This blog is the inaugural piece in what I hope to make into regular observations on key trends, issues, opportunities, challenges and suggested actions steps for midsized cities in Canada. Canada’s future prosperity rests on the economic vitality of cities. Over 80 percent of Canadians live in urban areas (Statistics Canada 2016). Also, cities of various sizes across Canada play an indispensable role as regional hubs and economic engines in their geographic spheres of influence. (Conference Board of Canada 2017). Canadian cities generated more than 70% of Canada’s national GDP in 2016 (Statistics Canada 2017). Much of the existing literature on the economic role of cities in the face of global industrial restructuring has focused on larger cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. The next series of blog posts will focus the lens on mid-sized cities in Canada. The goal of these blogs is to highlight the economic resilience and adaptability of mid-sized city-regions across Canada in the face of industrial restructuring and the accompanying economic and social changes.
Consequently, the blogs will engage readers in two ways: First, they will showcase interesting examples of the strategies of resilience and adaptability by city-regions seeking to revitalize their economies and societies. Second, they will highlight key trends and issues that mid-sized city-regions are confronting in an age of seismic social, economic and environmental perturbation.
The ultimate aims of the blogs are twofold: First, to advance our knowledge and understanding of the various approaches to local economic re-invention and adaptation in the face of seismic global industrial restructuring. Second, to help stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors think creatively about ways of (re)building and strengthening city-regions’ capacity to exploit emerging opportunities to improve the welfare of their communities.