Trenton, Ontario ‘s downtown has undergone a remarkable Quality of Place transformation over the last several years. Nice places are one of the keys to attracting Creative workers to your community.
Value in Numbers
In my last blog I wrote about how 30% of the labour force is made up of Creative Occupations, that they earn 50% of the income and spend 70% of the disposable income, are expected to grow by 40% in decade and earn on average $58,000 per year. I did not mention that they never reached 5% unemployment in this or the last recession
These numbers are all well and good but so so what? The importance of these numbers lies in the question… is your community getting it’s fair share of creative workers and therefore its fare share of the creative economy?
Get Your Fair Market Share
All communities need to ensure that they have their fare share of creative class workers in their economy. Typically urban economies have around 30-35% of its labour force comprised of the creative class, some cities such as Ottawa and Washington are as high as 41% while some rural areas can be below 20%.
33% Seems Like a Fair Share
If we set the benchmark around 33% of the labour force should be comprised of Creative Occupations, the first question a community has to ask itself is… what is our market share of creative occupations? If it is less than 33%, you don’t have your fair share, if it’s over 33% you are beating the averages. The Martin Prosperity Institute has done a lot of work in this field. The likely have data on your community already. See the world’s most creative cities article for some über examples topping out at 45%.
How does one nurture an environment to attract the Creative Class? The Creative Class is attracted to nice places, community’s that have Quality of Place. I often say the good news about this is one community doesn’t have to compete directly against another community. Each community is different and needs to focus on being the best community it can be while focusing on it’s uniqueness and qualities. Different people like different things. Some people like mountains and 4 season’s others like heat and the ocean, urban, rural, etc….
Get Community Members to Tell Your Story
The key to success is that your community has appealing features be they cultural, built, natural or otherwise. As community developers it is our job to showcase those communities in their best light. With today’s social media tools of pictures, sound, written word and video its never been easier. Just tell your story in a real, authentic manner. Better yet get others to tell their story about your community.
I thought we did a good job of that in Prince Edward County, Ontario. One of my favourite examples is a video story we did on Whistlestop Productions I am sure there are many others. If you have a good example please comment and share your examples and I will post them in the comments section.
Dan pioneered the practice of Creative Rural Economy, Economic Development in Prince Edward County, Ontario for 10 years until 2011. Now he is the President and CEO of the Greater Peterborough Economic Development Commission and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster where his role has expanded to include both urban and rural creative economy work. Dan also speaks regularly to groups, organizations and conferences in order to help them grow their economies.
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I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise to help others on developing Creative Economies – Rural, Small Town & City. To book me for speaking engagements, facilitation, workshops and more book here or email me.
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