Does Spokane have a “vibrant, entrepreneurial” culture?

Off hand, I have not yet thought about that – but MetroSpokane has some hints, worth reading:

Which place is going to be more vibrant, entrepreneurial, and have a more secure future?

via MetroSpokane: Best Cities for Relocating Families – Spokane hits top 10. Note – the MetroSpokane blog shut down in 2008.

According to Prof. Richard Florida writing on his Creative Class blog,

The world’s 40 largest mega-regions produce two-thirds of all economic output and nine in 10 of the world’s innovations. With their massive scale and market size, mega-regions are becoming a key economic and social organizing unit of our time. (Update 2017: Richard Florida mostly admits he’s theories have been all wrong.)

He also suggests that rural area economic growth is dependent on fostering a “creative class” and that remote cities – like Spokane – can no longer depend on satellite manufacturing facilities of larger companies. What is needed is action to spur a creative and entrepreneurial class since manufacturing and tech sectors, as they existed, are gone for good.

Going back to the MetroSpokane post, the “hint” provided is that Spokane has lost its young, vibrant vitality as ambitious young people move to the hip, forward looking, coastal metro cities. The corollary is that a quiet, low change environment may be desired by retirees and those nearing retirement.

Question: Does Spokane have vibrant, entrepreneurial creative class like say, Seattle or San Francisco?

Update: More on the culture issue in this newer post.


4 Responses to Does Spokane have a “vibrant, entrepreneurial” culture?

  1. Pingback: Economic Strategies for Spokane « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

  2. In a 2006 piece, “The University and the Creative Economy,” Richard Florida lists Spokane as doing well on the University Creativity Index (UCI).

    See pg 31 of (PDF) for this quote:

    “• A wide variety of regions that are not usually seen as topping the lists of high-technology centers also do well on the UCI. These include: Albany and Syracuse, NY; Omaha and Lincoln, NE; Dayton, OH; Trenton, NJ; Des Moines, IA; Spokane, WA; Muncie, IN; and Portland, ME. Our sense is that there is considerable unrealized creative potential in these regions.”

    Barb Chamberlain
    Director of Communications and Public Affairs
    Washington State University Spokane

  3. inlandnw says:

    I think Richard Florida has the right concept regarding creative forces and economic development, but I suspect more work is needed before we use the idea real specifically. Others have noted inconsistencies between his broad definition of creative worker classes – and some real world city examples. Regardless, I like what he is doing.

    Now, as to Spokane, EWU has done some research that echoes the concerns of the Spokane culture – this is interesting enough that I will post it as a separate post later.

    If conclusions about the cultural source of the Silicon Valley’s advantage are not wide of the mark, then the contrasting ethos found in the Spokane region likely functions to limit this area’s high-tech economic development:

    1) Spokane culture is distrustful, making the formation of innovative, cooperative networks very difficult.

    2) Spokane culture is taciturn. Important public issues, especially those related to economic development, are difficult to discuss frankly in a public forum. Public disagreement is viewed as disruptive, while good manners and deference to the domain of others rule out certain conversations altogether. Thus, successful public policy, or even coordinated private action, is difficult to fashion.

    3) Spokane culture displays a profound distrust of local and state government, which makes it difficult for government to be employed as a tool to enhance the social-esthetic environment so important to the ability of firms to attract talent and retain it in the area. Furthermore, this outlook tends to make government responsible for the absence of robust economic growth, especially in relation to tax and economic policy. Paradoxically, this same culture easily looks to government as a source of economic development, especially through various forms of imported subsidies.

    4) Spokane culture does not fully understand and appreciate the role of a research university as an economic driver for the region. Even high-tech firms in the region tend not to perceive a need for a vigorous, local research climate. Though pockets of support for research can be identified, such research is not synonymous with support for a research-university. Corporate support for a research-university is not strong. Those who desire a research presence in the region have no well-thought-out approach to its creation and sometimes possess operational codes that are at odds with it.

    5) Spokane culture has a very weak sense of regional symbiosis. Thus, most individual participants in the area do not link their own future success with that of the region as a whole. Rather, economic success is more likely to be seen as an individual or corporate matter that may be threatened by the success of others. In addition, such an outlook impairs development of a political mechanism that might be used to encourage appropriate instances of regional policy integration.


  4. Pingback: Does Spokane foster a vibrant, entrepreneurial culture? « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

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