Handbook of Urban Geography
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Handbook of Urban Geography

Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen

This collection brings together the latest thinking in urban geography. It provides a comprehensive overview of topical issues and draws on experiences from across the world. Chapters have been prepared by leading researchers in the field and cover themes as diverse as urban economies, inequalities and diversity, conflicts and politics, ecology and sustainability, and information technologies. The Handbook offers a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in cities and the urban in geography and across the wider social sciences.
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Chapter 12: The cultural economy in cities

Tom Hutton


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.

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