Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2008 - Page 20

NORDICUM REAL ESTATE SPECIAL REPORT Creative Class Goes North Richard Florida, father of the Creative Class, believes that the Scandinavian countries are in an excellent position to compete for the most talented workforce. Combining innovation and hi-tech with openmindedness and safety, cities like Helsinki will be hard to beat in the years to come, Florida says. U rban studies theorist Richard Florida flipped the script with his 2001 book, The Rise of the Creative Class. In the book, Florida identified the socalled Creative Class as change agents for tomorrow – arguing that where these top professionals choose to work and live will decide which cities will prosper and which will fail in the future. According to Florida, the fight for the best workers is presently so fierce that the old real estate agent’s idiom – location, location, location – has become more important than ever. Richard Florida, Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, feels that the Nordic capitals are in an excellent position to compete for the best and the brightest employees on the global markets. He believes that Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki are brothers-in-arms in the sense that they are open-minded, technologically advanced communities that offer a safe and stable environment for young professionals to raise their families. However, he is concerned that standing alone, the attraction of the individual cities may not be enough: “The future belongs very much to the so-called megaregions, for example Boston – New York - Washington D.C. region in the US, or Amsterdam – Brussels – Antwerp region in Europe. Geographically speaking, the Nordic capitals are removed from each other, but through collaboration that gap can be narrowed,” Florida says, adding that by working together the appeal of the foursome can grow considerably. he says, suggesting that the creative class thrives in places where there are great restaurants and night clubs and other hot spots. Also, working connections to the world are required: the city must feature a top-notch international airport. While urging the capitals to cooperate more, Florida admits that there isn’t that much room for improvement: all four cities are already on his Top 10 list of Great Places To Live in the World. “The top two must be New York and London, followed by Toronto. Sydney and Melbourne are on the list also, and Amsterdam. But definitely Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki belong on the list also.” Enter: the Mega-regions According to Florida, mega-regions are the real economic engines of the global economy. For instance, the ten largest megaregions account for 43 per cent of the planet’s economic activity and more than half of its patented innovations and star scientists who generate pioneering breakthroughs – while housing only 6.5 per cent of its population. Richard Florida believes that size does matter: “It’s not the only factor, but it is an important one. Big cities simply present a lot of options,” Praise for Helsinki One can understand Florida’s affinity for Scandinavi- 18 an countries, considering that he recently moved to Toronto with his wife. After all, Canada and Nordic countries have many things in common, ranging from a cooler climate to efficient healthcare. Florida claims to especially taken by Helsinki, having visited the city couple of years ago. “The nightlife, for one, seemed very exciting. It was well after midnight but it seemed everybody was out partying and having a good time,” he looks back. He admits to being a big fan of Scandinavian design – honourable mention goes out to Marimekko – and remembers that the use of daylight in certain buildings in Helsinki was absolutely striking. Architecture has a lot to do with creating a comfortable environment that is suitable for creative people. “Stimulation is needed all around, and Helsinki brings a