Neighborhood diversity and the creative class in Chicago

Bradley Bereitschaft, Rex Cammack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Richard Florida's creative class theory posits that highly skilled workers with creative- or knowledge-intensive occupations are particularly sensitive to 'quality of place', a key component of which is an open and tolerant attitude toward different peoples, cultures, and lifestyles. While diversity, as a proxy for tolerance, has proven to be a relatively weak pull-factor at the inter-metropolitan level, the potential role of neighborhood-level diversity in the residential location of creative class workers has yet to be explored empirically. In this study we use ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and geographically weighted regression (GWR) to test the hypothesis that there exists significant associations between particular types of neighborhood diversity (i.e., sexual orientation, language, race, and income) and the proportion of workers with specific creative class occupations. The results of our Chicago case study suggest a significant positive relationship between the creative class and the proportion of gay households and income diversity, but not racial or linguistic diversity. Overall, diversity appears to play a limited role in predicting where creative class workers reside, though the GWR analysis indicated substantial spatial variation in the strength of association between neighborhood diversity and creative class share across the study area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-183
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Chicago
  • Creative class
  • Income diversity
  • Linguistic diversity
  • Neighborhood diversity
  • Racial diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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