Friday, June 20, 2008

More Atlantic Canada Ruminations

Yesterday, I blogged about a critique of the Richard Florida enterprise. The same author of the negative review of "Who's Your City" offers a good takeaway after finishing the Florida book:

Take sister city relationships. Moncton will twin with Galway, Ireland for example and the mayor's will shake hands and exchange keys. And that will be it. How about a FaceBook group? How about a large scale student exchange program? How about a business incubator here for businesses from there and vice versa? How about being far more deliberate about business linkages (chamber of commerce activities, etc.)? How about a direct flight from Galway to Moncton? How about a section in the local newspaper on each side about the other? Of course, these efforts would need to be tied to economic and social goals but places like New Brunswick should be leaders in finding innovative ways to overcome this very real need for physical, social interaction.

On a number of occasions, I've offered the same suggestion for Pittsburgh. I see the news of video game producer Eutechnyx close to settling on Pittsburgh as the headquarters of its North American operations in this light. Pittsburgh is at the forefront of solving the proximity problem.

As a regular reader of Florida's blog, I can say with confidence that he promotes yielding to the tide of spiky world. This approach to economic development should trouble those people championing cities currently located in the valleys of globalization, as much of the Rust Belt is. Just the same, I have a great respect for the understanding Florida brings to the geographic mobility of talent. But I'm perplexed by the recurring mantra of stopping the out-migration of local college graduates. There is an inherent contradiction in his message, which is the concern that the economist in Moncton, New Brunswick raises.

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