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For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138


Regional Leaders to Discuss How Strategies Can Work in Pikes Peak Area

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nov. 3, 2004 – Innovative and influential thinker Richard Florida will present “The Rise of the Creative Class and What it Means to Economic Development” on November 10, at 6:30 p.m. at Colorado College’s Armstrong Hall (northeast corner of Cascade Avenue and Cache La Poudre Street). The event is free and the public is welcome.

Florida is best known for his best-selling book “The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Every Day Life,” which won the Washington Monthly Political Book Award for 2002, and was later named by Harvard Business Review as one of the top breakthrough ideas of 2004. The book explores the growing role of creativity in our economy, and has inspired cities and regions across the United States to embark on new creative strategies for economic growth.

According to Florida, the “creative class,” made up of the people with ideas and innovative approaches to improvement, comprises more than 30 percent of the work force and accounts for nearly half of all salary and wages in the U.S. Florida says the choices of creative people have already had a huge economic impact and also are going to shape our future.

Immediately after Florida’s talk, three regional cultural and economic leaders will present brief comments on how his ideas might transform the creative and economic landscape of the Pikes Peak region. Robert K. “Rocky” Scott, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation; Susan Edmondson, executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation; and Denise Montgomery, director of the City of Denver’s office of arts, culture and film, will present short commentary.

Florida has rated cities according to three criteria: technology, talent and tolerance. According to his findings, high-technology success in metropolitan areas corresponds with a large gay population and high concentration of “bohemian” and foreign-born residents. “People in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness,” Florida wrote in his academic paper “Technology and Tolerance: the Importance of Diversity to High-Technology Growth.”

Florida is the founder and principal of two companies: the Creativity Group, an innovative communications and strategies team; and Catalytix, a strategy consulting firm. He is the Hirst professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Florida was previously the Heinz Professor of Economic Development at Carnegie-Mellon University. He also has been a visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Florida’s talk is presented by Colorado College in partnership with the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, The Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, the Colorado Springs Independent, and Downtown Partnership. The event is sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, The Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, the W. Lewis and Helen R. Abbott Memorial Fund, the Schlessman Family Fund, and the H. Chase Stone Memorial Lecture Fund.

About Colorado College

Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 2,000 students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. For more information, visit www.ColoradoCollege.edu.

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution photos of Richard Florida are available for downloading at http://www.creativeclass.org/taking.shtml