creative cities - halifax

project overview

In the late 1990s, the Greater Halifax Partnership began to promote Halifax as a “smart city”: a region with a high proportion of residents holding post-secondary credentials. By 2004, Halifax – like many other Canadian cities – was promoting a creative cities strategy: hoping to attract and retain talented and creative workers who would then lure investors to launch innovative industries in the region.

In 2005 we joined colleagues from across the country in a research project to explore the Social Dynamics of Economic Performance. Led by Dr David Wolfe (Munk Centre, University of Toronto) the project looks at 16 Canadian cities to understand the factors that attract and keep talented and creative people in cities, and to understand how the social dynamics of cities affect the economic performance and innovation in city-regions. A book series documenting some of the findings from this research is in preparation for University of Toronto Press. More information about the national research project is available on the Innovation Systems Research Network web site.

As part of this research program we developed a special interest in the Halifax Music Scene. We examined the contribution of the extremely vibrant and supportive music community to the attractiveness and economic development of the city.

In 2009 we extended the research to understand issues related to planning to attract and retain talented and creative immigrants to Halifax. Our research on Immigration and the Creative City has involved two projects. First we began to evaluate the immigration plans and policies developed by Halifax Regional Municipality. We then conducted a follow-up study with immigrant cultural workers. We hope to understand the opportunities and challenges that artists, dancers, and musicians experience in coming to Halifax. Some working papers from our research are available on the Atlantic Metropolis Centre web site.