Richard Florida’s Concept of the Creative Class

Berlin’s Strengths and Weaknesses to Attract Creative People

Seminar Paper, 2009

10 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

Introduction: Berlin and the Creative Class

The Concept of the Creative Class: Have a Job and Have a Life

History and Culture: the City as a Living History

Environment and the City Skyline: Nearby Water, Forest, and Recreational Areas

The Life in the Twelve Districts: Love your Kiez

Educational Institutions: 25 Universities and Colleges, More than 130,000 Students

The Metropolitan Region of Berlin/Brandenburg: The Hub of West-East-Europe

State Politics: Ideological Battles and Billions of Debts

Alternative Scenes in the City: “I am gay, and it’s fine this way.”

Conclusion: Can Berlin Attract People from the Creative Class?


Introduction: Berlin and the Creative Class

A long and unsettled history, an international reputation for its cultural scenes, a debt of more than 61 billion euros, 3.4 million inhabitants and 400,000 trees – this is Berlin, the capital, biggest city, and political center of Germany. It is famous for its museums and theaters, its art galleries and restaurants, its diverse districts, nightclubs, and universities (Becker 48). These seem to be the perfect conditions for Richard Florida’s Creative Class, a group of young professionals who are searching for a job and a life. In the following essay, I will show how this concept of the Creative Class helps to analyze Berlin’s strengths and weaknesses to attract creative people. Furthermore, I will also point out where this concept lacks practical applicability. After introducing Florida’s concept, several aspects will be discussed: the history and culture of Berlin, its environment and skyline, the life in the twelve districts, the role of educational institutions, the metropolitan region of Berlin/Brandenburg, state politics, and alternative scenes in the city.

The Concept of the Creative Class: Have a Job and Have a Life

Richard Florida’s concept of the Creative Class can be summarized as a picture of young professionals seeking a job and a life. This demand relates to an understanding of new lifestyle decisions: the combination of work and leisure time, the life in a creative center where human capital flourishes, the move into a city which is characterized by openness to diversity of all kinds (political, ethnical, racial, sexual, cultural etc.). Members of the Creative Class decide for a certain city to live and work in because they see potential in the region’s viability as well as for their own future goals there. Florida talks about the end of the traditional reason for people solely moving to a city because they can find jobs there – quite the contrary: companies follow young professionals to certain cities or are started by them. Florida’s concept is based on the idea that postindustrial cities have to attract creative, young professionals to sustain or improve their strengths in the national and global competition and to spur their economic growth. Therefore high-quality amenities and experiences which are available 24 hours are indispensable (Florida 100-104).

History and Culture: the City as a Living History

Richard Florida and Terry N. Clark write: “Workers in the elite sectors of the postindustrial city make ‘quality of life’ demands and … increasingly act like tourists in their own city” (Florida 106). In this respect, Berlin’s history and culture offer ‘on-demand entertainment’ as well as original and unique experiences. Berlin is not only a political but also a cultural center in Europe, especially for the media, film, and music industries (Becker 44). Florida describes a demand for cities that can attract people from the Creative Class by being authentic and unique (108). Berlin can easily meet this demand by its colorful mix of old and new, urban and green, conservative and liberal, right and left, west and east. Berlin is a “city open to art,” and it can be assumed that every citizen will be satisfied by one of the 800 choirs, 260 art galleries, 170 museums, and more than 200 cinemas (Latotzki 44-49). These cultural offerings have deep roots in the local scenes of the city, and at the same time, a worldwide reputation.

Environment and the City Skyline: Nearby Water, Forest, and Recreational Areas

Another aspect to attract the Creative Class is an appealing environment in an urban area. Florida points out that “perhaps the greatest of all the New Economy myths is that ‘geography is dead’.” (101). Place becomes more important to young professionals, who are seeking for an environment which offers plenty of recreational opportunities (Florida 106). Berlin also meets these demands and is still an exception in the group of international metropolises, because there are enough locations available for new developments, redevelopments, or public green spaces (Becker 43). Both in the downtown area and the periphery of the city, Berlin is unique in regard to its parks and gardens, trails and tracks, ponds and lakes (Plessen 261). The city’s density and expansion are still waiting to be increased. In the last decades, Berlin’s skyline has undergone an extensive redevelopment, and internationally distinguished architects (among others Lord Norman Foster, David Chipperfield, and Frank O. Gehry) changed the face of the city (Wefing 83). However, until now, innovations have often been missing in (re)development projects. City officials decided against an U.S.-American-style skyline, but they also have not come up with a clear individual design for Berlin (Wefing 85).

The Life in the Twelve Districts: Love your Kiez

The missing outline for an urban design can be explained by the diversity and extremes between the twelve city districts. Berlin is to a lesser extent one single urban entity and more the combination of its parts. Thereby, it provides place for diverse communities that are a critical factor in the decisions of creative people to move into a new city (Florida 102). In his essay, Florida outlines: “People today expect more from the places they live [in].” (106). From this perspective, Berlin’s districts have strengths as well as weaknesses. Characterized by partly extreme differences in the social and economic living conditions, some districts lack the sense of strong, safe, and proud communities (Kröhnert et al. 80-89). However, these differences can be understood as an opportunity to attract the diverse Creative Class. With university students living in all parts of the city, young professionals can find flexible communities that are satisfying specific demands. Furthermore, Berlin is one of the capitals with the lowest cost of living (Becker 51). Hence, the variety of its districts and the strong understanding of its citizens living in a certain Kiez (regional expression for a ward or neighborhood in a district) meet the Creative Class’ demand for unique and authentic places (Florida 107).


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Richard Florida’s Concept of the Creative Class
Berlin’s Strengths and Weaknesses to Attract Creative People
University of California, San Diego  (Department of Political Science)
Urban Politics
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
452 KB
florida, creative class, berlin, brandenburg, politik, kultur, umwelt, environment, culture, economic figures, wirtschaftsdaten, metropol, region, alternativ, szene, kiez, schwul, schulden, bildung, geschichte, history, education, debt, young professional, wowereit
Quote paper
Renard Teipelke (Author), 2009, Richard Florida’s Concept of the Creative Class, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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