If we had access to some kind of fun factor scale, then how would Hamilton compare to other cities around the globe? Let's find out.
By Ben Bull
Published May 26, 2006
A recent survey of businesses in the UK identified four main factors that they consider when looking to set up shop, re-locate, or stay put in a town. Numbers two through four were:
The number one factor for relocation was the workforce.
Companies like DePuy and Gaz De France,which recently relocated their head offices to Leeds, in Yorkshire, cited "the availability of a well-trained and qualified workforce" as the main criteria in their decision to move.
So how has Leeds, a town that has always seemed to struggle to set itself apart, managed to attract such a diverse workforce? The answer is quite simple: by having fun.
Leeds, like prosperous towns all over Europe and North America, has embraced the fun factor as it forges its way into the new economy. Their investment in street festivals, building restorations, and the creation of pedestrian friendly people places are all part of a city growth strategy that has helped to create a cycle of positive momentum that encourages an influx of arts and recreational industries and attracts a diverse and qualified population. This, in turn, draws major employers to the city.
This cycle is complimented by the necessary attention to the other stated relocation criteria – suitable premises, good transport networks, and competitive operation costs - as well as to the urban growth principle of 'building on your strengths'. But the focus has clearly been on one simple goal: having fun.
The recent emphasis on fun city living is evident in towns all over Europe and the UK. Liverpool's recent award as European City of Culture, Manchester's enduring city slogan "Commonwealth City" and even towns like Bilboa, the "Steel City" of Spain, have embraced the hugely successful Guggenheim Museum as a way to boost their fun loving credentials and set themselves up for the future.
So how does Hamilton measure up? If we had access to some kind of "fun factor scale," then how would Hamilton compare to other cities around the globe? Well, why don't we see? In one of my more idle moments while the kids were out of the house I put together a rudimentary Fun Factor Scale, precisely for this purpose.
Raise the Hammer has posted the Fun Factor Scale as an online form, and we'll save your entries so we can summarize them for a future article. To use the form, you'll need:
To get you started, we've placed Hamilton on the scale, plus room for three more cities that you can pick yourself. What I'd like you to do, for this week's RTH homework exercise please, is to take a flip through and enter your fun factor scores in each of the boxes. I will do the same and next issue we'll compare notes and see how we fared.
And you thought RTH was just going to be more whining and complaining this week!
There are no hard and fast rules – just make your best guess. I've selected each 'fun factor' based on my research into successful cities. When I fill in the form, I'll use the four cities I know well enough to cmpare: Hamilton, Toronto, London (UK) and Leeds (UK). When you fill in the form, use the cities you know well enough to compare.
Mark each factor out of 10. This is highly subjective, which is fine. You need to score each factor on how much fun it is for you.
Change the weightings if you like. I've weighted each category (as a percentage), based on what I feel is important to me. For instance, cheap and efficient transit is very important for me, as I hate to drive. So I've weighted this highly (10%). Just remember that the weightings have to add up to 100. The cell at the bottom of the Weighting column tells you how you're doing, so if it's over 100, you'll have to reduce a weighting somewhere, and if it's below 100, then you'll have to increase a weighting somewhere.
To understand how your score is calculated, I've made some notes and provided an example at the end of the article.
The fun factor scale is not an exact science, but it's a start. If you have anything to add or change let me know and I'll consider tweaking it a bit. Who knows? Maybe some weird urban institute will pay us millions of dollars for a finished version? I'm open to offers...
Sorry there are no stickers for the best answers. Ryan is way too cheap to hand out RTH freebies, and besides – there are no wrong answers (how very Canadian of me).
Well, what are you waiting for? What else are you going to do today – work? Go on, give it a shot, I think you may be surprised by the results. I'll check back next week when we take a look at my scores and possibly get a little closer to the answer of that burning question: "Hey Hamilton! Are you having fun yet?"
OK folks, thinking caps on! Using a weighting scale is really quite easy if you know how (which I do – I think). Here's how the calculateions work. The form:
To demonstrate, here's an example chart using just two of the 34 fun factors:
|Fun Factor||Ranking (out of 10)||Weighting|
|Hamilton||Toronto||London (UK)||Leeds (UK)|
|Sports Team||5 (69)||6 (71)||6 (71)||8 (94)||4|
|Walkable Neighbourhoods||3 (35)||7 (82)||4 (47)||5 (47)||4|
|Scores on the Doors||94||153||118||141|
...And the winner is – Toronto! (for now – see how they fare when all the results are tallied next week.)
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