n. An upscale and largely self-contained suburb or town with a large population of high-tech workers employed in nearby office parks that are dominated by high-tech industries; any large collection of nerds.
Cities need a people climate more than they need a business climate," [Richard] Florida says. They need technology, but they also need talent and tolerance. In his book [The Rise of the Creative Class], he describes three kinds of high-tech communities: the "nerdistans" of the Silicon Valley; "latte towns" like Boulder, "with plentiful outdoor amenities"; and older urban areas whose rebirth is "fueled by a combination of creativity and lifestyle amenities.
South Orange County is a classic nerdistan — largely newly built, almost entirely upscale office parks, connected by a network of toll roads and superhighways to planned, often gated communities inhabited almost entirely by college educated professionals and technicians.
Today's most rapidly expanding economic regions remain those that reflect the values and cultural preferences of the nerdish culture — as epitomized by the technology-dominated, culturally undernourished environs of Silicon Valley. In the coming decade, we are likely to see the continued migration of traditional high-tech firms to new nerdistans in places like Orange County, Calif., north Dallas, Northern Virginia, Raleigh-Durham and around Redmond, Wash., home base for Microsoft.
This word combines nerd, (which the Encarta dictionary defines, almost positively, as "an enthusiast whose interest is regarded as too technical or scientific and who seems obsessively wrapped up in it") with the suffix -istan, which means "place of" or "home of." Its use as a descriptor of Silicon Valley-like areas was coined by urban analyst and writer Joel Kotkin, who provides two of the citations.