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Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life [Paperback]

Richard Florida
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 24 2009 0307356973 978-0307356970 Canadian
International Bestseller

All places are not created equal.

In this groundbreaking book, Richard Florida shows that where we live is increasingly a crucial factor in our lives, one that fundamentally affects our professional and personal prospects. As well as explaining why place matters now more than ever, Who’s Your City? provides indispensable tools to help you choose the right place for you.

It’s a cliché of the information age that globalization has made place irrelevant, that one can telecommute as effectively from New Zealand as New York. But it’s not true, Richard Florida argues, relying on twenty years of innovative research in urban studies, creativity, and demographic trends. In fact, as new units of economic growth called mega-regions become increasingly specialized, the world is becoming more and more “spiky” — divided between flourishing clusters of talent, education and competitiveness, and moribund “valleys.”

All these places have personalities, Richard Florida explains in the second half of Who’s Your City?, and happiness depends on finding the city in which you can balance your personal and career goals to thrive. More people than ever before now have the opportunity to choose where to live, but at different points in our lives we need different kinds of places, he points out — what a couple of recent college graduates want from their city isn’t necessarily what a retiree is looking for. You have to find the place that suits you best: a boho-burb neighbourhood isn’t likely to be the best fit for patio man.

So, for the first time, Who’s Your City? ranks cities by their fitness for various life stages, rating the best places for singles, young families, and empty nesters. It summarizes the key factors that make place matter to different kinds of people, from professional opportunities to the closeness of family to how well it matches their lifestyle, and provides an in-depth series of steps to help you choose the right place wisely.

Sparkling with Richard Florida’s signature intellectual originality, Who’s Your City? moves from insights to studies to personal anecdotes, from a startling “Singles Map” of the United States to surprising data on the difference aesthetics makes to people’s sense of place. A perceptive and transformative book, it is both a brilliant exploration of the fundamental importance of place and an essential guide to making what may be the most important decision of your life.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life + The Rise of the Creative Class - Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition - Revised and Expanded + The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity
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From Publishers Weekly

Choosing a spouse and choosing a career are important life decisions—but perhaps even more predictive of our all-round personal happiness is our choice of living location, argues Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) in this informative if somewhat dry tome. As globalization makes the world effectively smaller, economic growth concentrates in certain mega-regions of large superstar cities, leaving other regions in the proverbial dust. The areas where we live are also affected by our increasingly mobile culture, housing priorities that change as we age (from starter homes to family-friendly suburbs to empty nests and finally retirement centers) and the global economy. Few of the author's conclusions are new—people gather where they can make friends with others like them, personality types tend to cluster—type A to urban areas, type B to rural—and the book's tone wanders from broad, Friedmanesque discussion of the world economy to home-buying advice as well as statistic-and-theory-heavy text as though unsure of its intended audience. Yet the author opens up a complex, underexamined subject along the way. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The world is not flat, and Richard Florida is the man to tell you why where you choose to live is more important than ever. Passionate and thoughtful, this book is an indispensable guide to the way our cities really work. The spirit of Jane Jacobs lives on."
—Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist and author of The Logic of Life

"This book says all that I could never put into words about why certain cities sing to certain people. If I could talk like Florida writes, I wouldn't have needed a campaign staff."
—John Hickenlooper, Mayor of the City of Denver

"Who’s Your City? is another breakthrough idea by urban life genius Richard Florida. The power of place has everything to do with our success well beyond our own recognition. If you are contemplating a move or know someone who is, or are even vaguely interested in the idea of place as self, this book is a must read."
—Mario Batali, Chef and Restaurateur

"The world is not flat. Three-dimensional 'place' matters more than ever, not less than before. Richard Florida gets it exactly right — again — in Who's Your City?. As a long time advocate of Florida's position here, I will send it to colleagues by the score!"
—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

"…the author opens up a complex, under examined subject…"
Publishers Weekly (December 17, 2007)

"...this thought-provoking and seminal work will surely be studied, not only by scholars but more importantly by consumers pondering a move..."
Washington Post

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Help me Aug. 7 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ostensibly "Who's Your City?" is a self-help book intended to facilitate using career preferences, relationships, personality and life-stage to find the optimum place to live. But alas, Dr. Florida is not part of the helping professions. Rather, he is an academic researcher and the book is primarily a rundown of his and others research. The self-help is a last chapter add on that is skimpy and not thought out. For example; step seven advises observing people's behaviour in a targeted city to determine the level of trust in the city but we are not advised to actually visit the city until step ten.

The book is more successful as a review of some important global trends. Dr. Florida's key point is that where we chose to live is as important a decision as what we chose to do and who we chose as a life partner. Obvious perhaps but, as Dr. Florida points out, historically we have not given the decision of where to live sufficient attention. Topics covered to support his argument include; the formation of "mega-regions" through "clustering" of like minded individuals, the creative class' affect on mega-regions and vice versa and the effect of location on happiness. All are presented adequately with a liberal measure of anecdotes. After reading the book I have to agree with his premise.

A minor complaint: despite Dr. Florida's contention that where to live is now a global decision and despite his current location in Toronto, Canada or any of the world outside the U.S. are not considered as possible choices of where to live. It does not seem unreasonable to think there are at least a few plausible options beyond the U.S.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough substance May 19 2009
I liked the book, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is already familiar with his other work.

I think the idea of a Canadian edition is not a bad idea, but needs more work to make it happen. He basically just inserted something about Toronto at the end of every third paragraph, and repackaged it as a 'Canadian' edition.

Overall, just ok.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read and Conversation Starter. Dec 1 2012
By Nuff
This is a good mix of research, anecdotes and opinionated writing from Mr Florida, who for his part, does not claim to have all the answers. Rather, this book seems to me a good starting point for asking if, why, and how, in an increasingly globalised world, where you choose to live still matters.

From a North American (and particularly Canadian) perspectives, Florida talks about why someone from Toronto might have more in common with another person from Montreal or New York, for example, than someone from other parts of Ontario. He explains why he believes that the city in which one lives is a reflection of their personality, values, and aspirations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking Feb. 16 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We saw Richard Florida on TV and decided to buy the book. It is well researched and well written. It really makes you think about the world that we live in.
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