The current reality is that the so-called “Creative Class” is being priced out of the places they helped make so desirable in the first place. Many lament their expulsion brought on by gentrification. Fair enough. In many respects it’s sad that these dynamic places are becoming more homogenized and sometimes even sterilized since well paid tech workers, financiers, and corporate lawyers are great at consuming culture, but pretty spotty when it comes to generating it. Then again… let’s not forget that without wealthy patrons or state support there would be no one to underwrite the art in question. Well-intentioned government attempts to preserve low rents through legislation or the construction of subsidized housing units are helpful to the handful of people that are lucky enough to participate. But economic reality generally tends toward gentrification and displacement. So where are the new artist colonies likely to spring up? In other words, where are the new cheap undesirable places where fringe types can thrive without attracting the attention of the authorities? I see three options.
http://www.newgeography.com/content/004 ... you-expect
Yeah, the last part is silly. "The authorities" in middle-America aren't after people who write or paint, forcing them to live in a rundown "Brooklyn brownstone" to avoid the American Gestapo.
The rest of the article is about cheap places to live and shows a long series of dilapidated buildings, many unsuited for fixing up or to live in. Note at the end what the author does for a living.
To my mind, the article majors too much of finding cheap places to live and too little on finding some that are also interesting. Only an idiot would turn to "semi-abandoned muffler shops" for living accommodations when a less-expensive and already appropriate home is a block away. There are also places that, although cheap, a too depressing to live in if you're not writing novels about depressed people and need illustrations of that.
In short, he seems to have swallowed a myth about where creative types lived in the past and is trying to impose that myth on today. What never worked isn't going to work today.
That said, does anyone have ideas about where writers should live today, assuming they are free to move but constrained by the cost of living?
In Seattle, I coped for a time with the rising cost of living by taking advantage of a good part-time job market, especially ones that fit well with writing. I hated having to work after midnight doing inside security at events at a popular Seattle venue, but the job had a major advantage. Work typically started about 6 pm, when I was too tired to write anyway. The time it took cost me nothing.
I'm now living in a mid-sized college town where the cost of living is much less and discovering what things to do exist here. With a 27,000 student university a ten-minute walk away, there is intellectual stimulation. I now own a home, so I'm less troubled that the town is growing fast enough, the costs of renting or buying are likely to go up.
I've also toyed with the idea of living in an interesting big city far away, perhaps someplace still inexpensive in Eastern Europe or perhaps I could find a microscopic apartment, hardly bigger than the bed, up four flights of stairs in otherwise pricey London. There's a lot in London I'd like to see.
What are your best places to live as a writer ideas?