What does it take to make them stay? : how place satisfaction relates to willingness to stay of the creative class
Abstract: Swedish students in smaller university host cities leave in favor of more attractive places after having completed their studies. Failing to retain newly graduated students is a problem for university host cities as educated people are associated with the group referred to as the creative class. Members of the creative class are drivers of regional economic growth, and have historically proven to be important for creating and developing the well-being of cities. Different place attributes have been found to affect place satisfaction and consequently willingness to stay; while place attachment, more specifically social bonds, has been found to be important for the creative class when choosing a place to reside. The purpose of this study is therefore to explain how place satisfaction, moderated by place attachment, relates to the willingness to stay of the creative class. The study used a quantitative research approach by surveying students at Kristianstad University, where the validated Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) was used to measure place satisfaction; resulting in a total of 306 responses. The result demonstrates that there is a strong positive relationship between place satisfaction and willingness to stay of the creative class, but also that the relationship is positively moderated by place attachment. The theoretical implications are that urbanity and diversity are the least important place attributes for the creative class. The managerial implications for Kristianstad are that the city needs to promote or develop its cost-efficiency and job situation to make creative people more willing to stay.
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