The Geography of Creativity

The Geography of Creativity

Gunnar Törnqvist

What is creativity and who exactly is creative? In this insightful and highly readable book, Gunnar Törnqvist attempts to answer these questions by arguing that geographical millieux are hotbeds for creativity and renewal – places where pioneers in art, technology and science have gathered and developed their special abilities.

Chapter 2: Process

Gunnar Törnqvist

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Psychologist J.P. Guilford introduced the concepts of ‘convergent’ and ‘divergent’ thinking in the 1950s and 1960s. Convergent thinking involves the attempt to solve problems in a traditional manner, whereas divergent thinking finds unconventional approaches. Old patterns of association and thought break down during a creative act or process. Highly creative people literally tear down walls and flee conceptual prisons and frameworks. Such a perspective on the creative is scattered throughout the literature.1 2.1 Bisociation Arthur Koestler’s monumental work The Act of Creation2 calls attention to parallels between humour, invention and artistic creativity. His book examines different types of humour and offers many examples of authors, psychologists and philosophers who have pointed out special qualities in amusing anecdotes, which can raise hearty laughter. Koestler ascribes the following joke to Sigmund Freud: Two shady businessmen have succeeded in making a fortune and were trying to elbow their way into society. They had their portraits painted by a fashionable artist; 7 M2809 - TORNQVIST 9781781001509 PRINT.indd 7 16/11/2011 14:10 8 The geography of creativity B A Figure 2.1 Bisociation: Collision between association paths from two different matrices framed in gold, these were shown at a reception in the grand style. Among the guests was a well-known art critic. The beaming hosts led him to the wall on which the portraits were hanging side by side. The critic looked at them for a long time, then shook his head as if he was missing something. At length he pointed to the bare space...

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