Back in 2009, Richard Florida observed that, “Worldwide people are crowding into a discrete number of mega-regions, systems of multiple cities and their surrounding suburban rings.” This trend resulted in what he calls “talent-clustering.” Flowering from this clustering, Florida claims, arises “the creative class.”
I find this particularly interesting when you overlay it with the stuff Sébastien Paquet has been talking about in regards to “Emergent Cities.” He writes,
“Ideas — big ideas — are flying fast and furious, and I’m starting to get the sense that they’re set to begin to gel together over the coming year.
“Most of these people are now aware of one another and adeptly making use of microblogging — talking AND listening — to become acquainted with one another and building mutual trust and knowledge. They are first-rate knowledge network weavers.
“Network weaving is critical, I believe, because if something groundbreaking is to emerge of all these interactions, it will first have been nurtured within the protected environment of community - just like innovations start out as fragile prototypes in the lab before getting robust and making it big in the real world.”
What he sees is a set of tools and customs — protocols — that give people of commons interests to grow “virtual cities.” He doesn’t mean virtual in the sense of “online.” He means virtual in the sense that there is no legal demarcation of city limits. They are bonds of citizenry that exist in the mind.
“Joining the right emergent city provides a creative person with affordances to: “Share her ideas and goals;
- “Get oriented in the network of members;
- “Enter relationships with people who need what she wants to create;
- “Become known (gain “currency”) and build reputation and trust relationships;
- “Get support in the form of knowledge and perhaps time;
- “Find partners who share her intent;
- “Develop the skills she needs;
- “Mentor others who are on a similar path;
- “Feel a sense of belonging;
- “Disengage, if she’s not getting what she needs.”
You could argue that Paquet is talking about nothing new. “He’s just talking about communities of practice.” Sure, that argument has weight. But when I consider that the groups he is talking will have their own productive capability, their own currency systems, their own reputation management systems, their own markets, their own “exports,” I think the concept look less like like a community of co-workers and more like the ecology of a city.
So, if the later is true, how does this change our conception of peer-to-peer activity?
Just something to think about.