Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities: Guidelines for Local Authorities
By INTELI – Inteligência em Inovação, Centro de Inovação
INTELI, June 2011
Cover photography: June of Arts - Óbidos Credits: Óbidos Municipality
2. Framework, Concepts and Approaches: the Creative Ecosystem 2.1. Framework and Key Concepts 2.2. Approaches on Creative-based Territorial Development
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3. Small and Medium-sized Cities in the European Territorial System 3.1. The European Territorial System: Trends and Challenges 3.2. Small and Medium-sized Cities in the EU Territory
4. Creativity as a Driver for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Cities 46 4.1. Beyond Metropolitan-biased Approaches 46 4.2. Highlights of a Creative Small Cities Approach 49 5. Benchmarking of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities 62 5.1. Case Studies on Creative-based Strategies in Small and Mediumsized Cities 62 5.2. Towards a Typology of Creative-base Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities 98 6. Lessons Learnt for the Design and Implementation of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities 102 7. Bibliographical References
a Executive Summary We have been facing the emergence of a new era characterized by the growing relevance of knowledge, innovation and creativity, and the rising importance of regions and cities as arenas for territorial competitiveness. Building creative ecosystems is possible in small and medium-sized cities This growing relationship between creativity and territory leads to the introduction of the concept of ‘creative ecosystem’ which is an environment of excellence based on creative assets that generates socio-economic growth and development, and comprises three interlinked components: economy – creative industries, place – creative spaces, and people – creative talent. Such interaction depends largely on the specific governance systems and institutional arrangements of the territories – governance, and that of their position in the spatial system and urban hierarchies, and their level of access to information and communication technologies – connectivity. According to different academic studies and public policy documents, such as the Florida’s Creative Capital model, the concept of ‘creative ecosystem’ is oriented to big cities and metropolises that cause the marginalisation of smaller territorial areas. Either they are considered irrelevant in the creative economy movement and devoted to failure, or they tend to extrapolate the concepts and models of metropolitan creative imaginaries with inappropriate results, the socalled fast policy transfer. Moreover, these studies have been tested essentially in the reality of “liberal market economies”, such as the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK, it being questionable if some of their ingredients are universally applicable, namely in the remaining European countries. In fact, the European spatial system has specific characteristics compared to other territorial areas, alongside the internal differences between countries and regions, such as territorial diversity materialized in diverse spatial settlements, dense regional networks and a rich historical, natural and cultural heritage. In this context, small and medium-sized cities, despite some limitations, have potentials that must be explored, like the diversification of the local economy, the position in a polycentric spatial system, the integration in regional and global networks, the trends towards urban exodus and counter-urbanisation and a unique territorial capital.
a Thus, small territorial areas, due to their advantages, also have a role to play in the creative economy and can benefit from participating in the competition for the creative class, although in different forms to metropolitan centres. Small and medium-sized cities as attractors of creative people, inducing local growth Small cities and even rural areas can attract creative people, based mostly on quality of life and the place’s qualities (the so called ‘amenities’). These amenities constitute a set of unique characteristics of the territories, both natural and manmade, with an aesthetic, social and economic value, and can be classified in natural, cultural, symbolic and built assets. People are increasingly looking for sustainable and healthy lifestyles, giving priority to well-being, community spirit, identity, authenticity, but also to the availability of a minimum critical mass of basic services to the population. However, preferences for amenities-based places vary according to the different segments of the creative class and other factors such as age, lifestyle, stage of life, personal attitude and circumstances. Small communities tend to attract mostly talented young families, midlife career changers and active retirees, and these people tend to belong to a higher age-scale and to be married and with children, compared to urban talent. The presence of creative people is highly associated with jobs creation and growth in small communities. Entrepreneurship can be the mechanism through which the knowledge of talents is assimilated into the local economy. In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit of the creative class induces the development of creative businesses such as arts, music, design, and software. Moreover, creative industries provide innovative inputs for other areas of activity in local economies such as agriculture, crafts, textiles, tourism or gastronomy – the so-called knowledge spillovers. Besides the spontaneity associated with some of these processes, local development policies have a role of producing favourable conditions, infrastructures and support programmes available, inducing the attraction and retention of creative people and the emergence of creative businesses. It is worth mentioning the importance of high quality schools, not only as a source of magnetism for artists, but also as an internal source of talent.
a Towards a typology of creative-based strategies in small and medium-sized cities Based on an intensive analysis of case studies of creative communities in the USA, Canada, and Europe, a typology of creative-based policy strategies was produced: a physical approach, a green approach, a thematic approach, and an integrated approach. The physical approach is focused on the built environment and on urban regeneration and rehabilitation; the green approach is based on the promotion of quality of life and the placeâ€™s qualities; the thematic approach is centred on the selection of a specific segment of the creative industries and is mostly concerned with immaterial actions; finally, the integrated approach is focused on the attraction of talent and creative businesses through the application of integrated instruments with social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts. Besides the overlap between these approaches in real life, the model is useful to inform on decision-making processes. Lessons learnt for the design and implementation of creative-based strategies in small and medium-sized cities This theoretical and empirical research, and the practical contact with the reality of small communities lead to the systematisation of a set of ingredients for the definition and implementation of creative-based strategies. The intention is not to present a kind of toolkit but a series of ideas that can be useful for policy-makers and stakeholders. Local leadership as a driver for development: Local leaders can be promoters or facilitators of the development of creative ecosystems, if they are proactive, future-oriented, embrace change and take risks. Agents of change as engines of creative transformation: Specific actors, such as a group a people, a single person or an organization, can function as agents of change, promoting the creative transformation of small and medium-sized cities. Collaboration and community engagement: Fostering collaboration at all levels (political authorities, universities, technological institutes, companies, and civil society) and promoting community engagement are crucial success factors in the implementation of creative-based strategies. Creative brokers promoting an interdisciplinary approach: The role of creative brokers in small and
a medium-sized cities is very important because they can act as connectors between industries, knowledge domains, disciplines and players, promoting interdisciplinarity. Building territorial creative networks and partnerships: Small territories can play a decisive role as anchors for the development of the surrounding regions, and also as bridges between the ‘local’ and the ‘global’, participating in territorial networks focused on creativity. Experimental and informal planning and evaluation of creative results: Creative-based strategies must be flexible, informal, and have an experimentalist nature, despite the importance of the monitoring and evaluation systems used to measure their results and impacts. Avoiding local conflicts and social gentrification: In order to contribute to a better local creative environment, the implementation of creative-based strategies should encompass a conflict resolution programme, avoiding social gentrification. Giving visibility to local creative people – “invisible talents”: It is important to map local creative people in order for the real dimension of local talent not captured by official quantitative analysis in small and medium-sized cities, to become visible. Creativity-friendly local education systems: High-quality schools are not only a factor of attraction for creative people, but also an internal source for creative individuals to the territory. It is strategically important to develop a creative-friendly local education system and not just import talents from external sources. Creative spaces for convergence and experimentation: The creation of creative spaces for convergence and experimentation (such as artistic residencies, live-work houses, creative incubators, meeting spaces, etc.) is a success factor, both for the attraction of temporary visiting artists and new residents. Flexible, temporary and low-cost creative spaces: The flexible use of space is a key ingredient in creative-based strategies, in an era where work practices are changing. Vacant spaces can be used for ephemeral creative activities at a low cost. Promoting well-being and quality of life: It is essential to promote high standards of quality of life in a place, towards the creation of “creative sustainable communities”. Activities targeting the well-being of the population, social inclusion and sustainability are some examples that are relevant to fostering quality of life. In conclusion, public policies and strategies are context-specific and have to be designed based on 8
a local assets and differentiation factors. Fast policy transfer is very dangerous and can lead to inappropriate results. Each place has to look for its own creativity. This strategic plan was developed within the “Creative Clusters in Low Density Urban Areas” project, supported by the URBACT II Programme of the European Commission (EC). The initiative has been coordinated by the Municipality of Óbidos (Portugal) under a partnership composed of INTELI – Intelligence in Innovation (Portugal), and other cities and towns of the European Union (EU): Enguera (Spain), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Barnsley (UK), Mizil (Romania), Jyväskylä (Finland) and Hódmezovásarhely (Hungary).
