Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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My City is Fredericton

chet_whoscity.jpgI went to UofT. Lived in Toronto for many years. Built a successful creative career and a good network. Then realized there was something about living in the urban metropolis that for me got in the way: a lack of the time and energy to think “outside the box” and be innovative. So I took my shoulders out of my ears and moved myself to Fredericton, New Brunswick. Chosen as one of the seven most intelligent cities in the world, for two years straight, more than a third land in the creative class. The art community is vibrant with globally recognized artists and writers, the IT community is top notch, and the city pays for wifi across large quandrants of the city. Five minutes to work and five minutes home makes for the time to get out into nature to contemplate and solve the problems of my work. Art galleries, professional theatre, a beautiful university campus… and all the charm that Maritime life brings. People engage each other, and you can still do business on a handshake. It’s easy for Torontonians to write off the smaller regions of Canada, and not pay attention to what’s going on in Atlantic Canada. But it was here, in New Brunswick (which even surprised me) where many amazing globally-proliferated inventions occurred, like SCUBA, thermal pane windows, and IPTV (internet protocal television.) And despite the economic woes of 2008, employment is actually rising, with continuing labor shortages in the IT sector. Programmers are in big demand. The downside? Getting to the US on a direct flight. Got to go through Montreal or Toronto first.

Sent by Chet from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

3 Responses to “My City is Fredericton”

  1. Libby Says:

    Interesting observation that you considered an urban metropolis as getting in the way of your innovation and creative thinking. Why do you feel that is? Many people find it to be exactly the opposite.

  2. Chet Says:

    I suppose it’s a matter of what works for me, compared to others. My observation is that I have more productive hours here simply because I’m not spending nearly as much time and energy just getting from place to place. But, as a writer and journalist, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t lived and built a professional face-to-face network in Toronto. I’m doing the same thing in Fredericton that I was doing in Toronto, and for many of the same people. And consider this: what cost nearly a million dollars to live in in Toronto came out to just $250K here. More money, more time? Less “life stress” has made me a much better person, and much more productive in my work. It’s a personal choice, and I’m sure there are others who might tell the same story. But I do know many people who need to be in the big city to keep motivated.

  3. Katie Says:

    I can see both sides to this. Personally, I have lived in a small town most of my life but did my Masters at York in Toronto, living there for the duration. I can understand that the intensity of urban life can lead to distractions and a lack of focus, and just the sheer struggle of getting around and affording to live there hampers the ability to further one’s career experience. On the other hand, my struggle is finding jobs with advancement potential in creative sectors in small towns. Many small towns come with small arts organizations with very small staff. I am excited for the future, however, which seems to be favouring the development of creative centres in small towns. I believe that they will be the place to be in the future.

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