the renewed city.


weathering the storm: where are the safe havens in urban canada?
October 20, 2008, 11:56 am
Filed under: commentary, ideas

it is apparent that a canadian recession cometh or, at least, an economic tailspin. to be fair, although government and business leaders are working hard to avoid such a scenario, certain areas of the country are likely to feel deep and prolonged economic wounds. the question is which areas of the nation are better positioned to cope with a pending economical ‘shock and awe’ storm?

recent work in the united states, the epicenter of the current crisis, suggests the answer to this question lies in the make up of local economies. it’s the jobs, stupid! research by philadelphia’s reinvestmet fund in collaboration with policymap.com has identified the best places to live during a recession. their criteria? places where large portions of the population worked in anticyclical industries such as government, health care, education, agriculture, and legal services. the so-called “safe industries.” indeed, medical care is in demand in good times and bad. people might feel the pinch and avoid eating out in dreary economic times, but people stilll need to eat and so farmers and grocery stores should remain afloat. dido government and education.

looking at this list, what’s interesting is that most, if not all, may be classified as those ‘creative’ industries as identified by richard florida. of course, other creative sectors may suffer, namely visual graphic design, entertainment, and computing, just to name a few.

the philadelphia’s reinvestmet fund positions cities like arlington virgina, boston, and seattle as stable and sufficiently “rotected” to weather a rececession, albeit not a prolonged one.

but what about canada? where are the safe havens north of 60? urban areas like toronto, ottawa, victoria, and montreal should be well-positioned considering high employment in education, health, law and government. those areas reliant on manufacturing or resource-based industries may suffer, places like oshawa, windsor and thunder bay in ontario. edmonton in alberta. not too mention all the smaller towns in between. these are, of course, only my personal observations and inclinations. a more thorough and accurate list could be revealed by exploring census numbers from statistics canada. perhaps a project for the coming rainy weekend?

canadian cities and uban regions, if they haven’t already done so, need to heed warmings about a pending ecnomic crisis and turn their attention towards strategies and actions to help protect local employment at risk of collapsing and attracting more stable, creative industries.

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