1. Introduction This document integrates strategic guidelines for the definition and implementation of creativebased strategies in small and medium-sized cities. In fact, both academic studies and public policy documents are centred on the reality of big cities and metropolises, excluding smaller communities from the creative economy movement or assuming that they can adopt creative metropolitan imaginaries. With that in mind, this report advocates the need to design local, regional and European creative-based policies and financing instruments adapted to the specificities of small and medium-sized territorial areas, and not a “one size fits all” approach. Policies are context-specific and must rely on the political leanings, institutional arrangements, historic trajectory, cultural and symbolic characteristics, position in the spatial system and urban hierarchies, and the creative potential of the territories. Some insights on these ideas were presented in the Green Paper on Unlocking the Potential of the Cultural and Creative Industries (EC, 2010a): “academic research suggests that large scale industrialisation of creativity and cultural innovation occurs in large urban areas (...) nonetheless, there is no straightforward connection between cultural and creative industries and labour market size or population (...) regional distribution of industrial and innovation systems, including cultural and creative industries is much more diverse (...) in rural areas new business models can help bring innovation and sustainability to traditional forms and lead to economic viability”. Moreover, the European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011, emphasises that the cultural and creative industries contribute, in many cases, to the transformation of declining local economies, by encouraging the emergence of new types of economic activity, creating new and sustainable jobs and making European regions and cities more attractive, thus serving the interests of social and territorial cohesion1. This action plan was developed within the “Creative Clusters in Low Density Urban Areas” project, supported by the URBACT II Programme of the European Commission (EC). The initiative has been coordinated by the Municipality of Óbidos (Portugal) under a partnership composed of INTELI – Intelligence in Innovation (Portugal), and other cities and towns of the European Union (EU): Enguera (Spain), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Barnsley (UK), Mizil (Romania), Jyväskylä (Finland) and Hódmezovásarhely (Hungary).
However, the relevance of creative-based strategies for the development of small communities has been absent from the majority of European reports and strategic documents on the theme.
The exchange of experiences and best practices and the proposal of policy recommendations and action plans related to creative clusters in small and medium-sized territorial areas were the main objectives of the network. The partners also intend to support policy-makers and managers of Operational Programmes to define initiatives in this field, which may be selected for the Structural Funds programmes. In addition to the development of network activities associated to a specific learning itinerary (conferences, thematic workshops, study visits, etc.), each city has produced a Local Action Plan linked to creativity, but adapted to its endogenous assets, with the help of a Local Support Group composed of relevant local stakeholders and the Managing Authorities of Operational Programmes2. The document is structured into five main parts. The first intends to present the framework and key concepts linked to the creative ecosystem, as well as the existing approaches to creativebased territorial development. In sequence, the challenges and opportunities faced by small and medium-sized cities in the European territorial system are described. Then, taking into consideration the specificities of these territories, some highlights towards a creative-based small cities approach are defined, alongside the presentation of some evidence of the concentration of creative people in small communities and even rural areas. The fourth part is dedicated to the presentation of concrete case studies on successful creative-based strategies defined and implemented by small cities in Europe, Canada and the USA, in order to conclude with the presentation of a tentative typology of creative strategies adapted to small communities. Finally, some strategic guidelines are proposed for the development of creative small territories intended for local and regional authorities and related communities. This report was produced by INTELI – Intelligence in Innovation, a Portuguese think-and-do-tank focused on regional and urban development in the areas of culture and creativity, sustainability and mobility, and social innovation.
In order to give voice to a wide range of small and medium-sized cities and rural areas in the definition of European creativity-related policies and funding programmes and instruments, in January 2009 the network launched a political memorandum called “The Óbidos Charter - a Pact for Creativity”. The document was signed by 30 mayors of European cities and towns in Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Romania and Hungary, at the “Creative Mayors’ Summit” which took place in Óbidos, but is open to the partaking of additional cities (http://www.obidoscriativa.com/creative_english.htm).
Framework, Concepts and Approaches: the Creative Ecosystem
2. Framework, Concepts and Approaches: the Creative Ecosystem 2.1. Framework and Key Concepts We have been facing the emergence of a new era characterised by the growing importance of knowledge, innovation and creativity, along with the trends towards globalisation and dissemination of information, communication and media technologies. In fact, creativity, knowledge and innovation have become the main driving forces of territorial economic, social and cultural development. “In the contemporary world, a new development paradigm is emerging, which links the economy and culture, embracing economic, cultural, technological and social aspects of development at both the macro and micro level. Central to the new paradigm is the fact that creativity, knowledge and access to information are increasingly recognized as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalising world” (UNCTAD, 2008). However, in apparent contrast with this global world, regions and cities have been rising as the main arenas of territorial competitiveness. The recognised ‘death of geography’ postulated by several authors has been counterbalanced by the specific historical trajectory, and the economic, political,
characteristics of regions and cities. Thus, “globalisation and localisation, far from being mutually exclusive processes, are actually much more interwoven” (Morgan and Nauwelaers, 1999). But, more than this kind of ‘regionalism’, we have also witnessed an ‘urban turn’. According to Parkinson (2005), between 2000 and 2006, there was a general recognition of the contribution of cities to regional economic development (namely at the EU level), after previous phases that were marked by a hesitant emergence and consolidation of the urban agenda. This growing relationship between creativity and territory leads to the introduction of the concept of ‘creative ecosystem’. It is an environment of excellence based on creative assets that generates socio-economic growth and development, and comprises three interlinked components:
Economy – Creative Industries: companies and organisations of the cultural and creative sector as economic, social and cultural engines; Place – Creative Spaces: places as spaces of cultural and creative production and consumption that attract resources, people and capital; People – Creative Talent: people with artistic skills and personal abilities that nurture creativity, with an entrepreneurial spirit enhancing the creation of innovative businesses. Such interaction depends largely on the specific governance systems and institutional arrangements of the territories – Governance, and that of their position in the spatial system and urban hierarchies, and their level of access to information and communication technologies and the digital economy - Connectivity. Figure 1 - The Creative Ecosystem
Source: Adapted from INTELI (2009)
Economy | Creative Industries Creative industries are at the core of the creative economy. However, both in the academic literature and public policy agendas there is not a common and universal definition of the concept and of its composition in terms of sub-sectors of activity. In the policy discourse, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) introduced the most popular notion in 1998 in the UK. The famous report, Creative Industries Mapping Study, defines
creative industries as those activities which originate from individual creativity, skill and talent, and which have the potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. Advertising, architecture, arts and antiques markets, crafts, design, fashion design, film, interactive leisure software, music, television and radio, performing arts, publishing and software, were the 13 sectors considered in the mapping exercise.
Cultural and Creative Industries â€“ Some Concepts Caves (2000): Creative industries supply goods and services that we broadly associate with cultural, artistic, or simply entertainment value. Throsby (2001): Cultural activities involve some form of creativity in their production; they are concerned with the generation and communication of symbolic means; their output potentially embodies at least some form of intellectual property. Hartley (2005): The idea of creative industries seeks to describe the conceptual and practical convergence of the creative arts (individual talent) with cultural industries (mass scale), in the context of new media technologies within a new knowledge economy, for the use of newly interactive citizen-consumers.
