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of an enterprise begins with a sense “Transformation of crisis or urgency. No Institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.

Lou Gerstner, Former IBM Chairman

Making the Grass Greener

Fresno Skyline Photo by Fomhoire

Recommendations to Retain, Attract, Develop, and Support Knowledge Workers

Repo rt to

Mayor Alan Autry & The Fresno City Council Pr esented by

Mayor’s Creative Economy Council

January 9, 2006


Why Should You Care?

The task of the Creative Economy Council was not to restate problems but rather to find solutions. The quotes that follow speak volumes about the need for transformation.


Fresno’s future is not for ONE of us; it’s for all of us. If you care about having a tax base, if you care about being able to offer a hand up (not a hand out), if you care about creating spaces that our children

WANT to come home to, then you care about this report.

Rebecca Ryan Next Generation Consulting and author of Hot Jobs-Cool Communities Report

The region suffers from a brain drain unlike any other in California. The loss of its best and brightest is felt from Fresno south to the Tehachapi Mountains. When the area’s most educated residents leave, ‘it takes away from the culture and intellectual life of the valley,’ said George Raney, 67. It also hamstrings the economy, strains the social fabric and puts a damper on the quality of life here in California’s

agricultural heartland.

Los Angeles Times Maria L. LaGanga November 20, 2005 


“Fresno, Miami, and Los Angeles face ongoing challenges to

“It’s a familiar story: A top student

integrate new immigrant populations, who often arrive in

from Edison High School graduates,

‘gateway’ neighborhoods with low levels of education and

leaves Fresno to study engineering or

labor market skills… The guiding principles must be to create

law, starts a business and then never

new neighborhoods of choice and connection.”

returns ­­— except of course, for family

The Brookings Institution Katrina’s Window: Confronting Concentrated Poverty Across America October 2005

reunions. Or a talented emerging artist or journalist permanently trades the Valley’s lower cost of living for the acclaim provided by more

“Socioeconomic conditions in the San Joaquin Valley as measured by a range of variables including per capita income, poverty and unemployment rates, and median household income reveal an area that falls significantly below national and California averages.”

expensive cities. But Fresno a center of innovation? A destination for young artists, designers, and other idea people?” Creative Fresno Summit Summary April 2004

Congressional Research Service Preliminary Data on Federal Direct Expenditures & Possible Policy Issues Relating to the San Joaquin Valley February 4, 2005

“It isn’t enough to wire the streets; we “On a clear day, San Joaquin [Valley] looks like a bucolic farming community, complete with almond groves, cornfields and orange trees. But most of the time the Valley — trapped between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges, with two major highways running north to south through it — is smoggy, filled with air that has fostered widespread respiratory disease.

also need to have wire in our offices, factories, schools, libraries, and homes. Enterprises need Intranets that allow employees to get email, share printers, and connect to administrative services. We also need

Fifteen percent of the region’s children have asthma, a rate three times the national average. Fresno — the Valley’s biggest city — has the third-highest rate of asthma in the country, and the San Joaquin Valley rivals Los Angeles and Houston for the dubious title of worst air quality in the nation.” Washington Post Juliet Eilperin September 26, 2005

wireless access for mobile workers, for convenience, and as a backup network if there are problems with the wireless system.” Report to the Community: Connecting Fresno County Assessing Our Readiness for the Networked World January 2002


Table of Contents

W hy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 G lossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 E xec utive S ummary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 M indset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 S mart Gro wth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 U rban L ivin g . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Q uality of Pla c e. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 B eyond Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 C he c klist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 T h anks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 3 App endi c es. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54


Glossary of Terms Creative Class

 term coined by Richard Florida, a Carnegie Mellon social scientist, to describe an A emerging class of professionals whose job it is to develop new ideas. The creative class includes very specific fields of work and is a subset of the larger group of creative professionals.

Creative Professional

O  ften used synonymously with knowledge workers, a creative professional is a subset group of knowledge workers. A creative professional is defined as someone whose sole economic function is to create new ideas. This includes artists, architects, designers, technologists, and scientists.

Knowledge Workers Often used synonymously with creative professionals, knowledge workers are a broader group of professionals who, according to, make a living at the tasks of developing or using knowledge. A knowledge worker contributes to the transformation and commerce of information. A term first used by Peter Drucker in his 1959 book, Landmarks of Tomorrow. This includes those in the information technology fields, academic professionals, researchers, lawyers, financial planners, and the like. Mindset

A  ccording to Wikipedia, “A mindset, in decision theory and general systems theory, refers to a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. This phenomenon of cognitive bias is also sometimes described as mental inertia, ‘groupthink,’ or a ‘paradigm,’ and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon analysis and decision making processes.”


