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Creative Migration? The attraction and retention of the 'creative class' in Launceston, Tasmania

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Abstract:

Concepts of creativity and the attraction of a 'creative class' have become increasingly prominent in regional economic development literature and policy. Richard Florida's books 'Rise of the creative class' and 'Who's your city?' have encouraged city and regional planners to move away from strategies focused on infrastructure development and the attraction of businesses towards strategies which attract people as migrants, particularly the 'creative class', through a focus on characteristics such as a 24/7 lifestyle, cultural amenity and ethnic diversity. This research explored why people who could be categorised as 'creative class' move to Launceston in Tasmania, and what keeps them there. In the regional centre of Launceston, lifestyle, amenity and diversity were not characteristics that attracted in-migration initially. Instead, characteristics particular to small and rural places attracted creative and other professional workers, such as outdoor amenities, downshifting, time with family, proximity to the natural environment and a strong sense of community. Only after arrival did Launceston's comparative cultural wealth come to be appreciated by in-migrants, instead becoming a factor helping to retain newly arrived migrants.

Keywords: Creative class; Launceston; Tasmania; amenity; family; migration

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180903535642

Affiliations: WorleyParsons Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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