Monday, July 10, 2006

How creative is Memphis?

Commercial doorway on Madison Avenue, MemphisThis post doesn't answer that question. Instead, it will point you to this report [pdf alert] on creative cities featured in the Tennessean.

How does Memphis stack up?

Arts Businesses: 1,118; Rank: 31st

Arts Employees, 7,832; Rank: 29th

Percent Change in Arts Businesses, 2004-2005: 5.77%; Rank: 44th

Arts Employees Per 1000 Residents: 11.66; Rank: 56th

Arts Businesses Per 1000 Residents: 1.66; Rank: 76th

3 things:
  1. the report is based on Dun & Bradstreet business registrations so tends to underreport non-profits and those not versed in matters business. Whether that would tilt the numbers for or against Memphis is left as an exercise for the reader and/or me.
  2. I would like to know how fertile a city is. How does a city stack up creatively when money isn't a factor? If you took away the patrons, would a city still create, or would it sit on the couch and watch TV? Perhaps by taking the numbers from the report and dividing by each city's disposable income per capita we'd have an idea. I'd like to think Memphis would be near the tops on such a ranking, but who knows? I believe, but I don't know.
  3. Memphis drops in the "Per 1000 Residents" categories, but it appears they're using the population of the cities, rather than metropolitan areas, for these rankings. This would skew the rankings against Memphis, since even today most of the Memphis metropolitan area is the City of Memphis. Memphis arts businesses serve a metropolitan area that's less than twice the size of the City of Memphis. San Francisco, on the other hand, which has about 75,000 more citizens in its borders than Memphis does, serves a metropolitan area nearly 5 times its population.
Anyway the report is interesting and not bad news in my opinion, which is good news.


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