A way of thinking that accepts the differences of people, keeps in mind the current and future trends and the effects of actions taken.

Social Marketing

Techniques to influence a target audience to voluntarily accept, reject, modify or abandon a behavior for the benefit of individuals, groups or society as a whole.

Third Space

Coined by Ray Oldenburg (1989), in The Great Good Place, third spaces are distinctive informal gathering places. They are not home (first place), and they are not work (second place). They are community-meeting places. Places where chance meetings occur and casually turn into leisurely discussions. Third spaces encourage sociability, enrich public life and democracy, and are crucial to a thriving community.

The Third Space brings about “the kinds of relationships and the diversity of human contact that are the essence of the city,” Oldenburg wrote. Tipping Point

A  ccording to Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, the term, “Tipping Point,” comes from the world of epidemiology. It’s the name given to that moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It’s the boiling point. It’s the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards.

Vehicle Miles Traveled

T  he total number of miles traveled in automobile and other vehicles for a specified area. 


Economic Opportunity + Creative Mindset + Quality of Place = More Knowledge Workers


his report makes some assumptions. It assumes Fresno would like to retain, attract, develop, and support more knowledge workers and creative professionals. New trends in economic and civic development connect positive and sustained growth to the activities of knowledge workers. The goal of this report is to stimulate thinking of civic leaders

in the City of Fresno to develop a place where creative professionals and knowledge workers will choose as their home. This report also assumes that change is needed and wanted; otherwise there is no need to do a report. For Fresno to retain, attract, develop, and support creative professionals and knowledge workers, there must be changes. The good news is that the change is simple; to start we only have to change our minds.

Methodology The Mayor’s Creative Economy Council (CEC) is an advisory group made up of volunteers who were requested to develop recommendations for Mayor Alan Autry and the City of Fresno on how to retain, attract, develop, and support creative professionals.


The CEC was formed as a follow up to the Creative Fresno Survey, “Livability Priorities for the Fresno Creative Class” championed by Fresno City Council Member Henry T. Perea. CEC Members were chosen based on their ability to represent a wide constituency or a particular expertise. All were required to have an entrepreneurial perspective to problem solving, a desire to make the Fresno area a better place, and to have an understanding of the “Creative Cities” movement. This report was an effort by a group of citizens passionate about Fresno’s future. The CEC did not cover every possible topic in this report, but hopes that the major issues were addressed, and that the examples provided will clarify corresponding recommendations. The report is a start, not an end to recommendations to civic leaders on how the City of Fresno and its surrounding region can achieve greater success in becoming a “Creative City.” The CEC reviewed and shared information and research on the Creative Cities Movement and related quality of life topics. Meeting weekly over the course of three months, the council interviewed subject matter experts in key areas to gain an understanding of the issues and key drivers that would make the biggest impact on change. Some important topics, such as education, were outside the scope of this report — though clearly education plays a prominent role in the future of our region. Subject matter experts: Joyce Aiken, Fresno Arts Council Reza Assemi, Artist/Urban Developer JP Batmale, RJI Renewable Energy Task Force Tony Boren, Council of Fresno County Governments Paula Castadio, Fresno Coalition for Art, Science and History and KVPT Cynthia Cooper, Fresno Coalition for Art, Science and History Dan DeSantis, Fresno Regional Foundation John Downs, City of Fresno Transportation Department Gord Hume, City of London (Ontario, Canada) Gary Janzen, Janzen IdeaCorp Mark Keppler, Clovis Community Foundation and Tree Fresno Bill Kuebler, Tower District Marketing Association David Lighthall, Relational Culture Institute Jim Michael, RJI Technology Infrastructure Task Force Marlene Murphey, City of Fresno Redevelopment Agency Bruce Owdom, Tower District Marketing Committee


Jon Ruiz, City of Fresno and RJI Physical Infrastructure Task Force MaryAnne Seay, City of Fresno Parks & Recreation Department Dan Whitehurst, former Mayor and former Fresno City Council Member Russ Widmar, Fresno Yosemite International Airport Nick Yovino, City of Fresno Planning and Development On October 11, 2005, the CEC held a public summit facilitated by Tom Jones from WORx Consulting. Over 60 participants joined in the discussion and voiced recommendations. Additional feedback was gathered online via the Fresno CEC web site and other online resources. All of this information was considered in writing the final report and is included in the appendix.

