How to choose the best place to live for your career

Richard Florida is the author of “The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class — and What We Can Do About It.” Here, the urbanist explains how to choose the best place to live for your career. Whether you’re fresh out of college or you’ve just had your first child, Florida has an idea of where you should be looking to live. Following is a transcript of the video.

It’s not enough to get a great degree anymore. You really have to go to a place that has the labour market in your industry, and that isn’t many places. You know, if you want to do finance, you’re going to New York, you’re going to London, you’re going to Hong Kong, maybe you can go to Toronto. If you’re going to do media … you’re going to go to New York or London or maybe San Francisco. If you’re going to do movies and film and entertainment, you’re going to LA. If you’re going to do music you’re going to do New York or LA or London or Nashville.

So, these job markets are very concentrated. So the one thing I can say, for sure, when you’re young when you don’t have a family when you can cram 16 people in a rental apartment, the amount of value-added you’ll get to your career — it almost dictates that you go to these places. I think the question then becomes, you know, we make several big moves in our lives. I wrote about this in a book called “Who’s Your City”. The first move is that move after college where we position ourselves in a labour market.

The second move is not when we get married, it’s when we have kids. And here, I think, what people tend to do is they tend, if they’re priced out of Manhattan or they’re priced out of the center of San Francisco or Back Bay in Boston. They tend to look first at the suburbs. Right? They tend to say, “Well, you know, I can get more space. I can get a backyard.” They don’t do enough of a search, I think, of looking at other cities. You know, does it make sense for me to go to Pittsburgh or take a look at Detroit, or should I head to a place like Atlanta or Minneapolis?

So I think one thing I would encourage people at that stage, once they built a network — I met Peter Jackson a long time ago and I went to visit him in Wellington, the great director, and he said this. He said, I went to LA and established a great film directing career. I couldn’t start off in Wellington, New Zealand. But once I had developed that network, then I could move back to Wellington, which I love — I’m from.

But I could also create, at a much lower cost, a studio complex where I could attract global talent, ’cause, Peter Jackson, I’m making cool movies, I can have a facility and I can track people. So I think at that stage, people need to be a little bit — I would encourage people to be a little bit more all-encompassing and a little bit more strategic about their choice of where to live when they get a little bit older and more established.

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