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 4: Place

Gunnar Törnqvist

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


Can a place or setting be creative? Not in a literal sense, any more than a place can be happy, exhilarated, curious or angry. The term ‘creative milieu’ presupposes that the people who live and work there, along with their thoughts and ideas, possess such qualities. Individuals, working both independently and collaboratively, make the discoveries and inventions for which a place becomes known. A place is an arena in which creative processes can unfold. Of particular relevance is whether a particular setting stimulates or obstructs creativity and entrepreneurship. A key challenge is to identify the characteristics of a place that either attract or repel pioneers and entrepreneurs. 4.1 The concept of place The painter at her easel, the composer at her piano, the author at her desk or the researcher in her laboratory or at a computer all symbolize creative acts that take place in a private setting. At least during some phases of a creative process, privacy is essential to the kind of concentration that acts of creativity require. But only in rare cases does groundbreaking renewal stem from 25 M2809 - TORNQVIST 9781781001509 PRINT.indd 25 16/11/2011 14:10 26 The geography of creativity individual creativity. Usually it is the product of a collective effort. Ideas bubble forth from a repository of experience acquired in interaction with one’s surroundings. Innovative processes cannot survive very long without external stimuli. The concept of place refers to environments in which creators and entrepreneurs – whether scientists or artists – work and their innovative abilities...

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