Since then, various conceptual models, segmentation proposals and measurement techniques have been employed in different countries to define, classify and assess the extent of creative activities, such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea, Sweden or Denmark3. As a result, several public policy documents were published, recognising the importance of this sector for economic development. In this context, the study The Economy of Culture in Europe (2006), commissioned by the Directorate-General for Culture and Education of the EC and produced by KEA European Affairs, has been recognised as a reference at a European level. Without presenting a specific definition of the cultural and creative sector, the proposal for its categorisation was based on a concentric approach integrated by the following circles: core arts field, cultural industries, creative industries and activities and related industries. Recently, the Green Paper on Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries (EC, 2010a) defines cultural industries as those producing and distributing goods or services that, while they are being developed, are considered to have a specific attribute, use or purpose that
These efforts to study the size and structure of the cultural and creative industries were also developed, even in an earlier stage, at an inter-governmental level by several organisations such as UNESCO, OECD, United Nations and WIPO and at a European level by the LEG â€“ Leadership Group on Cultural Statistics and EUROSTAT.
embodies or conveys cultural expressions, irrespective of the commercial value they may have. They include the traditional arts sectors, audiovisuals, video games, new media, music, books and press. Moreover, the creative industries are those that use culture as an input and have a cultural dimension, although their outputs are mainly functional. They incorporate architecture, design and advertising. An interesting international study was published by UNCTAD (2008, 2010). The Creative Economy Report defines creative industries as the cycles of creation, production and distribution of goods and services that use creativity and intellectual capital as primary inputs. They comprise a set of knowledge-based activities that produce tangible goods and intangible intellectual or artistic services with creative content, economic value and market objectives. “Creative industries are at the crossroads of the arts, culture, business and technology” (UNCTAD, 2008). The report classifies the creative industries in four groups: heritage, arts, media and functional creations. Based on these frameworks, we will use the concept of ‘cultural and creative sector’, integrating four concentric areas: Traditional cultural expressions and heritage: Includes heritage that groups cultural aspects from the historical, anthropological, aesthetic and social viewpoints, influencing creativity. Cultural expressions are embedded in the creation of crafts, folklore, gastronomy, etc. Arts: Integrates cultural and non-industrial products whose outputs are prototypes and potentially copyrighted works. It focuses on non-reproducible artistic production and consumption. Cultural industries: This regards industrial activities that produce cultural products aimed at mass reproduction and mass dissemination. The outputs are exclusively cultural and are mostly based in property rights. Creative activities: Comprises activities and services whose outputs are functional but which incorporate creative inputs in the production of non-cultural goods, such as architecture and advertising.
Figure 2 - Composition of the Cultural and Creative Sector
Source: Adapted from INTELI (2010)
Thus, the definition of the cultural and creative sector represents an enlargement of the concepts of the cultural sector and cultural industries, comprising different activities besides arts-for-sake in the strictest sense. The traditional oppositions between public-funded and private-driven activities, commercial and non-commercial activities, and classic and folk arts, tend to vanish, as the frontiers of the sector become more fluid. Also at the level of the value chain, distinctions between content creation, manufacture and distribution, and, finally, delivery of a product or service, are difficult to make, namely as new media technologies are increasingly applied at all stages of the chain. In fact, consumers are becoming co-creators of contents and platforms in an era where the concept of open innovation dominates the entrepreneurial fabric in the so-called new economy.
Cultural and Creative Sector – Key Figures Turnover of more than € 654 billion and contribution to EU-25 GDP of 2.6% (2003) Growth of the sector in the period 1999-2003 12,3% higher than the growth of the global economy Employment of the sector represents 3.1% of total EU-25 employment (5.8 million people) (2004) Growth in the global market for traded goods and services of the creative industries of 8.7% (2000-2005) World exports of creative industry goods and services of 3.4% of world trade KEA (2006); UNCTAD (2008, 2010)
Place | Creative Spaces The creative economy is strongly related with the concept of ‘place’ and has been applied to several spatial scales, ranging from ‘creative cities’ and ‘creative districts’ to ‘creative-oriented facilities’. According to Landry (2000), the creative city is based on the idea that “culture as values, insight, a way of life and form of creative expression, represents the soil from within which creativity emerges and grows, and therefore provides momentum for development”. The author identifies seven key creative urban factors: personal qualities; will and leadership; human diversity and access to varied talent; organizational culture; local identity; urban spaces and facilities; and network dynamics. These aspects are considered the preconditions for validating the creative capacity of a city: whereas a city can be creative in the presence of just some of these factors, it will only work at its best when all of them are present. Moreover, the author advocates that creative cities are places that contain the necessary preconditions, in terms of hard and soft infrastructure, to generate a flow of ideas and inventions. The first is composed by constructed environment, institutions and support services that provide the foundation for the development of the atmosphere and activities of a city. Skilled and flexible workers, dynamic thinkers, creators and implementers, strong communication linkages and a general climate of entrepreneurship, represent the second. Creative cities were originally associated with creative industries, but now they are also considered poles of attraction of creative people (Lazzaretti et al., 2008). The ability to attract and retain talent, figures as a factor that brings competitive advantages to cities. For example, London, Berlin, New York and Barcelona are considered as ‘creative cities’ by the academy and policy spheres.
Creative Cities – Some Concepts Darchen and Tremblay (2011): Cities are facing immense challenges with the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial era and need to be creative in thinking about urban problems. Landry (2000): The added value in cities is created not so much through what is manufactured, but more through intellectual capital applied to products, processes and services. UNCTAD (2010): A creative city is an urban complex where cultural activities of various sorts are an integral component of the city’s economic and social functioning. Such cities tend to be built upon a strong social and cultural infrastructure, to have relatively high concentration of creative employment, and to be attractive to inward investment because of their well-established cultural facilities.
The notion of creative city goes well with strategies of culture-led urban regeneration, which have been a feature of post-industrial cities in Europe (Flew, 2010). In fact, one of the motivations behind creative-based development is the redevelopment of derelict industrial sites that served old crafts production (e.g. textiles, ceramics, jewellery/metal crafts) towards the creation of “cultural quarters”, “cultural/creative districts”, “creative hubs” or “innovation hubs” (Cunha, 2007). These are mainly fusion spaces, where a mixture of cultural and creative functions prevail, as well as activities from production to consumption and exhibition, from the visual and performing arts to music and digital media, also including leisure and entertainment elements, residential complexes and retail spaces. Although some of these spaces can emerge spontaneously, the majority are induced by public policies with the aims of strengthening the identity, attraction power and market position of places; stimulating a more entrepreneurial approach to the arts and culture; enhancing innovation and creativity; finding new uses for old buildings and derelict sites; and stimulating cultural diversity and cultural democracy (Mommaas, 2004). Arabianranta in Helsinki (Finland), The Digital Hub in Dublin (Ireland), 22@bcn in Barcelona (Spain), Museum Quarter in Vienna (Austria) and the Cultural Industries Quarter in Sheffield (UK) are acknowledged examples of these projects.
Creative Hubs – Some Common Characteristics Degraded industrial and logistic spaces, old military facilities, historic centres, waterfronts Empty and expectant spaces with an original atmosphere (history, heritage) Mixture of cultural and creative functions, from production to consumption and exhibition Mixture of cultural and creative people and companies, from the visual and performing arts to music and digital media Mixed-use spaces, from residential complexes and retail spaces to learning and training areas, and leisure facilities Mixture of cultural and creative activities with leisure and entertainment elements: bars, restaurants, shops, etc. Exercise of different lifestyles: 24/7, importance of nightlife, sociability, conviviality Social networks, collaboration, and interdisciplinarity Identity, sense of community, but diversity and openness New relations between public policies, private actors and civil society: informal groups of cultural agents, hybrid organizations, etc.
At a micro-scale, the creation of creative-based facilities contributes to attracting and retaining creative people and artists, generating favourable conditions for the development of their creative work. Performing arts spaces, creative industries incubators, live-work houses and studio buildings, artistic residencies, convergence centres, and ‘third places’, are some of the infrastructures that are sought by the creative class. Moreover, the Green Paper on Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries (EC, 2010a) advocates the need for new spaces of experimentation, innovation and entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative sector, such as meeting places and ‘laboratories’ for user-centred and open innovation, where various disciplines work together – arts, science, technology, and business. In this context, concepts such as ‘living labs’ or ‘fab labs’ are emerging due to the increasing role of the user in the creation process, in an era where frontiers between creators, producers and consumers are fuzzy, in part as a result of the role of participatory technologies and social networks.
