It’s the height of summer, and soon, back-to-school commercials will dominate our television screens.
Students won’t be the only ones hitting the books this coming semester, however, as New York University (NYU) just announced a new course load entitled  “Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities.” Created by Richard Florida, it aims to help city leaders make the creative field accessible for all economic classes.
That’s because in New York City, a city prized for its creative industry, 3 million residents don’t have home internet access. And in the Big Apple’s public schools, there is only one computer science teacher for every 11,000 students.
The goal?  To teach city officials, nonprofit leaders and economic development professionals the tools to expand the wealth of the creative class to a greater and more diverse population. Included in this course is a class called “Tools and Techniques for Understanding Urban Economies,” which teaches how to correctly assess community assets.
Students will also have the opportunity to take “Principles of Economic Development,” which is anything but your normal economics class, as it focuses on how “technology, talent, tolerance and territorial assets” are the “strategy for competitiveness in the creative age.”
According to Florida’s interview with Next City, “I thought we could build an educational model that wasn’t so cloistered and was very much broader based” with a goal “to ‘preach the gospel of urbanism’ to a really broad group of people… This initiative is another mechanism for doing this.”
The boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn already experienced their boom, and Florida hopes this course will carry that growth to the people living in the area — from Staten Island to the Bronx. For many people in these communities and in the rest of the city, Florida cites low wages, not high rent as the main cause of economic immobility in NYC.
While the lucrative creative class remains an exclusive group, sending these city leaders back to school may break down those cliquey borders and promote inclusion in this broad city — or at the very least, set the wheels in motion.
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