Friday, 25 November 2016

Bristol wins, Douglas McWilliams was right, and why Exeter isn't quite it!

Bristol recognised as the fourth most inspiring City in the World ahead of London, New York and Paris. Take a moment to allow that to sink in. 
A lot of chat has gone on recently about Exeter's potential to achieve and get world recognition for great things. Part of that debate is about how to attract and keep skilled folk, particularly techie's in the city. Many organisations are scratching their heads. Sometimes together and sometimes alone to try and answer this question. In his book the Flat White Economy Douglas McWilliams lays out criteria based on economic data, to create the potential for tech City growth to happen. What surprises me is that some of the key criteria are mostly ignored. This is particularly noticeable here in Exeter. The criteria that attract and keeps techies in a given place include a large element of fun. Yes thats right, fun. Bristol won its award based not on it's ability to provide jobs or cheap housing. It won because it is fun, and has a large and active creative community. Who are recognisable in many cases on the World cultural scene. 
check out the criteria

 Where is Exeter's Banksy, Tricky, Roni Size or Massive Attack? (even these examples are out of date). Where are the cultural centres that would allow such creative talents to flourish? For all it's glitzy shopping arcades Exeter does not have even one 'cool' venue. Or even a decent hangout. The wealthy populate the few places in Exeter that are worth a visit. Not the struggling creatives. Even live music venues have  decreased. The few that remain are overcrowded.  Come on Exeter if you want to attract and keep skilled tech staff and other workers you need to be a lot more Bristol. That means creating serious cultural centres. Cool work hubs for artists and musicians. Theatres, galleries, multiple venues for new bands and much much more. The best things happen where strange worlds collide. Where 'not the usual suspects' meet and discuss and create. Right now in Exeter the same old people are talking to themselves and each other. Then patting themselves on their collective backs. This will change nothing! Exeter needs to be less superficial and much more inspiring. Check out the awards criteria in the link below.
Bristol Award
The Criteria: Here

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