The Creative Economy and Knowledge Workers Making Fresno more attractive to creative professionals is the way to grow our local economy. But who is a creative person/knowledge worker — and how can they play a role in our economic future? In a knowledge-based economy, knowledge workers are in demand. A hundred years ago the engines of the industrial age needed the might and muscle of skilled factory workers. Today, the processors of the information age require the ideas and creativity of skilled problem-solvers. This demand gives knowledge workers amazing options. A savvy graphic designer can pack up her Apple laptop, jump on a plane and run a successful business from anywhere with wireless access. A retired corporate executive can start a management consulting company and start-over with a second career. Knowledge workers have the power of choice, and they mostly choose cities that have robust economies with many career options and cultural and recreational amenities. According to The Hudson Institutes report, Beyond Workforce 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be 23 million Baby Boomers leaving the workforce as they reach retirement age. There are only 10 million non-Boomers to replace them. So, for every 2.3 people leaving the workforce, there is only one person to replace them ­— and they are more ethnically, age, and gender diverse. Cities and companies will need to compete to keep or attract the best and brightest. Creative people want to live and work in a progressive environment. If Fresno wants to keep and attract creative people it will have to work toward becoming a place where new ideas are respected, differences are accepted, and there is a palpable sense that Fresno is a special place. Fresno must embrace and be a catalyst for positive change that will enhance the quality of life of all segments of the community. Resisting


change sends a message that new ideas and innovative ways

Why change?

for solving problems are not respected. Why would a creative

If for no other reason, a

person want to be in a place that resists change?

great motivation should

Creative people and knowledge workers use their head to solve problems. This is their talent. If there are not any problems, then there are not any problems to solve. If a city does not admit to having any problems, then solutions are not very welcome. We must be honest and forthright in recognizing the issues facing our community, and we must be open to new ways of solving those issues.

be: I want Fresno to be the kind of place where my children and grandchildren would like to return, would choose to raise their kids or even just to visit me. Are your children going to move back to Fresno after

The desire to solve problems can lead to innovative activity.

they have gone away to

Innovative activity attracts innovative people. Innovative

school? Will they come

people produce innovative solutions. Innovative solutions lead

back after they have

to the desire to solve problems. A positive cycle develops.

experienced the big city? When they are ready to

For a city to keep and attract creative people, it has to be

settle down, raise their

creative. Problems should be embraced as opportunities to

kids, and grow their careers

develop innovative solutions. Innovation based on knowledge

or start a business, will

should be encouraged and rewarded.

Fresno be a viable option?

Creativity requires a degree of boldness.

To survive economically in a creative economy,

Will young people leave

Fresno needs to foster the creativity of its

because there are not

people and to attract others into the population.

enough opportunities

In the near future, either Fresno will become a

for career advancement?

part of the creative economy, or we will simply

Will young people leave

exist to provide cheap services to those cities and regions who

because there are not the

are thriving in the creative economy. Regions that only provide

lifestyle amenities that

services to the dominant economy can expect lower incomes

other cities offer? Will

and the continued flight of the best and brightest citizens, not

entrepreneurs be forced to

unlike a Third World country.

move their businesses into

Creativity requires a certain degree of boldness. America was and is a bold experiment. When JFK announced that we would put a man on the moon, the nation rose to the creative challenge. Fresno can learn from past examples of greatness. We can set challenges for ourselves that stretch our problemsolving abilities and attract others who are interested in joining the effort. This report takes on the challenge by articulating a set of goals and priorities that will lead to positive change and a brighter future for our citizens.

other regions to be able to have skilled employees? Will people have to leave our area to upgrade their education? These are the questions that should be asked by every Fresno family, parent, and grandparent.


What Factors Most Influence Knowledge Workers’ Location Decisions? Excerpt from The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida Balance Knowledge workers are highly mobile and essentially balance economic opportunity and lifestyle in selecting cities and regions that are attractive to them as places to live and work. Thus, challenging, high-paying, high tech jobs, while obviously necessary, are alone not enough to attract the best and the brightest. Labor Market Knowledge workers are highly mobile and anticipate moving among various employers and thus favor cities and regions with a “thick labor market” that offers the wide variety of employment opportunities required to sustain a career in high technology fields. Amenities “Quality of Place” — particularly the variety and accessibility of natural, recreational, and lifestyle amenities – is vital in attracting talent and thus in supporting a broad range of leading-edge high technology firms and industries. A Blend of Work and Leisure Knowledge workers seek environments that allow them to blend rather than separate their work and leisure. Due to the long work hours, fast-pace, and tight deadlines associated with work in high technology industries, they desire amenities that blend seamlessly with work and can be accessed quickly on a “just-in-time” basis when free time becomes available. A Sense of Place Knowledge workers increasingly prefer urban to suburban neighborhoods and seem particularly drawn to areas that feature interesting older structures, a range of public spaces, a blend of personal and commercial space, and the bustle and buzz of varied activity including work, shopping, and entertainment. They prefer the kind of authenticity and realness found in older cities and neighborhoods to the generic office complex and strip mall environment found in the “techno-burbs.” This increasingly urban orientation is exemplified in the tremendous success of high-tech districts such as New York’s Silicon Alley, San Francisco’s South of Market, and urban Seattle.