People | Creative Talent Creative people are becoming the driving force to achieve economic growth in the new economy. In fact, talent is the crucial resource of creative cities. The Human Capital model has postulated this idea of skilled workers as a driver for regional and urban development (Lucas, 1988; Glaeser, 1998). Places with higher levels of human capital are more innovative and grow more rapidly over time. In the book The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, Florida (2002) introduced the concept of ‘creative class’ within the Creative Capital approach. This notion is not strictly associated to qualified people, but comprises all type of workers whose job is to create meaningful new forms, independently of their formal education. Their economic function is to create new ideas, new technology or new creative content. For the author, the creative class is integrated by two main groups: a super-creative core composed of a wide range of core occupations, such as science, engineering, education, computer programming with arts, design and media workers making a small subset; and the creative professionals or the knowledge-based workers that include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector and education4.
Creative Class – Key Figures The indicator “creative occupations as a percentage of total employment” (the Florida’s Creative Class Index) corresponds to 30.08% in the USA (2000). The creative class comprises a comparable portion of the workforce in Belgium (29.97%), the Netherlands (29.5%), Finland (28.6%), UK (26.73%) and Ireland (26.01%). However, other European countries, such as Portugal and Italy have less than 15% of their national workforce in creative occupations. Ireland has seen the greatest growth in creative occupations since 1995: 7.6% average annual growth rate. The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark have experienced roughly a 2% annual rate of growth. Only Portugal has experienced negative growth in creative occupations. Florida and Tinagli (2004)
The heterogeneity of the concept has been subject to several critiques (for example: Markussen, 2006).
Florida postulates that people of the creative class share some common values, such as creativity, individuality, meritocracy, diversity, openness and mobility, and make their location decisions based on quality of place and amenities instead of job opportunities. Thus, “the winners and losers in the global creative economy will be those nations that are best able to attract, retain, and develop creative talent and harness their creative assets and capabilities” (Florida and Tinagli, 2004). Besides the attraction and retention of creative people, it is also important to consider the potential of a place’s education system to develop creative minds and talent – ‘local creative education ecosystems’. This dimension is more sustainable than merely importing talented individuals into cities and regions (Lewis and Donald, 2009), but it hasn’t been adequately explored in the literature on this theme. Awareness of creativity among youngsters and children must be integrated into all areas of knowledge in a transverse logic: “innovation and creativity is taught, learned and cultivated (...) general attitude is derived, for the most part, from personal learning (...) to teach how to develop creative thought, to attempt to imagine the impossible, to generate difference and distinction, is not only viable but necessary” (Moura, 2010).
Culture-based Creativity Culture-based creativity is associated to the ability of people, mainly artists, to think imaginatively or metaphorically, to challenge the conventional, and to call on the symbolic and affective so as to communicate. It has the capacity to break from the conventional - the usual way of thinking -, to allow the development of a new vision, an idea or a product. This requires: personal abilities, technical skills and a leading social environment. The importance of the social context justifies public interventions in the creation of favourable conditions to stimulate creativity. The distinctive features of culture-based creativity are: affect, spontaneity, intuition, memories, imagination, and aesthetic. KEA (2009)
In this context, the notion of creative entrepreneurs is also emerging. They are creative practitioners with the capacity to turn ideas into creative products and services for society. Their creativity surpasses the artistic sphere; their entrepreneurial vision allows them to identify new opportunities in the marketplace, using business skills to transform ideas into products and profits.
According to Henry et al. (2004), creative entrepreneurs are “individuals who use creative mind sets in response to two triggers for their entrepreneurial acts: extrinsic, that which is contextual and business-driven; and intrinsic, that which involves the internal desire to create something and a personal sense of challenge”. This idea represents an increasing relationship between arts, culture, technology and business.
2.2. Approaches on Creative-based Territorial Development We can identify two different approaches that explore the relationship between creativity and territorial development: the creative industries approach and the creative class approach.
Creative Industries Approach This approach is centred on the creative industries as generators of innovation and territorial development, emphasising the role of firms and systems of firms, i.e. clusters. It is also referred to, in literature, as “business-based approach”, “business-climate” or “production milieu”. Creative and highly skilled people are motivated by job opportunities when moving from one place to another: “people follow jobs”. Urban growth is directly associated to the economic geography of production. As postulated by Storper and Scott (2009), “it is production and jobs above all that drive urban prosperity (…) among the preferences that play a role in individuals’ location choices we must surely count those for relevant employment and remuneration”. Localisation economies are considered to explain the clustering of businesses (Marshall, 1919; Bagnasco, 1977; Becatinni, 1990; Porter, 1998). These external economies can be defined as dense input-output relations, a skilled labour pool and knowledge spillovers that are external to a company, but internal to companies within an industry in a specific geographical area. According to the report New Cluster Concepts Activities in Creative Industries produced for the EC Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General (2010b), this approach is related with a traditional cluster perspective that focuses on companies and how creative businesses and branches cluster together with the benefits from being located in the same place. In this sense, there is evidence to 26
advocate that creative industries cluster geographically (Lazzeretti et al., 2008, 2009; NESTA, 2009). These theoretical ideas have direct impact on the definition and implementation of public policies: in this case, regional and local public authorities are focused on the proposal of measures and conditions favourable for the attraction and development of creative businesses as sources of jobs and wealth, such as subsidies and tax incentives.
Creative Class Approach This approach is focused on the creative class and highly skilled people, and is based on the contributions of Florida (2002), Glaeser et al. (2001) and Clark (2004). It is also called in the literature “people-based approach”, “people-climate” or “consumption milieu”. The location choices of individuals are made principally in response to features of the urban environment – “jobs follow people”. This emphasis on the quality of life and on place qualities (the so-called amenities) has shifted the focus from creative industries to the human factor and its creative environment. Besides considering also the role of localisation economies in the clustering of creative people and businesses, this approach is more linked to the analytical framework of the urbanisation economies (that can be dated back to the work of Jacobs, 1969). This concept is related with the density and diversity of cities – it is the close location of diverse activities, workforce, and skills, as well as cultural diversity, which explain long-term growth through the cross-pollination of ideas, technologies and knowledge. In this approach the concept of ‘creative clusters’ is different from the traditional industrial clusters analysis. The EC report (2010b) designates this new viewpoint as an occupational perspective that focuses on individuals and how creative people benefit from choosing the same places to live and work. In this context, creative clusters can be defined as “places that bring together a community of creative people who share an interest in novelty but not necessarily on the same subject; a catalysing place where people, relationships, ideas, and talents can spark each other; an environment that offers diversity, stimuli and freedom of expression; and finally, a dense, open and ever-changing network of inter-personal exchanges
that nurture individual’s uniqueness and identity” (De Propris and Hypponen, 2008). Evans (2005) presents the concept as “places to live as well as to work, places where cultural products are consumed as well as made (…) they are open round the clock, for work and play (…) they feed on diversity and change, and so thrive in busy, multi-cultural urban settings that have their own local distinctiveness but are also connected to the world”. In spite of several critiques to this approach5, it has drawn attention to a vital debate on urban and regional growth, including the distinction between localisation economies and urbanisation economies; to the value of labour, human capital, in the new knowledge economy in terms of knowledge workers, talent and creative class; to labour migration and labour mobility as an underlying structural change of the economy, emphasising the importance of specific geographies; and it has given consideration to the fact that locations are more than just a set of factors of production or an innovation system and hence brought attention to amenities, urban beauty, and design and the socio-cultural environment (Hansen and Winther, 2010). In terms of public policies, the measures are oriented towards improving the qualities of the cities as a way of attracting talent which, in turn, induces additional investments by companies and the emergence of start-ups, enhancing job growth, rising income and innovation.
