Thank goodness Chicago has a stable creative class. We’re a more interesting city because of it. Or maybe we were a more interesting city first and the creative class followed.
It doesn’t matter for us anymore – the creative class is here and it’s not leaving as long as Chicago doesn’t drastically change its policies and attitudes that are welcoming to the creative class. Changing the policies to instigate such a dramatic change as an exodus of knowledge workers and artists would be economical suicide and would be antithetical to one of this city’s foundations and strongpoints: diversity.
The comments following will make more sense if you’ve read Richard Florida’s “The Creative Class.”
I think that Chicago definitely did not have to go through the processes of attracting desired creative-class workers as Pittsburgh is doing now, or other cities before it. Chicago had some already existing features and elements that are universally attractive to all people, let alone the creative class. These features are ethnic enclaves, extensive parks and recreation systems, well-known museums and cultural centers, an independent arts and music scene, and lots of diverse shopping (just another attraction to the city – superficially, this doesn’t seem like a make-or-break interest, but for those who have money to spend, they need a place to spend it).
Florida mentions how Chicago is unique because of how the working class and creative class coexist. He attributes this fact to a political and cultural solution that the city and the current Mayor Daley devised. I think the city’s existing dynamics (local, long-standing, universities; history as a national hub for business and transportation; enormous variety of people; and a plethora of “stuff to do”) were at the right levels and the systems of the city were making the right connections and this naturally made Chicago a great place to foster growth of the industries which are heavily supported by the creative class, or which grew to accompany them.