Active Lifestyle Knowledge workers prefer “doing” to “watching.” They prefer to participate in rather than watch sports and favor a diverse range of intense outdoor activities (rowing, sailing, cycling, rock climbing). Easy access to water and water-based recreation is particularly important. The Environment Environment – particularly air and water quality — matters. The new economy dramatically transforms the role of the environment and natural resources. What was once viewed as raw material and a sink for waste disposal must now be seen as an essential component of the total “Quality of Place” package required to attract talent and to generate economic growth. Diversity Knowledge workers seek cities and regions with diverse populations, progressive thinking, and inclusive attitudes toward a broad range of individual characteristics including race, nationality, lifestyle, and sexual preference. Knowledge workers, look for diversity as a general feature of an area, and as an indicator that they will be accepted, welcome and find people with whom they have shared interests. Creativity and Innovation Diversity is not simply an individual preference related to personal lifestyle but a basic precondition for the creativity and innovation needed to build and sustain a successful high tech region. Creativity and innovation are the key success factors of the new economy, and new ideas thrive in diverse environments. In other words, being competitive requires innovation, and innovation in turn requires diversity.



Creative Economy Council Report Highlights This report looks at four spheres of change that can lead to transforming Fresno into a community that will retain, attract, develop, and support knowledge workers: Mindset, Smart Growth, Urban Living, and Quality of Place. Within each are strategic goals and recommendations that can be put into action today.

MINDSET Mindset is a sphere of change that addresses how the community views itself and how public policy can change and reinvent those views. • Strategic Goal: “Stay the Course” Adhere to and fully integrate the goals of the 2025 Fresno General Plan. • Strategic Goal: “Location, Location, Location” Creatively market Fresno-area attributes both internally and externally. • Strategic Goal: “Take the Lead” As the geographic center of California, the Fresno Metropolitan Area should work to provide leadership and support to the entire Central Valley. • Strategic Goal: “Celebrate, Leverage and Capitalize on our Diversity” Ensure that Fresno is a place that celebrates its cultural and ethnic diversity.

SMART GROWTH Smart Growth is a sphere of change that addresses Fresno’s growing population through smart planning and long-range vision. • Strategic Goal: “More than Standard” Commit to excellence in design standards. • Strategic Goal: “Think Green” Establish the Fresno region as a national leader in clean technology development and entrepreneural startups. • Strategic Goal: “Prioritize Parks, not Parking” Foster and promote green spaces and outdoor recreation throughout the city.



URBAN Living Urban Living is a sphere of change that makes the connection between the health of the city’s urban core and the attractiveness of the community as a whole. • Strategic Goal: “Everything Downtown” Create and promote a vibrant and livable Downtown. • Strategic Goal: “Be Authentic” Prioritize the older, unique areas of Fresno. • Strategic Goal: “One City, Many Neighborhoods” Commit to developing individual districts. • Strategic Goal: “Move to the Center” Improve transportation to and in the urban core.

QUALITY OF PLACE This sphere of change addresses the importance of Quality of Place to knowledge workers. • Strategic Goal: “Third Spaces” Foster and promote those places that are neither home nor work, yet where community is built. • Strategic Goal: “Step Across the Digital Divide” Focus resources on access to and investment in technology. • Strategic Goal: “Listen to the Music” Promote and foster loud, lively stroll districts. • Strategic Goal: “From an ArtHop to an Art Revolution” Foster and promote art and culture.

Beyond today A long-term vision for the future of Fresno Those of us who declare ourselves knowledge workers and members of the Creative Class are proud to live in Fresno. We choose to live here. We believe that we can achieve the goals of this report and that we can make Fresno a great choice for our children.


Executive Summary: Creative Economy Council Report  

As a follow up to the "Livability Priorities for the Fresno Creative Class," Mayor Autry and Councilmen Henry Perea develop the Mayor's Crea...