make up a kind of meta-reality that soaks in us to form a 'truth'. This 'truth' affects policy, which affects investment, which affects bricks and mortar, pocketbooks, and power."

Piiparinen takes on Richard Florida's linkage between population density and innovation.  He even lists some of the Top 25 innovation hot spots in the U.S.--Snohomish County, Washington and Madison County, Alabama.  The bigger of these two places is 417 people per square mile.

The Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 thing in the last third of the article is right on.  He points out, with a simple "?" in the middle of the three-step logic chain that there isn't any definition to the leap of logic.

Though he makes a little bit of a leap of logic himself by taking a Cleveland developer's quote and making it the reason behind Florida's illogical theory, it's still worth a read.

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