Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Redefining Human Capital

Cities seem to want the quick fix. These days the quick fix is paying Richard Florida large amounts of money to come to your city to "fix" whatever ails you. Create class, Human capital are all just gimmicks about how to attract or retain your residents. I think the recession has leveled the playing Field because the cool cities aren't that cool when you have been looking for work for 24 months and unemployment is about to run out and your $500 dollar rent (for that 3 bedroom you share with 5 people) is due.

Vincent Valk over at Next American City has this to say:

Urbanophile, aka Aaron M. Renn, suggests that cities work at finding a niche and exploiting it, rather than all chasing the same goals. “The question is what specific types of people you can attract to your city,” Renn says.

This hints at something larger, I think: an evaluation of what we really mean when we say “human capital.” People hear about “human capital” and “talent” and, at least in urbanist circles, tend to think vaguely of freelance graphic designers bringing bikes on to light rail while happily sipping flavored coffee (yes, I am stereotyping). But the world only needs so many designers, researchers and programmers. Is a good mechanic or electrician not “human capital”? How about high-tech factory workers, or medical assistants, or traveling salesmen

What does it mean to redefine human capital in your city?

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