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Be creative in this place

October 1, 2008

Richard Florida, proponent of vibrant creative communities as economic engines, is in town. There are two stories in the paper today, and for those who did not pick up a $113 ticket for the dinner tonight, here he is on YouTube discussing his latest book:

Florida said that New Brunswick

… needs to attract immigrants, and capitalize on Canada’s role in a mosaic society.

“Begin to become a place where all of this influx of global talent can find and make a home, that would be something that I would really stress.”

Secondly, it needs to make its cities more attractive to its college and university students, who hail from across Canada, the United States, and around the world. …

Florida hopes to provide his New Brunswick audience tonight an outline of the way he sees the world and how he sees the economy evolving from a natural resource-based, raw materials-based, blue-collar economy “to one really where the source of value and economic growth comes from the human mind and its creativity.”

He also said that in New Brunswick

“The bohemian index isn’t as high as I’d like,” he said in an interview.

“It’s not incredibly high, but actually Fredericton, it’s almost at the national average.”

According to Florida, a high concentration of bohemians in an area creates an environment that attracts other types of talented or high human capital individuals. The presence of such human capital, in turn, attracts and generates innovative, technology-based industries. …

“It’s less about building traditional arts and cultural institutions and more about funding and investing in actual working artists and musicians,” he said. …

Florida also said Ottawa should be upping its investment in science and technology.

“We need much more aggressive building of world-class universities, institutes and centres in the here and now because that talent is up for grabs.”

I hope that tonight someone asks him how, exactly, such “aggressive building” might be done. I trust that the answer will be to fund post-secondary institutions so that they can do what they do best. I trust that he will not recommend the heavy-handed, top-down imposition of (uncreative) partisan agendas.

So please, if anyone holding a ticket happens to read this, please ask the question.

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