Myths, Visions and Realities
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 4: Two Critical Notes on the Meaning of the New Middle Class for Creative Knowledge City Policies
Marco van der Land INTRODUCTION The ‘creative city’ and the ‘knowledge city’ are very popular catchphrases nowadays among sociologists as well as economists dealing with urban economic competitiveness and its consequences for local urban policy. The two concepts are manifestations of the way theorization about economic restructuring and its local ramifications have been incorporated into the domain of policy development and debate. In that domain knowledge is often conceptualized as the ‘new’ production factor needed for an urban economy that has strong innovative industries and supportive structures. To be(come) a knowledge city creative talent is needed and therefore the city has to be an attractive place to work and live. The term creative knowledge city (CKC) is borrowed from Musterd and Deurloo (2006). In local debates in the Netherlands about developing CKCs two weaknesses in urban policy seem to recur. First, the importance of individuals and institutions that produce and/or disseminate knowledge is mainly discussed on the scale of cities and rarely with regard to whole regions. The most important policies to stimulate the CKC are aimed at drawing middle class fractions to neighbourhoods located in the city and its surrounding urban neighbourhoods. The well-educated and well-earning residents who constitute the middle class are not only deemed an indispensable location factor that attracts new businesses to cities, they are first and foremost considered to be essential for developing a buzzing creative atmosphere that can boost economic growth. However, the fact that middle class people also live outside the city...
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