Saturday, July 07, 2007

Toronto, Florida and Geographic Mobility of Talent

Remaining thematically in Ontario and Canada... The Creativity Exchange is championing the efforts in Canada to deal with "transformational globalization." The story behind this story is more than a passing interest in Canadian strategies to take advantage of global opportunities. Reportedly, Richard Florida is heading to the University of Toronto to help propel that region to the highest tier in the world city hierarchy:

The guru of urban economic development, best known for his argument that post-industrial cities should focus on cultivating a "creative class" of writers, painters, musicians, software developers, engineers and doctors, is moving up to Canada.

"That's the plan," said Amanda Styron, Prof. Florida's spokeswoman at the Creative Class Group, a Washington-based think tank he founded for innovative business practices in business, government and communities.

I find Dr. Florida's migration instructive. The University of Toronto's gain is George Mason University's loss, but that's the gamble you take chasing after highly mobile talent. If the grass looks greener, there is little in the way of barring you from exploring an exciting new career environment.

I gather that Toronto is more spikier than Washington, DC. How can Pittsburgh or Savannah, GA possibly compete? Fact is, Dr. Florida can tackle projects at the U of T that few other R1 institutions could support. Furthermore, Toronto is a great city in terms of quality of life and cosmopolitan disposition. Score another one for the Spiky World.

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