Florida in the Global South: How Eurocentrism Obscures Global Urban Challenges—and What We Can Do about It


According to Richard Florida, the world is in the grip of a ‘New Urban Crisis’. In his most recent book Florida recounts a visit to Medellín that provoked an epiphany in which he realized that the New Urban Crisis is global in scope. Unfortunately, Florida’s discovery of the global South is informed by a deeply Eurocentric understanding of urbanization. This leads him to conclude that Southern cities should ‘unleash’ creativity, and he proposes that the United States should develop a global urban policy that would export a version of American urbanism. In this essay we deconstruct Florida’s notion of the New Urban Crisis and show that its Eurocentric assumptions obscure the very real environmental, economic and political challenges facing cities in the global South and their residents.