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Seattle, Renaissance and the Creative Class

Jordan Rule, a former stranger who stayed at my house recently has a few things to say about his decision to quit his job and move to Seattle.

On a related note, he previously pointed me to an article by Richard Florida about the Rise of the Creative Class. It opened my eyes to some of the reasons I, like Jordan, were so attracted to places like Seattle to start a career.

Stuck in old paradigms of economic development, cities like Buffalo, New Orleans, and Louisville struggled in the 1980s and 1990s to become the next "Silicon Somewhere" by building generic high-tech office parks or subsidizing professional sports teams. Yet they lost members of the creative class, and their economic dynamism, to places like Austin, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Seattle---places more tolerant, diverse, and open to creativity.

Further, a recent interview with "Get Back in the Box" author Douglas Rushkoff by Kris Krug echoes some similar themes as he talks about a new type of networked renaissance.

On a deeper level, the book is about renaissance, and the unique moment we’re in as a society. A renaissance allows for a profound shift in perspective. While the original Renaissance invented the individual, as well as competition, this renaissance has really brought us new possibilities for collaborative action - networked collectivism and a society of authorship. We’ve been wrestling since the Renaissance - and some would say since high Greek culture - with the seeming contradiction between the agency of individuals and their power as a collective.

Jordan and so many folks I've met lately can feel that there is something big afoot that will change (are changing) the basic assumptions of how to harness the power of the social Web.

Perhaps it is a sort of renaissance and I'm hoping that Seattle is becoming a place that draws more people in and gives them a foundation for exploration, innovation and community.