Richard Florida created this map, tracking changes in patents, population, and income on a city-by-city level in order to make predictions on how and where America will grow in the future.
Florida, the author of The Rise of the Creative Class, is one of America’s most prominent urban theorists.
By the way, you may need to download a plug-in in order to view the map.
As you can see, Alexandria’s not exactly a patent capital, even compared to a place like Lafayette, Louisiana:
And here’s how our income tracks:
Quoting from Florida’s How the Crash Will Reshape America (bold mine):
But that was then; the economy is different now. It no longer revolves around simply making and moving things. Instead, it depends on generating and transporting ideas. The places that thrive today are those with the highest velocity of ideas, the highest density of talented and creative people, the highest rate of metabolism. Velocity and density are not words that many people use when describing the suburbs. The economy is driven by key urban areas; a different geography is required.
You touch on another thing here that I’ve noticed since moving to town. Anywhere else I’ve lived, finding a job as a writing teacher (my previous vocation) has been fairly easy. But here, there doesn’t seem to be a thriving market for the “creative class” (who are, of course, the people who normally hire writing instructors or writers in general). That scares me more than a little – not because I think that there is MORE of a need for artistic minds than for other types, but because I don’t see how any place grows and expands without a balance of personalities and drives. Creatives and artists help to balance out manufacturers and businesspeople. And even though I’m sad that the situation is such, I’m definitely interested to see something backing up my suspiscions.