Bigger not necessarily better – in the USA

The May 2005 edition of Expansion Management published their annual list of Five-Star Knowledge Worker Metros, calculated by assessing the community’s human capital, educational institutions and R&D spending.

Every time they do a survey like this, I am curious to see who makes the list. Conventional wisdom in Canada is that only the large cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, etc. have the critical mass of R&D, skilled workers, etc.

But in the U.S., size doesn’t seem to matter as communities such as Ames, Iowa, Bloomington, Indiana, Lawrence, Kansas, Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado and Morgantown, West Virginia all made the list of top areas for knowledge workers. Of course, the big communities are there but the point is that the smaller cities in the U.S. can thrive and compete with the larger ones.

There’s a lesson here for small cities such as Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. These communities should be able to compete for new business investments just like their cousins in the US.