CALGARY — A Global Cities report ranks Calgary ninth in the world for economic prosperity and development with Ottawa-Gatineau getting the top rating.
The Martin Prosperity Institute, with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, a think-tank investigating the role of place in economic prosperity, measured how cities throughout the world are performing based on the three T’s of economic development — technology, talent and tolerance — along with a fourth measurement, the quality of space.
Global Cities came up with a scorecard for a variety of world cities that provides a detailed examination of how each city is performing in the creative economy.
Out of the 61 global cities studied, Ottawa was the top city as it received high grades in each of the categories, and the highest Talent grade of any city.
Overall, it is followed by Seattle, Oslo, District of Columbia, Amsterdam, London, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Calgary and New York-Newark.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the report is yet another in a list of reports that ranks Calgary in the top 10 of global cities.
“That’s a pretty cool thing for a city of a million people to be ranked as a top 10 city globally. It’s great,” said Nenshi. “We’re the same as New York City. Imagine that.”
This report and others continue to add incentives for people to look at Calgary as a place to move.
“We continue to have a long-term concern about a talent crunch,” said Nenshi. “We’re really one of the few places in the world right now where our primary concern is not unemployment but in fact labour shortages.
“To manage that, we must always be seen as an attractive place for global talent to want to move, invest, live and raise families.”
Bruce Graham, president and chief executive of Calgary Economic Development, said first and foremost the report reinforces what the organization is seeing consistently from numerous ratings done by various institutes and publications.
“We’re consistently ranking at or near the top,” he said. “To be among the top nine of the 61 cities that they look at here, and second among Canadian cities, is definitely a feather in the cap for Calgary and it’s helpful for those that are looking to consider places to plant roots and to locate to as well as business because it really speaks to a strong civic environment and municipal infrastructure and dynamic marketplace that companies and people want.”
A report like this is “ammunition” for the organization’s marketing and communications efforts, said Graham.
“Anytime you can get third-party endorsements and testimonials as to your attractiveness as a place to live, work and play bodes well for our efforts,” he said.
In the report, Calgary scored an A in the Talent category as its citizens were described as “highly educated.”
“Current investment in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education will ensure talent continues to flow to the city,” said the report.
Calgary scored an A in the Technology category as well. “Calgary is one of Canada’s fastest growing urban economies,” said the report. “It is also one of the most innovative.”
The city also scored an A in the Tolerance category. “Calgary’s high foreign-born population, growing immigrant population, diverse religious affiliations, and relatively large LGBT population are clear signs of a tolerant city.”
In Amenities and Quality of Space, Calgary registered a B+. “A safe, cultured city with superior and comprehensive infrastructure, Calgary’s modern urban core is offset by its struggles with urban sprawl, which negatively impact the city’s built form, public transit and neighbourhoods scores.”
Nenshi said he found the rating on urban sprawl very interesting.
“Certainly as the city grows to another level, it’s been very clear that we must be able to sensitively intensify the city and reduce urban sprawl and it seems that even on this global ranking that’s something the world is looking at,” he said.