Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

20 July, 2012

Apparently Madison Doesn't Subsidize the "Creative Class" Enough

With the latest monthly jobs numbers showing an increase in unemployment in Wisconsin creating jobs is on most people's minds. On Wednesday the Madison Economic Development Committee met with "several young entrepreneurs" who explained how they could benefit with a little help. OK, swell. Helping homegrown businesses succeed is a good thing, generally speaking. However, I got a bit confused the further I got in the article which is woefully short in specifics.

Aaron Olver, Madison’s director of economic development, asked what they would wish for.

High-speed internet access and a program providing bus passes, shared bicycles or parking, Austin said.

A “web district” from East Washington Avenue to Lake Monona, with offices, cafes, and apartments that allow cats, said Brad Brzesiak, a principal at web development company Bendyworks.


Austin is Preston Austin who co-founded Murfie.com. The company has a suite in the U.S. Bank building on the Square. How could it not have high-speed internet access? My understanding is that there are miles of fiber optic cable underneath the Square. How else does DOA move data between their offices on East Wilson and the data center on the southeast side? And he wants bicycle sharing. Don't we have that already? A program providing bus passes, eh? Well, if he wants such a program then he should enter into negotiations with Madison Metro. It sure sounds like Austin wants the city, i.e. – we taxpayers, to pay for these things although the article is not clear on this point. However, when I read that help would come in the form of "providing central city work space, affordable Downtown housing, transportation and strong Internet access", I get worried because I read that to mean the city would provide these things.

The whole time I was reading the article I was thinking about the Metro Innovation Center. They offer a "1 GB dedicated UW data connection". It's centrally located on major bus route. We live in the proposed web district and have a cat as do many people I know who live in the area. What is wrong with it? What do these people really want? I wish the author had provided more details and context instead of simply throwing in a few quotes. What else happened at this meeting?

The worst part of the article is that we can now expect a blog post from Dave Cieslewicz spouting more Richard Florida BS and complaining that the city isn't spending enough money to retain our creative class.
|| Palmer, 3:47 PM

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