Florida’s Creative Capital Model – Key Concepts The Creative Capital model advocated by Florida is based on three dimensions: Talent, Tolerance and Technology (3 T’s). The driving force behind the development of a city is its ability to attract and retain creative people – the so-called ‘creative class’. It includes creative knowledge workers “whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content” (Florida, 2002). Talent migrates to regions and cities with specific urban qualities and high degrees of openness, diversity and tolerance. Thus, what cities and regions should attract is not the creative or knowledge-intensive companies, but the people that work for these companies or those who might start such companies themselves. Then, the concentration of creative people in these places induces creativity and regional economic development in the forms of higher innovation and expansion of technology-based sectors. Summing up, “tolerance and low entry barriers to human capital help to attract talent, and that talent is in turn associated with the high-technology industry and regional growth” (Florida, 2005).
It is beyond the scope of this document to analyse in detail these critiques, such as: fuzziness of concepts; weak theorising; inadequate data and econometrical work; etc.
Creative Industries vs. Creative Class Weak and valuable points have been identified in the creative industries and creative class approaches, both at theoretical and empirical levels. Some studies claim that evidence supports the amenities-based theory and others reveal the importance of jobs and localisation economies in regional and urban growth. Nevertheless, several authors advocate that “These two perspectives are largely complementary. The production and consumption milieu can hardly be considered separately from each other, as working, living and leisure intertwine to a great extent in the creative city” (Trip and Romein, 2010) and “public policy making has to both address firms’ and individuals’ needs to support the development of the creative industries” (Chapain and De Propis, 2009). Moreover, according to the EU report on creative clusters (2010b), cluster initiatives for creative industries should conciliate the industrial cluster perspective with the occupational perspective, focusing not only on the improvement of the physical and social environment for creative workers, but also on traditional measures to stimulate creative companies. However, these theories are mainly oriented to metropolis and big cities and tested in the reality of the USA, being questionable if these approaches are applicable to small and medium-sized cities and even rural areas in different spatial contexts such as the European territorial system. In fact, according to van Heur (2010b), both the approach of A. Scott and the approach of R. Florida are “metropolitan biased”.
Small and Medium-sized Cities in the European Territorial System
3. Small and Medium-sized Cities in the European Territorial System 3.1. The European Territorial System: Trends and Challenges Nowadays, Europe is facing several challenges due to the increased exposure to globalisation, demographic trends, ageing population, different economic performance between regions, climate change and environmental risks, energy issues and EU integration. Figure 3 - Average Yearly Growth Rate of GDP per capita 1995-2003
Source: BMVBS/BBR (2007)
The ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy intends to overcome these challenges, based on the creation of a smart, inclusive and sustainable Europe. Smart growth means developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation; sustainable growth is about promoting a more resource-efficient, greener and competitive economy; and an inclusive growth foresees Europe fostering a high employment economy, delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion. The objectives of the EU, postulated in the ‘Europe 2020’, can only be achieved if the territorial dimension of the strategy is considered. In this context, the European territorial system is characterised by territorial diversity, such as different spatial settlements, dense and diverse
territorial networks, and rich natural and cultural heritage, which can be seen as an effective opportunity for development. Large diversity of spatial settlements The European territorial structure is characterized by a large diversity of spatial settlements, from rural and sparsely populated areas, to high-density urban areas. This urban system includes both small and medium-sized towns and global cities with different interdependencies and functionalities. Moreover, there is a fading of conventional boundaries between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’, which overlap and interlink in a complex process of interactions. Figure 4 - A New Urban-Rural Typology for NUTS 3 Regions
Source: EU (2010)
This situation can be illustrated by the OECD classification of European regions into three different categories, based on the share of a region’s population living in rural local units (defined as local administrative units with a population density below 150 inhabitants/km2): rural regions are those
This typology is based on a definition of urban and rural 1 km2 grid cells. Urban grid cells fulfil two conditions: 1) a population density of at least 300 inhabitants per km2 and 2) a minimum population of 5 000 inhabitants in contiguous cells above the density threshold. The other cells are considered rural. Thresholds for the typology: 50% and 20% of the regional population in rural grid cells. For Madeira, Açores and the French outermost regions, the population grid is not available. As a result, this typology uses the OECD classification for these regions. In EU (2010) ‘Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2010’, p. 241.
with more than 50% of the population living in rural local units; intermediate regions have between 15% and 50% of the population living in rural local units; and urban regions have less than 15% of the population living in rural local units. In the EU, 40.9% of the population live in predominantly urban regions, 35.5% in intermediate regions and 23.7% in predominantly rural regions, but it is important to stress that the rural areas represent a significant share of the European territory. The EUâ€™s approach introduces in the OECD classification a new concept of â€˜remotenessâ€™ based on the driving time to the closest city7. This typology includes: predominantly urban regions; intermediate regions close to a city; intermediate remote regions; predominantly rural regions close to a city; and predominantly remote rural regions. Under this framework, intermediate regions close to a main urban hub represented 36%, and predominantly rural areas close to a city 13% of the EU-27 population in 2004. 44% live in predominantly urban regions and 6% in remote areas. Table 1 - Characteristics of the Typology of Regions of the EU
Source: EU (2008)
Diverse and dense territorial networks This territorial diversity is reflected by (and is the reflex of) strong disparities between regions and cities. However, the EU adopted a spatial approach for regional development based on territorial
A region in considered close to a city if more than half of its residents can drive, within 45 minutes, to the centre of a city with at least 50,000 inhabitants.
cohesion, which aims to improve a more sustainable, balanced, polycentric, and competitive development of its territory (CEC, 1999). The European Spatial Development Perspective suggests a framework for the Cohesion Policy that aims to overcome major differences between localities and regions through “the development of a polycentric and balanced urban system and strengthening of the partnership between urban and rural areas” (CEC, 1999). In a similar vein, the Territorial Agenda of the EU was adopted in 2007, which places identical focus on the concept of territorial cohesion and in the potential of territorial diversity for development. It identifies “city regions and cities of varying size as the best available to build upon their own strengths in the context of Europe-wide cooperation with entrepreneurs as well as societal and political stakeholders”, calling for “new forms of partnership and territorial governance between rural and urban areas” (EU, 2007). Following that, the European Commission published the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion (CEC, 2008) where the challenges where action in needed, were highlighted: concentration, connection and cooperation. Concentration is about overcoming development challenges caused by differences in density. Connection means overcoming the barriers of distance between regions: broadband internet access, mobile phone coverage, and knowledge networks linking universities, research centres and business stakeholders across the globe. Finally, cooperation is the main instrument to address the problems of concentration and connectivity, advocating the need to integrate territorial networks and partnerships. Furthermore, the Territorial Agenda of the EU 2020 (EU, 2011) calls for the increasing importance of continued networking, cooperation and integration between various regions, at all territorial levels, and stresses that “polycentric and balanced territorial development of the EU is a key element for achieving territorial cohesion (…) where the most developed cities and regions within Europe cooperate as parts of a polycentric pattern, they add value and act as centres contributing to the development of their wider regions”.
Figure 5 - The Degree of Polycentrism in National Urban Systems
Source: ESPON (2006)
Natural, historical and cultural assets Europe is privileged with a rich history and a great quality and diversity of its natural, cultural and symbolic assets. According to ESPON (2011), â€œthe continent is basically a huge peninsula, with an extensive coastline, plenty of offshore islands and several mountain rangesâ€?. Moreover, a huge legacy of cultural landscapes and heritage buildings can be found across the territory, being acknowledged for their uniqueness and authenticity. Culture and nature are distinctive assets that are of a fundamental importance for the existence and development of the European territory and identity. Similarly, the Territorial Agenda of the EU 2020 (EU, 2011) advocates that ecological values, environmental quality and cultural assets are crucial to the well-being and to economic prospects, and offer unique development opportunities. But, the EU has to develop efforts to preserve this rich heritage, due to climate change and environmental risks, energy challenges and increasing loss of biodiversity. Such assets are very much based on place, and therefore will be an important part of the territorial development strategies in some regions or cities (ESPON, 2011).
