Myths, Visions and Realities
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 2: Theory and Practice of the Creative City Thesis: Experiences from Amsterdam and Rotterdam
Arie Romein and Jan Jacob Trip INTRODUCTION Within a few years the creative city has become a popular concept among urban policy-makers worldwide. Being as attractive as it is controversial, the creative city thesis involves the prospect of urban economic development based on creativity represented by either the creative class or creative industries. Particularly, Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) has given a boost to this idea. Whereas Florida was not the only, or even the first author to embark on the creative city discourse, Peck commented as follows on Florida’s version of the thesis: The book . . . has proved to be a hugely seductive one for civic leaders around the world . . . From Singapore to London, Dublin to Auckland, Memphis to Amsterdam; indeed, all the way to Providence RI and Green Bay WI, cities have paid handsomely to hear about the new credo of creativity, to learn how to attract and nurture creative workers. (Peck, 2005, p. 740) However, as Russo and Van der Borg (2010, p. 686) state, the relation between culture and urban economic development remains largely ‘a black box in which most cities move like amateurs’. Chatterton (2007, p. 392) is more cynical as he states that the creative economy is often ‘little more than a rhetorical device which can placate the hearts and minds of local councillors and politicians that they are actually doing something whilst doing hardly anything at all’. Indeed the creative city thesis has its icon cities, such as San...
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