Richard Florida, Mr. Cool Cities himself, has done it again. This time, he’s telling us that where we choose to live may be the most important decision we make. In Who’s Your City: How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, Florida says that where we live affects every other aspect of our lives – our friends, our mates, our careers, our happiness.
Florida says what really drives global economy are what he calls “mega-regions” and these mega-regions can be characterized by distinct economic specialties and even personalities. How to be happy? Find a mega-region that's compatible with your skills, interests and your own personality.
The book offers a number of charts ranking cities large and small according to how happy you’re likely to be living there given certain life stages. For singles age 20-29, Kalamazoo-Portage ranked 77 out of 167. It ranked lower for professionals age 29-44 (120), families with children (128), empty-nesters (100) and retirees (142). Just for comparison, here are rankings for Ann Arbor: singles (20), professionals (105), families with children 84, empty-nesters (72) and retirees (70).
What I find a bit humorous is the discussion of geographic clustering of personality traits. Turns out, the following personality characteristics are not distributed evenly from city to city: Extroverted People, Agreeable People, Neurotic People, Conscientious People and Open to Experience People. Instead, some areas have more neurotic people than others. New York City, for instance, is the epicenter for neurotic people. You might be wondering how this region fared in the survey. According to the maps, we rated fairly high in extroverted and conscientious people and had a touch of neurotic. We didn’t rank so high for the agreeable or open to experience factors.
Check it out. The personality cluster maps alone will make good conversation with your extroverted, conscientious and slightly neurotic friends.
What City Are You?