In the 2000 census, somewhere around 150,000 New Yorkers described themselves as working in the arts, design, entertainment, and sports occupations. These people, making up 4.3% of the total working population, are the nucleus of what urban theorist Richard Florida calls the "creative class".


This map, showing the density of artists and designers in the five boroughs, confirms what we already intuitively know: the creative class is centered in neighborhoods with the most cultural activity. Indeed, more than a fifth of residents in Chelsea, the Village, Soho, Tribeca, DUMBO, Williamsburg and Long Island City are engaged in creative pursuits.

Still, there are a few surprises. Clinton Hill, Long Island City and the Upper West Side are each home to comparatively more artists and designers than the Lower East Side, while Washington Heights contains the highest concentration north of Midtown.

From The Strokes to aNYthing's Aaron Bondaroff, New York's Creative Class has been an important element of reviving the city's status as cultural capital in the last decade. But are they actually essential to maintaining a healthy economy, as Florida thinks? And what can be done about artists' contradictory role both catalyst and victim of gentrification?

Adam Brock, Gothamist's mapper in residence, is a GIS specialist at the Pratt Center for Community Development and a sustainable design student at NYU's Gallatin School.