October 18, 2013 at 7:49 am CDT

What makes a city a great place to live? We sat down with Richard Florida, the best-selling author of Rise of the Creative Class , senior editor of The Atlantic and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, which helped us create our new Livability Index. He took the time to chat after his keynote address at the Nashville Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

In the first portion, Florida talks about what makes a city a great place to live and how that’s changed over time. “In the old days, it was about what the place gives me materially. It gives me a big house, a big driveway … Now it’s what can a place cause me to experience? One thing about Miami Beach, Boulder, Rochester – the places on the list –  it becomes a community of experience.”

In the final portion of our interview, we discuss the importance of livability to fostering a good business climate and attracting talent. One key and often overlooked reason, he says, is that if you don’t have a livable city, then you wind up left with a city full of people who don’t have any choice but to stay. That’s a powerful statement. The data we’re seeing shows that people really are voting with their feet. Livable communities and even livable neighborhoods within communities are at a premium today. The good news is that cities and towns of all sizes are addressing this. As livability principles spread, more and more people will be able find and afford a quality place to live. We close the interview with discussion of small projects that any town can put in place on a budget to help improve the quality of life for its residents.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqU1g5fHkq0&w=560&h=315]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKBFvdFQSSA&w=560&h=315]