New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti
Chapter 3: Cultural Clusters and Districts: The State of the Art
Tommaso Cinti 1. INTRODUCTION1 A ﬁeld of investigation that has established itself in recent years in various economic disciplines – from industrial economics to management, from urban and regional economics to economic geography and cultural economics – is the study of models of local development based on cultural resources (Lazzeretti, 2003; Mossetto, 1992; OECD, 2005; Santagata, 2002; Scott, 2000; Zukin, 1995). Basically, the question raised is how culture can represent a mechanism for setting in motion the economic engine of cities and regions. The present-day economy has taken the shape of a sort of ‘mixed economy of leisure, culture and creativity’ (Mommaas, 2004: 507); more then ever, it is crucial to understand the changes in the interaction between place and market at a local level. The experience of the Greater London Council (now Greater London Authority) in the 1980s undoubtedly represents one of the pioneering attempts to stress the importance of culture as an ‘industry’ (Lewis, 1990) capable of advancing the local economy. As might be expected from these premises, the constitution of cultural clusters and districts has speeded up in recent years and has ideally taken the role of an alternative ‘source’ for urban development. Despite – or, maybe, because of – such a concurrence of actions of cultural policy, the models appraised do not always refer to comparable experiences, but embrace very diﬀerent situations, in terms of geographic areas and actors involved, ﬁnancial sources, and methods of planning, management and administration. They range from simple aggregations with no form of co-ordination,...
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