Circling back in retirement to recapture a happy memory — Mike Valentino's first glimpse of Sarasota Bay as a new CEO, Karen Valentino's girlhood Florida vacations — is a common navigation of what demographers call the "search space."
This is the sum total of geographic sites that become familiar over a lifetime. Most people look within their personal search space when deciding where to spend their leisure years — and baby boomers who choose to relocate are expected to do the same.
The history of Southwest Florida's retirement population was built on military postings to two airfields here in World War II, and family beach vacations down the old Dixie Highway from Michigan and Illinois. Both sweeping demographic trends introduced Sarasota into the search space for thousands of retirees.
You don't go where you don't know, your geography of fear. Ann Arbor is indistinguishable from ruin porn Detroit. Starups in Southeastern Michigan have a problem attracting talent This is the Rust Belt Curse. Most communities don't end up as part of someone's search space.
The exception to that rule are Rust Belt expats. Brain drain from affluent suburbs is introducing urban living to the awareness space of outmigrants. Upon returning to a city such as Detroit, neighborhoods that were once taboo are now part of the search space. Re-populating the core is possible thanks to the talent exodus.