In the present century a significant urban discourse has emerged concerning the rise of the ‘creative city’ as putative successor to the industrial (and more recently postindustrial) city. There are many meanings ascribed to the concept, including the saliency of creativity to the form, spirit and identity of cities, as well as a more prosaic reading of the ‘creative city’ as the preferred location for cultural industries and labour, and as complex field or ‘ecology’ of creative enterprise. But a closer reading of the creative city script in many cases discloses a far less ebullient storyline, where experiences of polarization, inequality and dislocation must be acknowledged as well as the more productive outcomes which variously include satisfying work opportunities, community regeneration and identity formation. Keywords: cities, urbanization, creative city, cultural economy
Cultural industries develop on a base of institutions, territory, social and human capital, and agglomeration economies. Digital technology is allied with arts and design capabilities in production processes, while the Internet is a critical channel for outsourcing and marketing. Cities generate important demand factors for cultural products and services, including the consumption preferences of the new middle class and, more recently, aspirational cohorts of high net worth individuals deploying high-value cultural cues to signal status. Space, place and territory represent critical factors in the cultural economy of the city: artists represent the vanguard of gentrifiers within the inner city, while many creative enterprises exhibit a preference for the textured landscapes of heritage districts. But as high-value design firms displaced the early populations of artists in the first decade of the twenty-first century, cultural industries are dislodged from their preferred territories in the city by waves of ‘innovation economy’ industries characterized by deeper technological content and higher profit potential.