Table of Contents

Handbook of Creative Cities

Handbook of Creative Cities

Elgar original reference

Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander

With the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida in 2002, the ‘creative city’ became the new hot topic among urban policymakers, planners and economists. Florida has developed one of three path-breaking theories about the relationship between creative individuals and urban environments. The economist Åke E. Andersson and the psychologist Dean Simonton are the other members of this ‘creative troika’. In the Handbook of Creative Cities, Florida, Andersson and Simonton appear in the same volume for the first time. The expert contributors in this timely Handbook extend their insights with a varied set of theoretical and empirical tools. The diversity of the contributions reflect the multidisciplinary nature of creative city theorizing, which encompasses urban economics, economic geography, social psychology, urban sociology, and urban planning. The stated policy implications are equally diverse, ranging from libertarian to social democratic visions of our shared creative and urban future.

Chapter 8: Understanding Canada’s Evolving Design Economy

Tara Vinodrai

Subjects: economics and finance, urban economics, geography, cities, economic geography, innovation and technology, innovation policy, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics, urban studies


Tara Vinodrai Over the past decade, there has been a flurry of attention paid to the emerging creative economy and its articulation across space: the creative city. Within this arena, designers are now viewed as central actors and design is celebrated as a critical factor contributing to the competitiveness and creativity of firms, cities, regions and nations. Yet, how prevalent is design work? How has design employment changed over time and space? What are the institutional conditions that support design employment in the so-called ‘creative city’? To answer these questions, this chapter draws upon recent and ongoing research on design and the creative economy in Canadian cities. The chapter begins by discussing why cities and metropolitan regions are critical to our understanding of creative and cultural activities. First, cities act as the ideal environment in which creative and cultural activities thrive. Second, places with strong institutions – particularly institutions of higher learning such as universities and colleges – can act as ‘anchors of creativity’ to support creative activity. Third, cities have unique social characteristics and spatial environments that act to attract and retain highly skilled workers. This chapter goes further to suggest that design can be viewed as a particularly unique form of creative activity that contributes to the urban milieu and creates both cultural and economic value through a ‘design dividend’ for the cityregion (cf. Markusen and Schrock, 2006; Vinodrai, 2009). Following this discussion, the chapter introduces the methodological approach and data sources used in the analysis. The fourth section presents...

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