In the essay, Florida argues that major periods of economic stress, like the current recession, give rise to new economies, which is related to new geographies, or shifts in population concentration. Referring to the “Long Depression” of roughly 1873-1896, the shift in our “economic geography” is described thus:
In 1870, New England mill towns like Lowell, Lawrence, Manchester, and Springfield were among the country’s most productive industrial cities, and America’s population overwhelminglylived in the countryside. By 1900, the economic geography had been transformed from a patchwork of farm plots and small mercantile towns to a landscape increasingly dominated by giant factory cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo.
Over a century ago (and before the Great Depression), the context for the Church’s mission shifted along with the economic geography.
I’ll take a few more posts to look at this article and think aloud about potential implications for the church’s mission in the new economic geography, no matter how closely it resembles the one forecasted by Mr. Florida. For now, I thought I’d share the link for anyone interested in checking it out. There are a couple of online pieces related that I’ve yet to check out–author interview, interactive map–but I’ll look at those and see if/how they might relate to this conversation.