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— An area's economic success no longer depends on its economic geography -- "what's in the ground -- ore, water," says Dunigan. "Microsoft can locate anywhere." And company chief executives over and over say that they want to see cultural amenities. "The existence of a professional sports team is never in the top ten" of chief-executive preferences, says Dunigan. San Diego has universities, scientific research institutes, and other features attractive to the creative class. It is essential that culture continue to flourish, says Dunigan.

Here's how Florida puts it: "Cities like Buffalo, New Orleans, and Louisville struggled in the 1980s and 1990s to become the next 'Silicon Somewhere' by building generic high tech office parks or subsidizing professional sports teams. Yet they lost members of the creative class. Not once during any of my focus groups and interviews did the members of the creative class mention professional sports as playing a role of any sort in their choice of where to live and work." But the arts are essential.

Courtney Coyle, a member of the arts commission, says spending cuts have left the staff "barebones. I don't know what would happen if we took additional cuts. And what about the institutions that we fund? We are concerned that people will have to close doors and stop programming; artists will move elsewhere. That will have economic reverberations."

No doubt it will. The only solution may be for members of the creative class to make bushels of money and donate it generously.

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