Just back from a polished presentation by Richard Florida, hosted by Mount Allison University and the town of Sackville. Florida covered many of the basics from his previous books. I picked up Flight of the Creative Class (now in paperback) and will check out his new book when it’s on the shelves – Who’s Your City.
Florida reviewed the basic five pillars of any prosperous community, based on 30,000 surveys, from least to most important:
- Basic Infrastructure
- Opportunity to do what one wants
- Leadership at all levels
- Open minded and diverse culture
- Quality of place
He also discussed the role that Canada can play in fostering prosperous communities for the post-industrial era because we seem to be more open to experimentation. It was good to see many members of our community attending the lecture and I feel that we may be ready to work hard at creating a more open and diverse town, because as Florida says, “People don’t move to the jobs; the jobs move to the people”. That would put New Brunswick’s recent population growth strategy as a step in the right direction:
The growth strategy has four areas of focus:
- increasing and targeting immigration;
- increasing settlement and promoting multiculturalism;
- retaining youth and repatriating former New Brunswickers; and
- adopting family-friendly policies.
A follow-up article from The Telegraph Journal covers the commentary after the lecture, which I couldn’t attend as I had to be up at 4:00 AM the next morning:
But Florida told reporters at a reception after his speech that it’s not just big cities that are creative. He said people in big cities are looking to get away to “cosmopolitan country towns” like Sackville.
“There’s a study in the United States that shows that certain rural areas actually have higher levels of creative economy than urban centres like Manhattan,” he said, sipping a glass of red wine.
“My students in Toronto”Â¦ are complaining about the erosion of natural amenities in Toronto: no parks, no place to get to the water, it takes four hours to drive to the lake. People are looking for places that they can go and work and chill,” he said. “What I see here is a place that’s at the cutting edge. It has a fabulous university that’s top-class. It has great natural amenities and has, for its size, outstanding cultural amenities.”