Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Richard Florida Campaigns to Keep South Oakland Creative Class
Richard Florida, professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University, has lectured on the value of keeping creative Pittsburghers in this city. He writes about the dangers of losing these human resources to other, more prosperous cities like Charlotte, NC, Austin, TX, Washington, DC and New York City. Now Florida is specifying his theory towards South Oakland residents.
“We have untapped potential in this neighborhood,” Florida explained. “There are residents here who can make a bong out of an apple and can throw a happening party for less than $40. We really have to keep these residents here and provide them with opportunities, or else they will continue to move back home with their parents.”
Florida cites examples of the high turnover rate in South Oakland, where an astonishing 39% of residents live in the neighborhood for only one year, and 16% of its residents leave the city of Pittsburgh every year.
“It all comes down to opportunity, where are the prospects for these residents? Why can’t we have these residents putting together industrial machinery for Alcoa instead of marijuana pipes? And why can’t these people be organizing $100 a plate fundraising dinners for Cystic Fibrosis instead of collecting three dollars for a keg party? What’s stopping us as a city for providing those opportunities?” Florida continued.
To put his theories into action Florida announced creation of a new non-profit training and development organization called Bong Hits to Business Ventures. The group will provide out of school stoners with training and resources to stay competitive in the current job market.