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Building a community for creative urban research

What an incredible, humbling, stimulating, exhausting week I have had…
As I fly back to Atlanta from Toronto, with the nearly full moon out my window, I’ve seen several great cities from an aerial perspective — Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. — while reflecting on the last several days. This reflection was the final nudge I needed to make my inaugural blog entry.
I was fortunate enough to attend the 6th Annual Experience the Creative Economy Conference, convened by the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. This year it brought together 17 young scholars interested in the intersection of cities, culture and the economy (plus me, the token old guy). Unfortunately 2 were unable to join us in person, but were able to present their work through the wonders of modern communications technology. And may I tell you… They were amazing! 
Split nearly evenly between North Americans and those from Europe, South Asia and South America, the passion and intellectual horsepower exhibited by these women and men was truly awe inspiring. And boy did I feel stupid! But not because they were showing off, or the least bit driven by ego; but more in the way that playing a superior opponent makes you want to bring your best effort.
I hope to keep in touch with all of them, if possible, and to use this space in the future to share some of their fascinating work, but for now I am content to acknowledge what has been for me a career-altering, if not life-changing, event.

Thanks to you all, and to organizers Kevin Stolarick, Karen King, Melanie Fasche, Charlotta Mellander, Zeynep Gamze Mert, Richard Florida, Barry Wellman, and all the great staff at MPI for a great event and connecting us to a remarkable network of urban intellectuals!
(Note: this was written en route from New York to Atlanta on Friday, June 21)

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