Figure 6 - Map of Natural Environmental Assets
Source: EEA (2010)
‘Place-based policies’ are built on local geography and institutions, and are aimed at taking advantage of territorial assets and location advantages such as knowledge, skills, specialisation, as well as proximity between the different economic agents, as a way to achieve more sustainable development. The Barca Report advocates the need for a strategic and integrated policy approach “to reduce persistent inefficiency (…) and persistent social exclusion (…) in specific places” (Barca, 2009). This aims to promote, according to the contexts, the provision of integrated interventions to encourage institutional change, improving the well-being of people as well as businesses’ productivity and innovation. Thus, a place-based approach is recognized as essential for a better implementation of policies for regional development and to improve the aggregate growth based on specific assets and to achieve a high degree of complementarities across different sectoral policies.
Table 2 - Old and New Regional Policy Paradigm
Source: OECD (2006)
The European Territorial System – Some Characteristics Territorial diversity Large diversity of spatial settlements Relatively diverse territorial network Blurring of conventional boundaries between urban and rural areas Rich diversity of natural, historical and cultural assets Regional disparities Inequalities in economic performance Differences in demographic patterns Divergences in creativity and innovation Dissimilarities in the integration in global networks
The large differences within the EU represent a threat, but also an opportunity to promote the innovative potential of regions and cities in a creative and knowledge-based economy. Diversity of territories is a potential for development, through the distinctive identities of local and regional communities.
3.2. Small and Medium-sized Cities in the EU Territory The discussion about current spatial global challenges is mainly focused on global cities, capital cities and metropolitan areas (Bell and Jayne, 2009). There is, however, a growing interest by
policy-makers and planners in the potentials of small and medium-sized cities8 in terms of competitiveness and sustainable development. In fact, more than half of all urban-dwellers in the world live in cities with less than 500,000 inhabitants and 40-45% in cities and towns with less than 100,000. In developing countries, two thirds of urban residents live in places with less than 1 million people. Even in the USA, where almost 45 million people live in cities with a population of over 250,000, another 40 million live in places with between 50,000 and 250,000 inhabitants, and a further 40 million in cities with between 10,000 and 50,000 (Clancey, 2004; Bell and Jayne, 2009). In the EU, a large proportion of the population lives in small and medium-sized urban centres. Approximately 40% live in small urban areas (from 10,000 to 50,000 inhabitants) and 20% in medium-sized cities (between 50,000 and 250,000 inhabitants) in comparison with the more than 20% that live in large conurbations (more than 250,000 inhabitants). In the European spatial system there are nearly 1,000 urban centres with above 50,000 inhabitants and about 5,000 towns that have between 5,000 and 50,000 inhabitants (EEA, 2006). Figure 7 - Development of the Urban Population
Source: BMVBS/BBR (2007)
For characterising small cities, size - in absolute terms - is not enough. Different countries and continents use different measures to define them. Thus, we have to consider additional factors, such as the position in the spatial system and the urban hierarchies, influence, interdependencies, etc.
Despite this quantitative relevance and the different socio-economic situations and geographical locations, small and medium-sized cities and rural areas have some common limitations and face similar challenges. As van Heur (2010b) points out, small territorial areas tend to lack the agglomeration benefits and critical mass associated to large cities: concentration of highly educated workers; multiple clusters of economic activity; a diversified industrial and knowledge base; a critical mass of local consumers; and integration into global networks. Due to its characteristics, small cities “are simply less visible on the global scene than metropolises – they are easily forgotten in rankings of the most creative cities in the world” (van Heur, 2010b). However, small territorial areas are not necessarily devoted to failure and decline. They present several potentialities and face diverse opportunities, such as the diversification of the local economy, the role in a polycentric spatial system, the integration in regional and global networks, the urban exodus and the uniqueness of their territorial capital. In fact, the analysis of small cities is not only a matter of absolute size, “it is necessary to look in detail at the actual political, economic, social, cultural, spatial and physical nature of small cities, rather than judging them simply with reference to theories and measurements developed with reference to big cities and metropolises” as stressed by Bell and Jane (2009). According to Clancey (2004), “small cities are everywhere, contain a large proportion of urban humanity, and are a major engine for the growth of urbanity itself”. Diversification of local economy Small cities and rural areas are diversifying their economic base. A visible decline of the importance of agriculture and other primary activities in small territorial areas is being accompanied by a growth in the services sector: “Rural areas are diversifying their economic base from being the locations for the production of (agricultural) products to locations for production of services including tourism and recreation” (ESPON, 2006). These processes have largely contributed to the formation of a new concept of ‘rurality’ – the ‘new rural paradigm’ proposed by OECD (2006) with a specific focus on the competitiveness of rural areas through the valorisation of local assets and exploitation of unused resources and the development of other sectors such as ICT and cultural and creative businesses. Besides this, all levels of government must be involved in a perspective of multi-level governance with the formation of strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, NGOs and civil society.
Table 3 - The New Rural Paradigm
Source: OECD (2006)
Nodes in a polycentric spatial system Small and medium-sized cities can function as development poles for the surrounding area in a polycentric spatial system looking for territorial cohesion (ESPON, 2006; RePUS, 2007). The Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion (CEC, 2008) emphasises the significant role that small cities and towns can play in intermediate and rural regions, with regards to territorial cohesion: “towns and cities in intermediate and rural regions provide essential services for the surrounding rural areas (…) including the infrastructure necessary to invest in the adaptability of people and enterprises, [which] is key to avoiding rural depopulation and ensuring [that] these areas remain attractive places to live” (CEC, 2008). Moreover, given the increasing interdependence between the urban and rural spheres, the position of small territorial areas must be highlighted in regional and national network dynamics, but also in the articulation between the local and international economies. According to Bell and Jayne (2009), cities are important nodes in the networks between places of different scales, and they are seen mediating between the rural and the urban, the centre and the suburb, as well as between the local and the global. Regional and global networks The increasing importance of regions and cities in the global scene, and the apparent decline of the nation state, make it easier for small territories to be integrated in both regional and international networks. In fact, “in a global urban order characterised (...) by dense networks of interconnection and by intense interurban competition, (...) absolute size is less important” (Bell and Jayne, 2009).
Moreover, small cities can benefit from the interdependencies and complementarities with the surrounding territorial areas, building networks and partnerships that enhance their position in the regional and global economy, due to the increase of critical mass in economic, human resources and institutional terms. Urban exodus and counter-urbanisation In terms of demography of small territorial areas, we can identify two different trends. On the one hand, there is an increasing urbanisation process marked by the migration flow from rural to urban areas and the stagnation - or even decrease - of the population in rural areas. One the other hand, there is an on-going process of counter-urbanisation in some parts of Europe which is considered as a reverse migration flow – the movement of people to rural areas which has been influenced
telecommunications. This process is described as an ‘urban exodus’ and a ‘rural revival’, where people are moving out of large cities to live in the countryside, mostly in the dense urban networks of central and northwestern Europe, but also in southern and Nordic countries (ESPON, 2006). Uniqueness of territorial capital Small cities and rural areas present specific characteristics that can be valued in a creative economy, and they can’t - a priori - be excluded from the creativity movement that the world is facing nowadays. They possess distinctive features and a unique identity – complemented sometimes with quality of life - that detach them from some large cities because of traffic congestion, pollution, increasing housing prices, etc. This is related with the importance of territorial capital of some small places. As originally defined by the OECD, and subsequently adopted in the European Territorial Agenda process, a region’s territorial capital may include many factors such as “geographical location, size, factor of production endowment, climate, traditions, natural resources, quality of life or the agglomeration economies provided by its cities” (Territorial Economy, OECD Territorial Outlook 2001 cited in EC, 2006). Furthermore, it can incorporate “‘untraced interdependencies’ such as understandings, custom and informal rules that enable economic actors to work together under conditions of uncertainty, or the solidarity, mutual assistance and co-opting of ideas that often develop in small and medium-sized enterprises working in the same sector (social capital)”. The intangible factors are also important, which is often referred to as ‘”something in the air’” and the “‘environment’” 42
that is the blending result of the â€œinstitutions, rules, practices, producers, researchers and policymakers that make a certain creativity and innovation possibleâ€? (Territorial Economy, OECD Territorial Outlook 2001 cited in EC, 2006).
