Vegas’s Lack of Creative Culture Proves Florida’s Point

Richard Florida is something of a utopian. [“Why I Don’t Love Richard Florida”] I’m guessing that you’re writing from the perspective of someone who lives in New York City, where you can’t throw a brick without hitting 17 performance artists. One of the biggest problems in large cities with long-lasting artist districts is that they’re inevitably taken over by the kind of uninteresting yuppies who want to surround themselves with culture that they’re not capable of making themselves. As a creative center, this is one of the many burdens that New York City must suffer.

I live in Las Vegas, which is primarily a service industry town—with occasional forays into construction, because the only good casino is a brand-spanking-new casino. Las Vegas has no cultural core at all. There are a few people who are trying to convince the rest of us that downtown Vegas is going to be the new hip hot-spot, but the current revitalization of downtown is entirely artificial. Because of this total lack of culture, Vegas has always had a difficult time attracting “creative” industries, such as the tech industry, which would help to vitalize Las Vegas’s cultural scene.

I’m not suggesting that Florida is right on all counts, but he does have a certain point: if a city wants a thriving, diverse economy, it needs a thriving, diverse cultural scene. People in places like New York City take that for granted. But believe me, having a total lack of it can be maddening.

Josh Ellis
Creative Lead,
Columnist, Las Vegas City Life

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