Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekend blogging -- What kind of urban culture attracts the creative class? (answered in comic strip form)

About a month ago, we had an interesting discussion here and on Andrew Gelman's blog regarding Richard Florida's theories about the creative class and urban culture (see here, here and here). It got me thinking about one of Florida's favorite examples, Austin, Texas. These days when people think of the culture of that town, the first name that generally comes to mind is South by Southwest, but it's important to note that SxSW came after Dell.

If you were to have asked people in 1980 (shortly before the town started becoming a tech center) about Austin's culture, I suspect the answers would have focused on two main topics: the first would be the outlaw country scene (contrary to the song, Waylon and Willie actually hung out in Austin. Nobody hung out in Luckenbach); the second would be the then dominant effect of the massive UT campus on the town.

You can get a pretty good idea what people thought of that UT/frat dominated culture, from the Academia Waltz, Berkeley Breathed's first cartoon and something of a proto-Bloom County.

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