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April 16, 2003
Report findings link creativity to economic prosperity
  
Economic Development - The City of Toronto, the Institute for Competitiveness
and Prosperity, the Design Exchange, and George Brown, The City College,
yesterday hosted Competing on Creativity, a discussion about creativity as the
wellspring of economic growth. The event featured Richard Florida and Meric
Gertler, co-authors of the report, Competing on Creativity: Placing Ontario's
Cities in North American Context.

Richard Florida popularized the use of the 'gay index' and 'bohemian index' as
benchmarks for creativity, innovation and indicators of the future economic
success of city-regions. An eclectic group of more than 300 of Toronto's
business, arts, culture and design, social and community leaders came out to
the Design Exchange to learn more about the relationship between creativity and
economic growth. The venue is a symbolic location as the former home of the
Toronto Stock Exchange and now Canada's Centre for Design and Innovation.

Florida's and Gertler's report examines the relationship between creativity,
social diversity and knowledge-intensive economic growth in city-regions in
Ontario and the rest of Canada. Findings for Canadian cities were also
compared to United States city-regions. Their research shows that two factors
are strongly associated with a city-region's ability to attract and retain
highly educated workers, and to generate technology-intensive economic
activity: its population of creative people in the arts and cultural
activities, and its openness to diverse groups of people from various ethnic,
racial and lifestyle groups.

The most successful city-regions in North America have a social environment
that is open to creativity and diversity. The study concludes that Toronto's
critical mass of creative people and its extraordinarily high levels of social
diversity position it very well for future knowledge-intensive economic growth.

"This report confirms the directions set out in the City's Economic Development
Strategy," said Joe Halstead, Toronto's Commissioner of Economic Development,
Culture and Tourism. "Florida's and Gertler's findings provide us with a richer
understanding of Toronto's unique attributes, confirming that diversity is one
of our greatest strengths. This is exactly the type of information that fuels
investor interest and attracts the best workforce and best companies to our
city."

Roger Martin, Chairman of the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and
Economic Progress, a co-sponsor of the research was encouraged by the findings.
"As we indicated in the Task Force's recent annual report, Toronto has the
creative class that can compete with our peer group in the U.S.," Martin says.
"The challenge we face is to continue to build on this strength to attract and
retain knowledgeable and creative workers to enhance our prosperity."

"We are delighted to be hosting this event," said Lynda Friendly, President and
CEO of the Design Exchange, Canada's national design centre. "Toronto is a key
design hub for North America and designers are playing an increasingly vital
role in our city and its future."

Richard Florida is H. John Heinz III Professor of Regional Economic
Development, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh. He is the author of the best-selling book The Rise of
the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and
Everyday Life. Meric Gertler is Co-director of the Program on Globalization and
Regional Innovation Systems, Munk Centre for International Studies, at the
University of Toronto. Gertler is the author of A Region in Transition: The
Changing Structure of Toronto's Regional Economy.

A copy of the Competing on Creativity study is available at
http://www.toronto.ca/business


Media Contact
Economic Research and Business Information
416-392-3385

 

 

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