September 15 , 2008
The Distinctive City
Dr. Ann Markusen, Director of the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Venue: San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo De San Antonio
Crafting the Distinctive City: San Jose hosts the most diversified "left brain" high tech economy in the world, but its "right brain" labor force is under-developed. Markusen will show how cities around the globe are creating portfolios of distinctive activities as a hedge against growing competition and how human and cultural capital is becoming central to this project. Artists and designers are under-represented in San Jose for the size of its workforce, yet they contribute directly to the local economy through the self-employed income they earn and by providing area employers with the visual, performance and writing skills that make their products successful. They also make cities more attractive places to live and work, helping to retain and attract other entrepreneurs and skilled workers. Savvy cities elsewhere invested strategically in artist live/work and studio buildings, artist's centers, designated arts districts, smaller scale and neighborhood artistic spaces, festivals, grants and technical assistance program to shore up and diversify their arts and cultural talent pool.
Professor Markusen is the author of numerous books and articles on artists, cities, and high-tech economic development. She has served as a Brookings Institution Economic Policy Fellow and a Fulbright Lecturer in Brazil and has consulted for the Clinton Administration, the World Bank and the OECD.