Jeroen Oerlemans Fotografie

Guru of urban reformation and author of the best-selling Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida returns to Tacoma, September 21-22, where he wowed ‘em as keynote speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting in 2005. Florida will convene a group of about 30 leaders from the arts and business communities to participate in the Tacoma-Pierce County Creative Cities Leadership Seminar. This pilot project will develop a plan, along the lines of Florida’s development model focusing on three Ts — Technology, Talent and Tolerance, to advance the city’s economy and improve the quality of life for all who live here. Here’s some of Florida’s thinking in advance of the seminar:

“I had really positive first impressions of Tacoma, which I’d never visited before I came to address the Chamber meeting almost two years ago. The energy in that hall and among the stakeholders I spoke with afterwards indicated a city and region that’s interested in moving forward, in creating even better quality of life for everyone in Tacoma-Pierce.

In many ways Tacoma is already well-positioned for the evolving creative economy. The most important step is to fully understand the extent of Tacoma-Pierce’s existing creative economy assets and build upon them via the three T’s of economic development.

We need to involve the entire community in these efforts so that people feel as though they can comment and participate in defining Tacoma-Pierce’s future. The 30 seminar participants are tasked with becoming proselytizers of this work so that we generate the widest levels of knowledge-building, inclusion and constructive input for our initiatives.

By empowering local folks to effect change and move their city and region forward, I feel that Tacoma will be able to make changes that otherwise would not occur. And that will allow your unique, lovely city to become an even finer place for all to live, work and play.”