thinkers50 ranked thinker

Richard Florida


Urbanist, champion of gentrification and the positive role of the “creative class” on city neighbourhood rejuvenation.

01. ranked thinker

Ranked # 19 in 2017.

Previous positions: # 14 ( 2015), and # 25 ( 2013).


Founder of the Creative Class Group and co-founder of CityLab.


Described as an “intellectual rock star” by Fast Company magazine.


Florida is an urban studies theorist. He coined the concept of the creative class, which helped characterise the widespread gentrification of urban neighbourhoods. His theory on the power of place, he argues, is as important as ever, despite technology and globalisation suggesting that where you live doesn’t matter anymore. Florida has also addressed the downside of the back-to-the-city movement, and tackled the problems of gentrification, inequality and segregation by proposing more inclusive cities, capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all.




Florida is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, and professor of business and creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He is also a research professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies, and is a senior editor of The Atlantic. Florida received a PhD from Columbia University  in 1986. He taught at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, from 1987 to 2005, and spent two years at George Mason’s School of Public Policy. 


The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class  – and What We Can Do About It (Basic Books, 2018); Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life (Basic Books, 2009); The Rise of the Creative ClassAnd How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life (Basic Books, 2002 ).




Media Picks


“Florida changed the framework for discussing social and economic inequality

Herbert Muschamp, New York Times, Year in Review