Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Underpants Gnomes And Talent Migration

Phase 1, collect underpants. Phase 2, "?". Phase 3, profit. That is the Underpants Gnome model of policy analysis. How do we get from collecting underpants to profit? Here's the Burgh Diaspora version ...

Phase 1: Create a cool city.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Retain talent.

That will be $500,000. Thank you for your patronage, Memphis. Consulting is fun!

In this fashion, Ian David Moss takes creative placemaking to task. It's a brilliant read. Moss kids because he loves. Between collecting underpants (i.e. "artists move in") and profit ("property values go up"), a stab at answering the questions about phase 2:

When I was in graduate school, before I came into contact with any of the research above, I created a simple model of arts-led gentrification to illustrate the specific case of a neighborhood lent a young, “hip” reputation by newly relocated artists. This model is different from others I’ve seen in a few ways. First, it casts neighborhood development as an iterative process, starting with tourism on the local level among artists. In other words, the people who are going to be checking out the happenings in a struggling outpost of the city are not, by and large, yuppies – they are other artists who are colleagues of the ones living in that neighborhood. Second, it emphasizes the role of bars and restaurants as attractors for other neighborhood visitors (including yuppies), whose viability is only made possible by the modest foot traffic generated by arts activities. And finally, it places at the beginning of the process not just arts activities, but specific kinds of arts activities: visible, storefront spaces like galleries and performance venues that signal the presence of art and draw visitors to a particular location.

Emphasis added. You go where you know. Rust Belt residents vacation in Florida. Economy in Pittsburgh tanks. Primanti Brothers opens in Fort Lauderdale. Yinzers rub elbows with snowbird Québécois.

The phase 2 black box plagues initiatives designed to influence talent migration. Magically, collecting underpants will result in profits. Pennsylvania once spent $12 million on just such a scheme. $12 million! Those Underpants Gnomes sure are persuasive.

No comments: