Now, the venerable Jamesville building is the latest target of a metamorphosis driven by a new wave of artistic entrepreneurs, and dreamers -- the creative class -- who believe Hamilton is the place to be."Toronto is already quite successful. And Toronto is full," said Martinus Geleynse, a 25-year-old local film producer and musician. "The beauty of Hamilton is that it's a frontier, it's a Wild West, and you can create your life here. And you can make money here."The city has long suffered an artistic brain drain as Toronto siphoned off the cream of the creative class, he said. That now is changing as the trickle of artists, who have quietly been setting up shop in areas such as James North, threatens to become a flood."All the kids left here for the cool city," Geleynse said. "Now anybody can come here and be one of the cool kids."In Hamilton, there is a reason to get up every morning and contribute something." ...... Hotel Hamilton is being managed by Jeremy Freiburger, executive director of the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts."People are moving here (to Hamilton) from Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and they're moving here because rent is cheap, buying is cheap and this is a town where you can actually afford to experiment," he said."As an artist, you can make money, but you are not forced into the grind of overly commercialized activity all the time."
I don't know to what extent data might back up the claims. I see more and more evidence (albeit anecdotal) of migration away from the big global cities. Spiky World is getting flatter by the day, at least in the richest countries. Rust Belt Chic is ascendant.
The quintessential reverse migration is occurring in Japan, where a moribund economy is undermining traditions. It's also making dense city life a lot less attractive. Flat Worlders are discovering the splendor of the "slow-life":
Japan may not seem the logical choice for those seeking peace and tranquillity, but as the cities draw in the countryside's young and property prices fall, it is now the best place on earth to find your own rural paradise.Oh, to be in Provence, that Jerusalem of slow living revealed by the gospel according to Peter Mayle. Shame, though, that property is now so exorbitant and burglary angst so pervasive; and that expat demands for broadband have left France Telecom staff so hyper-stressé. If not volatile, dysfunctional or unwelcoming, most other Edens are equally overpriced and crime-ridden. So where else could a slow-life pilgrim go? The last place one might guess is Japan. For as everyone knows it's an expensive sardine can encased end-to-end in concrete.Granted, Japan's postwar "economic animals" tried their best, improvising with golf greens and tree farms where they couldn't subdue nature in concrete. But in six decades you can only pave so much of a mountainous archipelago that extends 2,500km. Now, with vast pockets of rural beauty still "unimproved", Japan's long march to "progress" is running out of steam. And, as aspiring slow-lifers are finding, it's creating some remarkable opportunities.
Apparently, slow-lifers are finding similar opportunities in places such as Hamilton and (according to Monocle) rural Germany. Saskia Sassen observed the rise of global cities and wrote about urban economies of agglomeration. I look at Pittsburgh (better yet, Youngstown) and see a new urban geography of globalization, one of arbitrage.
Rural villages and shrinking cities are the new frontier. This is the new talent migration. Chicago Poles are returning to the homeland in droves. These strange patterns are becoming more common, challenging Richard Florida's map of the world. Forget Toronto. Hamilton is where the cool kids are moving.