American Sociological Association

Neighborhood Diversity and the Rise of Artist Hotspots: Exploring the Creative Class Thesis Through a Neighborhood Change Lens

The diversity of the U.S. urban population has increased dramatically in recent decades, yet the processes through which population diversity may be driving neighborhood change remain insufficiently understood. Building on Claude Fischer's subcultural theory of urbanism and other classic sociological insights, this article makes the case that population diversity shapes the character of place and drives the spatial clustering of artists and art organizations. Contributing to recent debates on Richard Florida's “creative class” thesis, the paper proposes a reorientation of the conceptual and analytical focus from the predominant metropolitan area level to the neighborhood level. Analyses map and examine population and organizational data from over 850 neighborhoods in Chicago over two decades and spatially model neighborhood change. The results indicate that neighborhood diversity predicts over time an intensification of the creative scene, as reflected in rising hotspots of artists and nonprofit art organizations.


Corina Graif





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