For those of you not tired with my “place matters” jag, please read on.
The other interesting part of the work out of the U.S. is that all communities will have a portion of their population that is attached to their community, another that is neutral and a third that is not attached. The average level of those not attached across the cities they looked at was 40%!
This explains how I can receive an e-mail from someone is so happy they moved to the city and another from someone who feels it is the worst city they have ever lived in.
During an economic recession, the people who are not attached to the community can become “stuck in place”. Perhaps they cannot sell their house, they can’t afford to move or they can’t take the risk finding a job in another city. Needless to say, they won’t be happy campers.
When the researchers asked people over 30 what would attract them to a community, it was a job. When the same was asked of people under 30, it was the place. This reflects a demographic attitudinal shift that is also occurring in the workplace – this demographic will choose the quality of a workplace over salary.
When we develop strategies to retain or recruit young innovators we should not only be focusing on creating jobs but also on providing a world class culture.
People between 18 and 30 are often not attached to their community. When this group is surveyed, they also perceive they are the least welcome. We want young talent to grow our economy but what messages are we sending? Are youth perceived as an asset or a problem? How are we integrating them into the community? The importance of town and gown relations takes on a new meaning when we connect the dots between attachment and the local economy.
The lesson coming from other cities is to recognize that you can’t be everything to everyone. Identify your strengths. Identify what makes you unique. Optimize who you are as a community. And stay true to your story.