(The World) Skateboarding, Richard Florida and Vancouver
Michael Gordon is a Vancouver skaterboy (...)Mr. Gordon's devotion to skateboarding runs deep. As a planner, he was instrumental in the liberalizing of local bylaws this month that made Vancouver the most skateboard-friendly city in North America. It's one of the very few big cities that allow skateboarding on the street. In most municipalities, doing so brings a stiff fine, if not the confiscation of the board -- something Vancouver police can no longer do.
Although proud of the nod to skateboarders, Mr. Gordon says the issue isn't just him and his passion for the sport; it's the kind of city he wants Vancouver to become.
Skateboarders are, as a rule, creative and individualistic, he says, adding that cities friendly to them are generally more interested in cultivating an artistic, innovative population, the kind that makes a city thrive. (...) Such thinking is very much in keeping with the new theory of urban renewal outlined in last year's bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. This theory, which prizes original thinking as a city's greatest resource, is the planning flavour of the moment in city halls from coast to coast. (...) The bohemian index (used by Florida to evaluate the creative potential of cities) gauges how tolerant a city is toward its gay and lesbian population, and Mr. Gordon said the same could be done for its attitude to skateboarders. "How you treat your skateboarders is symptomatic of how you're going to embrace a creative class of people."