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 6: The Institutional Milieu

Gunnar Törnqvist

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


Cultural and institutional diversity, markets, customers, physical density, and good transport and communication are among the attributes of successful cities. They offer arenas for human interaction, a basic prerequisite for renewal. Places with such characteristics that are able to attract creative people – whether for economic, lifestyle or other personal reasons – may turn into leading centres of innovation. This book has so far discussed the qualities that distinguish creative milieux at a very general level. It is worth noticing, but it is certainly not surprising, that characteristics of significance for creative processes can be detected in the diversity and variety of big cities, in their human encounters and myriad of activities. The question arises as to the usefulness of regarding contemporary metropolises as uniform, cohesive settings. A big city is like a jungle that is rich in biological diversity and hosts a wide range of species. The details are only partially visible, narrowing the options for an in-depth understanding of creativity and its prerequisites. As aforementioned, profound insight into the external preconditions for creativity is mostly available from examining small organizational 63 M2809 - TORNQVIST 9781781001509 PRINT.indd 63 16/11/2011 14:10 64 The geography of creativity units and clusters of people who collaborate and compete with each other. They are niches of innovation in an urban environment, scattered like islands of creativity in a sea of more traditional activities. Small groups of creators in art, music, literature, technology and science gained renown at one time or another for their accomplishments...

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