Creativity as a Driver for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Cities
4. Creativity as a Driver for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Cities 4.1. Beyond Metropolitan-biased Approaches According to different academic studies and public policy documents, creative-based strategies focus on big cities and metropolitan areas, which leads to a lack of attention towards smaller cities. van Heur (2010b) refers to a geographical bias of creative industries research and policy. In terms of the geographical bias of creative industries research, almost all theoretical and empirical studies on creative-based strategies are centred on large cities and metropolises, such as London, New York, Berlin and Paris. This fact is evident in the Florida’s Creative Capital model, which advocates a linear relationship between tolerance, the attraction and retention of the creative class, and the development of high-tech businesses and economic growth, within a “people-climate approach”. This approach was defined and tested in big cities and metropolises and in the context of the USA9, being questionable if it is universally applicable. Some studies have been developed to test the concepts and assumptions of the creative class thesis in other territories, namely in European countries. In the context of the European research project entitled “Technology, Talent and Tolerance in European Cities: A Comparative Analysis”, financed by the European Science Foundation, Boschma and Fritsch (2009) analysed the geography of the creative class and its relation with regional growth in Denmark, England, Wales, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The results show that both a regional climate of tolerance and regional job opportunities have a positive effect on a region’s share of the creative class. Moreover, there is some evidence of a positive relationship among the creative class, employment growth and entrepreneurship at the regional level in some of the analysed countries, but the need to account for differences among national contexts is emphasised.
The development of some studies outside the USA by R. Florida [Florida and Tinagli (2004)] has ignored the regional dimension, focusing on the national level. 46
One specific example is the analysis carried out in the Nordic regions, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland (Andersen et al., 2010). These countries have a different spatial structure, urban hierarchies and specific characteristics that detach them from the American reality: smaller city regions, less migration, less labour mobility, lower regional differences in welfare, etc. The study points to a positive correlation between amenities, creative occupations and high-tech jobs in larger Nordic city regions, but concludes that the Florida’s creative class approach is not a relevant framework for understanding the location of the creative class and regional growth in small city regions. In fact, the creative capital model postulates that the creative class is attracted to places characterized by diversity, density, critical mass and a vibrant cultural life, which are characteristics that impose and reinforce the competitive disadvantages of small cities. As a result, the indicators and measurements used in its analysis, such as the “tech-pole index”, “the gay index” or the “melting pot index”, position small communities in the bottom of the rankings of creative cities. According to Lewis and Donald (2009), there is still a dichotomy between ‘large and creative’ versus ‘small and disadvantaged’ cities, which tends to be perpetuated over time. Thus, considering the potentialities and challenges faced by smaller territories in the spatial system and urban hierarchies, further theoretical and empirical work is necessary, as well as evidence on the importance of creativity as a driver for the development of small cities and even rural areas. There is a need to reconcile the analysis of the “business-climate” and “peopleclimate” approaches, but essentially to recast the creative capital model in line with the specific characteristics of small territories, privileging alternative concepts and indicators, such as quality of life and natural, historical-cultural and symbolic amenities. This leads to a geographical bias on the creative industries policy: either small cities are considered irrelevant in the creative economy movement10, or geography does not matter and
For example a document produced by DCMS – Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2006) postulates that “creative clusters are only viable in big cities” (Regeneration & Renewal, 12/11/2006, Reporting on a draft DCMS Creative Economy Programme ‘Infrastructure’ Report). 47
they can extrapolate the concepts and models adopted by big cities and metropolises. In fact, the theories advocated by several academics and practitioners, with a special focus on the metropolitan-biased Florida’s approach, tend to shape the strategies of policy-makers worldwide, including the local public policies of small cities. Fast policy transfer is extremely dangerous because small cities all over the world tend to follow “metropolitan imaginaries” (van Heur, 2010a) frequently with inappropriate results. In fact, “authorities, generally under pressure of urban development and growth, and inspired by success stories, tend to minimize the importance of the basic nature of creativity and the culturalhistorical assets of the cities, which tends to result in standard normative procedures and urban development frameworks addressed to transform cities into techno-creative capitals”. This process may produce high economic inequality and social gentrification, one of the main critiques of Florida’s model, which is a particular concern of smaller cities that have limited resources and distributive power. Waitt and Gibson (2009) have presented a good example of this adoption of normative creative models based on experiences of metropolitan areas in small cities: Wollongong, in Australia. Wollongong is a city with 280,000 inhabitants located 80 km south of Sidney and with a wellknown reputation for metal manufacturing, especially steel. In a process of de-industrialization and regeneration, it was one of the first Australian cities to embrace a creative city agenda and the ambition to become a ‘city of the arts’, a ‘city of innovation’ and a ‘city of diversity’. However, the city has struggled to achieve sustained success with the adoption of a creative-based strategy centred on metropolitan ideas and unsuitable to its context and specificities. In fact, the authorities failed to attract creative people and businesses to the inner city because in the national imaginary, Wollongong remained associated to a steel city, with prevailing class legacies associated with working-class masculinity, with scepticism towards culture, arts and creativity. Moreover, its proximity to Sidney, that could be considered an opportunity, worked as a disadvantage. In fact, public policies are context-specific and have to be tailored to the realities of different territories, because the preconditions for creating job growth in small cities differ considerable from the preconditions of larger cities. According to van Heur (2010a), “culture-led policies and structures for small cities (...) should aim to question the dominant imaginaries by experimenting with new strategies of selection and retention; by developing new understandings of what constitutes culture in the first place; by including new types of players; and by developing different indicators to measure the cultural economy or the creative class”.
In conclusion, “local authorities should think, plan and act, based on the city’s specific features and assets, which have to be used as foundations in the search for their own urban creativity” (Munoz, 2010).
Florida’s Creative Capital Model – Geographical Bias of Research and Policy Geographical Research Bias The approach was developed and tested in metropolises and large cities in the context of the USA and not in small cities. The research model privileges variables such as size, diversity and density, characteristics essentially present in big cities and not in small communities. The indicators and measurement techniques used (such as the gay index, the bohemian index, etc.) and consequent rankings of creative cities, emphasise the position of big cities. Geographical Policy Bias Smaller cities are considered irrelevant for the creative class movement, being condemned to decline and failure due to their competitive disadvantages in terms of critical mass, density or diversity. The development of normative frameworks on creativity has been adopted by small cities based on the “creative imaginaries” of metropolises and large cities. Fast policy transfer and generalization of the models adopted by large cities induce inappropriate results in the development of small cities.
Besides this geographical bias of creative industries’ research and policy, a few authors are dedicating their attention to the relationship between small cities and the creative economy, using quantitative and qualitative case study approaches and underlining the rise of some successful creative small communities (BOP, 2008; Markussen, 2006; Petrov, 2007; Waitt and Gibson, 2009; Lewis and Donald, 2009; Nuur and Laestadius, 2009; van Heur, 2010a; Munoz, 2010; McGranahan and Wojan, 2007a, 2007b; McGranahan et al., 2010, Wojan, et al., 2007; Denis-Jacob, 2011).
4.2. Highlights of a Creative Small Cities Approach Recent research work and some anecdotal evidence of the relation between small cities and the creative economy, suggest that there is a correlation between amenities, in-migration, employment growth, and wealth creation. According to McGranahan and Wojan (2007a), the 49
creative class moves into less dense counties in search of a higher (more rural) quality of life, and the building of a creative class creates an environment for job creation and wealth growth. In fact, small cities and towns also play a role in the creative economy and can benefit from participating in the competition for the creative class, although in different forms and to a different degree to that of metropolitan centres (Petrov, 2007). Attraction of the Creative Class The attraction and retention of the creative class in small communities depends largely on the quality of life and the quality of place (the so-called amenities), which figure as the main explanatory factors for the ‘urban exodus’. However, this represents a revision of the concept of ‘amenities’ proposed in the Creative Capital model: “smaller cities, while not necessarily offering the planned creative cityscapes of big cities, have their own set of advantages to attract new residents” (Lewis and Donald, 2009). In this context, amenities can be described as a set of characteristics of the territories, both natural and manmade, with an aesthetic, social and economic value. They are especially relevant for the strategic differentiation of each place, namely of uniqueness and inimitability. These territorial amenities that can potentially attract creative people to small communities can be classified into the following categories: Natural amenities: warm climate, distinctive and picturesque countryside with topographical diversity such as valleys, rivers, lakes, mountains and forests, etc.; Cultural amenities: architectonic and archaeological heritage, such as castles, churches, aqueducts and bridges, etc. and intangible heritage, like memories, testimonies and legends, and traditions, etc.; Symbolic amenities: community engagement, trust in relationships, culture of participation, neighbourliness and sociability, social capital, presence of civic associations, etc.; Built amenities: health and social services, quality schools, hotels, restaurants, bars, meeting places, small studios, live-work houses, etc.
