‘The places likely to suffer most from the crash…are the ones least associated with high finance’. So writes Richard Florida in the Atlantic Monthly. Florida suggests that New York, the financial centre of the US, and Washington DC, its administrative centre, are unlikely to be significantly damaged by the economic downturn. Instead, he argues that old manufacturing centres like Detroit, and sun-belt cities fuelled by property booms like Las Vegas, will suffer the most. Florida’s conclusion is that ‘Americans have been living beyond their means, using illusory housing wealth and huge slugs of foreign capital to consume far more than we’ve produced’. Substitute ‘Ireland’ for Americans, and he could equally be writing about this island. Florida’s conclusion might not be to everyone’s taste. He believes that the crisis should be used to ‘reinvent’ the US as happened in the past: Naomi Klein, in Shock Doctrine, has a much less benign view of the ways in which crises are used by capital. But Florida has one suggestion that could radically change Irish society; that of removing home ownership from its privileged place in the Irish economy. Imagine the very different geographies that would emerge in a society based on residence rather than ownership rights.
(More) geographies of the crash