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On Monday, I wrote about a new report that found that Detroit’s highest-paying jobs are becoming increasingly clustered in the city’s downtown and midtown neighborhoods — areas where techcompanies like Twitter and Microsoft have or will soon have outposts. A reader commented it sounded like a case of not being able to please everyone. After all, more high-paying jobs is a good thing — especially if your options are (a) fewer tech companies coming to town and thus fewer high-paying jobs or (b) innovation districts where many of the high-paying tech jobs are located within several blocks of one another.
It’s a good point, but cities would be wise to closely track economic segregation in their town. In a working paper published at the end of July, City Lab cofounder Richard Florida studied what role innovation and concentration of high-tech industries plays in economic segregation across more than 350 U.S. metro areas. (Florida and coauthor Charlotta Mellander used number of patents as a numerical representation of innovation.)
The pair did not find a direct causal link between the concentration of high-tech industries, the number of patents, and the level of economic segregation in a metro area. Rather, they found that the level of economic segregation is more closely associated with factors such as population size, average income, and average education levels of a metro.
Even if they’re not playing a role in it, tech companies should be concerned about economic segregation. Florida writes in City Lab, “innovation depends upon the clustering, diversity and intermixing of people in places. To the degree that cities and metros are becoming more segregated by income, education and occupation, their capacity to innovate and create new technology is likely to decline.”
Florida has a couple of suggestions as to how tech companies can work to reduce economic segregation in there cities — for example, by investing in improving infrastructure citywide rather than creating infrastructure and transit offerings exclusively for their employees.
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Thanks for reading,
Heartland Tech Reporter
FROM THE HEARTLAND TECH CHANNEL
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