Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander
Chapter 24: The Creative City and its Distributional Consequences: The Case of Wellington
Philip S. Morrison I had a hunch that inequality in our society was being exacerbated by the rise of the creative economy. Indeed, inequality was highest in the creative epicenters of the U.S. economy. (Florida, 2005, pp. 4–5) We find that the rhetoric of universal social potential accompanying creative city ideas continues to overlook those unable to participate in this new economy, as well as those who are more actively excluded. (Atkinson and Easthope, 2009, p. 64) These concerns, which were raised in Richard Florida’s (2005) Cities and the Creative Class and in a review of creative strategies in Australia’s cities, do not take centre stage in Florida’s argument. Rather, they linger as nagging doubts while the main thesis is being advanced. ‘The underlying concern’, Florida explains, ‘is that our society continues to encourage the inventive talents of a minority while neglecting the creative capacities of the majority’ (Florida, 2005, p. 5). This is an opportune time to elevate these nagging issues by drawing evidence from Wellington City, which has been held up as a particularly creative city. The main point I wish to make in this chapter concerns the way in which successive concentrations of knowledge and creative workers in the central city of a metropolitan region runs the risk of increasing social inequality. The primary mechanism, I argue, is the way the spatial concentration of wealth at the centre steepens the housing rent gradient, leading to increasing suburbanization of the less competitive. The result is the addition...
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