I joined the WTS book club and they chose this book to discuss. I have needed some inspiration since I don't have the flight time I used to have on the cross country flights to Bmore.
A good book so far although it seems like a bunch of small newspaper column articles that have been stitched together by a successful author trying to write another book to satisfy a contract obligation.
That being said there are some good stuff in the book. One takeaway that comes early on in the book is a quote by Paul Romer who said "a crisis being a terrible thing to waste". The author makes the case that we are wasting it by throwing public money at the old economy. He suggests that government spending can't be the solution in the long run because it's simply lacks the resources to generate the enormous level of demand you need to power sustained growth.
Consistent with his other book The Rise of the Creative Class, Mr. Florida writes about transportation and housing, making the land use connection. I found it interesting when he talked about new models of consumption that spur the economy, enabling industry to expand and productivity to improve, thus creating better jobs for workers. This sounds a bit utopian and highly dependent on China for production, which he describes as an issue as well.
He references Jane Jacobs several times in the first few chapters and some of this seems like an update of her work. Peculiar that he has moved to Toronto (just like Jacobs did) after living in Newark, Boston, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.
He has three key attributes that he cites as what makes people happy in their communities and causes them to develop a solid emotional attachment to the place they live.
First, the physical beauty and level of maintenance (great open spaces and parks - Portland, check);
Second, the ease with which people can meet others, make friends, etc (PDX - compact urban form - check)
Third, diversity and open mindedness, acceptance (PDX seems to have all but the great diversity here).
The meeting is next week and I have the book nearly half read after a solid day working on it.