chapter  3
11 Pages

Planning for “cool”

Millennials and the innovation economy of cities
ByTara Vinodrai

This chapter puts into context the urban labour markets and economies in which Millennials are participating. It begins with the idea that firms, governments, and other actors are placing a premium on entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity. In response, planners and other city builders have been seeking ways to create “cool” places that will act as the crucibles of the next economy. The chapter takes stock of recent literature to situate and frame our understanding of the urban economies that Millennials are encountering. It reviews the debate about creativity and innovation in cities, as well as literature on the changing nature and organization of work and labour markets, highlighting concerns about increasing precariousness. Related to these shifts, the chapter identifies the growing emphasis on entrepreneurship and how this is being articulated in the urban landscape. The chapter highlights recent city-building initiatives that mobilize these ideas via innovation districts, co-working spaces and maker spaces. These initiatives focused on revitalizing and reimagining cities are enacted by policymakers, planners and city managers in their quest to attract an innovative and entrepreneurial generation of highly educated, urban Millennials. The chapter concludes by suggesting that these initiatives may in fact be contributing to a generationed city, as well as social and spatial inequalities.