Apr 132011

The educational-municipal complex

By Danny Mayer

Editor’s Note: This should be the first in a three-part look at Town/Gown economic relationships

“[H]ow people react when something is publicly staring them in the face is one thing. How they react in the much more common situation where the gloom of obscurity hides the unpleasant facts is another.”

Lexington Herald Leader, “Cut-and-paste lessons,” March 15, 2011

Angelou Economics is one of a relatively new breed of business, urban economic development consultants, that has arisen over the past 20 years. Mostly, such groups adhere to a set of assumptions most popularly espoused by the academic Richard Florida. Florida’s general thesis holds that creativity drives growth. Because of this, Florida concludes, city survival depends upon attracting the somewhat limited global class of creative people who make cities grow—real selective consumers who, alas, apparently circulate the world looking diligently for cool places in which to live and/or visit. Continue reading »

Feb 162011

By Danny Mayer

The last several weeks have provided an excellent example of how city leaders direct city needs inward to the downtown core. With UK now realizing that private business cannot profit greatly enough to construct a new basketball coliseum alongside Rupp Arena (last year’s ingenious plan), CEO Lee Todd has thrown the ball back to City Government to get the job done. Continue reading »

Jun 242010

Big Brother, can you spare a trolley?

It’s a very cool thing!

Mayor Jim Newberry

If you want to see the nexus between spend-happy government, liberal urban boosterism, and misplaced priorities, look no further than COLT, the newest addition to the Lexington public transit bus fleet: two fake trolley cars and three hybrid fake trolley cars patrolling the inner downtown between Transy and UK from 11:30-2:00 weekdays and from 6:00-1:00 or 3:00 A.M. Thursdays-Saturdays.

COLT is what you get when too many people go to too many cities and return home, raging, with too many good ideas and all heck to pay. Downtown development? Check. Feel good public transportation? Check. Strong whiffs of environmentalism? Check. Public/private partnerships? Check. Grant funding? Check. Old-money nostalgia? Check. The project is only just short of scoring a perfect 100 on the Richard Florida Creative Class Solutions scale.

So why the hell doesn’t it work? Continue reading »

Apr 092010

Creative Cities hits Lexington

By Danny Mayer

It didn’t dawn on me that Richard Florida was a bullshit artist until I read the opening lines of his article, “’There Goes the Neighbourhood’: How and Why Bohemians, Artists and Gays Affect Regional Housing Values,” which I found on the Richard Florida section of Richard Florida’s Creative Class website. For several weeks, I had been trying to pinpoint my unease at Florida’s thesis of the creative class, which essentially posits a global market of “creative capital” that flows across distances unequally. Continue reading »