Traditional investigation emphasizes the influential roles that natural endowments, geographic location and access to markets play in shaping growth trajectories, but this research underscores how the social dynamics of city-regions may influence migration outcomes. In so doing, the research identifies the growing challenge that Canada’s largest city has in retaining creative workers who are increasingly attracted to smaller, more affordable and more inclusive scenes such as Halifax. Further, the research highlights the central role of civic capital in explanations that musicians give for the choices that they make. As a result, at a time when independent musicians are adopting new strategies to pursue their avocation, socially cohesive communities may gain an advantage in attracting and retaining talent.
Toronto's loss is Halifax's gain. This relocation tale reminds me of the talent flow from San Francisco to Portland:
Recently, Sun Microsystems was trying to decide whether to close a plant in Portland or in California's Silicon Valley. The company asked employees from both places if they would relocate."And the responses were night and day," Kaylor says. "The skilled California workers they wanted to keep were enthusiastic about relocating their families to the Portland area. The Portland employees who were skilled indicated that they would quit rather than relocate in the Bay Area."
The quality of life is better. The cost of living is less expensive. Not mentioned is the Big Fish, Small Pond dividend. MPI's research gets at that oversight. (See the graphic associated with the article summary.) The world is flat.
The point (i.e. spike) is that Halifax can offer something to musicians that Toronto can't. The MPI helps to explain why artists would leave New York City for Cleveland:
The couple used to live in New York, but they were drawn to Cleveland by cheap rent and the creative possibilities of a city in transition. "It seemed real alive and cool," said Mr. Di Liberto.
There are a gut of places that are significantly cheaper than New York. Few offer the "creative possibilities" you can find in Halifax or, dare I write it, Cleveland. The competitive advantage concerns the development of people. That, not better public transit or some other urban/rural amenity, is the attraction. Placemaking strategies will not save the Rust Belt.