Table 4 - Typology of Amenities AMENITIES TYPOLOGY
Warm climate, distinctive and picturesque countryside with topographical diversity such as valleys, rivers, lakes, mountains and forests, etc.
Architectonic and archaeological heritage such as castles, churches, aqueducts and bridges, etc., and intangible heritage like memories, testimonies, legends, and traditions, etc.
Community engagement, trust relationships, culture of participation, neighbourliness and sociability, social capital, presence of civic associations, etc.;
Health and social services, quality schools, hotels, restaurants, bars, meeting spaces, small studios, live work houses, etc.
Source: Adapted from INTELI (2011)
In a study of small communities in the USA, McGranahan and Wojan (2007b) postulated that “creative class was present in rural areas, particularly in high-amenity areas” and “counties with high natural amenities are most likely to be creative class magnets”. Moreover, econometric analysis showed that the creative class is growing most rapidly in areas that are mountainous, with a mix of forest and open area, where winters are sunny, and with a relatively large number of bicycle and sports store jobs per capita. Figure 8 – Rural Counties high in Natural Amenities attract Creative-class Workers
Source: McGranahan and Wojan (2007b)
In these liveable territories, creative people are also looking for sustainable and low-carbon lifestyles that are facilitated by less time spent in commuting, spatial proximity (compact cities),
and the use of non-automotive transport modes. As Lewis and Donald (2009) state smaller cities “can offer multiple land uses, amenities and pedestrian connectivity within a compact environment”. Authentic and unique environments and the preservation of rural lifestyles seem also to be relevant in attracting creative people. In fact, in smaller cities, non-economic dimensions of everyday life are privileged, such as community engagement, a culture of collaboration and participation, and social proximity. There is a focus on social capital and “strong ties”, which is contradictory with Florida’s thesis of “weak ties”, and individualism as factors of magnetism for the creative class11. The difference between the cultural and creative sectors in big cities and small towns and rural areas is not only a matter of scale (Duxbury and Campbell, 2009). They have distinctive characteristics because they happen in specific rural communities marked by a strong civic involvement, a particular identity and authenticity, and a great value put in sense of place. Artistic activity and participation is intentionally inclusive and a form of building the community in small towns and rural areas, which makes the engagement of citizens very different from that in larger centres. The proximity to a big city is also mentioned in the literature regarding the relationship between the creative class and small cities, but with ambiguous results. Some studies consider this factor as an opportunity, but others defend that the adjacency to a metropolitan area does not appear to be a prerequisite for the attraction of creative people. However, the potential of amenities and endogenous resources as drivers for the development of small cities also depends on their position in the spatial system and in urban and regional hierarchies. This trend, related to the preferences of the creative class for small cities and even rural areas, is clearly facilitated by the use of information and communication technologies: “businesses can now start up in small communities even if they are hundreds of miles away from big cities” (BBC,
It is, however, worth of notice that the positive effects of rural traditions and practices can be counterbalanced by a strong blue-collar legacy still present in some old industrial cities, where it may be difficult to develop interests and skills linked to cultural and creative activities (Denis-Jacob, 2011). 52
2008). Moreover, these workers are more autonomous and mobile due to the nature of their activities: most of them are freelancers, self-employed or owners of micro-companies, and their work in organised in a project-by-project basis. In fact, the barriers between work, leisure and living are fading both physically and virtually. The importance of built amenities alerts us to the role of local public policies in the development of creative small cities. On the one hand, it is necessary to have a minimum critical mass and density that enables the availability of the basic services for the population, which can come from the dynamism of the surrounding town or region. In fact, creative people look for small communities with less density than big cities, but with the presence of, or easy access to, certain kinds of facilities, with a specific focus on educational infrastructures. The existence of a creative local education system is an essential factor in attracting young families, but also in developing creative talents internally. Besides this, local development policies could provide favourable conditions, infrastructures or support programmes (such as live-work houses, studios, meeting places, or specific financing systems), inducing the attraction of talent and the development of creative businesses. Markussen (2006) advocates that the presence of artistic spaces, such as clubhouses, live-work and studio buildings, and smaller performing arts spaces, contribute to the formation of networks and to the artistic pool by home-growing local artists, attracting and retaining them in these small territories. The link between a strong leadership and community participation is essential for the success of these creative-based strategies in small territorial areas. In this context, it is important to stress the role of the so-called ‘agents of change’ that may be the initiators of a process of creative transformation. These agents can be: a political authority, an NGO, a company, local citizens or a specific person who believes in the development of the territory and launches a local project to enhance this process of change. Thus, the creative class in small cities and towns “does not contribute to the economic growth merely by knowledge-production and high-end consumption, but by delivering new ideas and rebuilding institutional frameworks of economic development” (Petrov, 2007).
New Variables and Indicators for Small Cities Having recognised the limitations of the Creative Capital model, some authors have presented insights for a new set of indicators and guidelines for smaller cities, instead of focusing on variables such as critical mass, city size, density and diversity, and on indexes like the gay index, the melting pot index or the bohemian index. Their ideas represent a new vision on ‘quality of life’ and ‘amenities’, and an alternative path towards creative growth in small places. Lewis and Donald (2009) The authors advocate that using liveability and sustainability, instead of talent, tolerance and technology as the starting points for economic health and growth, provides a useful alternative for smaller cities. Variables
People seeking to maintain a low-impact lifestyle may be more likely to settle in a smaller, more compact city.
The disincentives posed by long commuting distances have led some creative workers to choose smaller cities (time spent on commuting and carbon monoxide emissions).
Public transit and other sustainable commuting modes
Statistics for the most sustainable modes of commuting – non-automobile, such as walking or biking -, make smaller cities more attractive to creative people.
Housing conditions and affordability
Housing conditions and affordability have an impact on human health and on the quality of life. The advantage of low housing costs in small cities may attract certain types of artistic workers.
Education is an internal source of creative individuals and represents the potential of the place’s education system to develop creative talents.
Munoz (2010) The author identifies five areas in which small cities should focus in order to achieve sustainable creative development, namely: education and sustainable talent development; network capacity, concentration of interactions, community engagement and codevelopment; quality of life; sustainability; and iconic and imaginative territories. Variables
It is necessary to quantify not only the educated people in a given city but also the potential that the city’s education system has, to develop creative people and talent.
Networks and interactions
Creativity is not only about the simple presence of creative people in a certain place, but also about the density of human interactions and community engagement.
Quality of life
Quality of life includes climate, natural environment, or the presence of relatives in a certain place. Quality places are those that feature a natural and built milieu, authentic and unique, preserve green areas and creative places, and offer imaginative streetscapes and distinctive features.
Sustainability in its ecological and social dimensions is conceptually attractive to potential new residents and highly valuable for current inhabitants.
Icons are memorable, culture-rooted, and open up the imagination of people. They are key elements of a city image and represent a powerful source of pride and commitment.
Preferences of the Creative Class However, preferences for amenities-based places vary according to the different segments of the creative class and to other factors such as age, lifestyle, stage of life, and personal attitude and circumstances (Trip and Romein, 2010). According to Hansen and Winther (2010), “amenities have different meanings and a different importance for different groups of people”. The ‘creative class’ concept defined by R. Florida is a highly heterogeneous category, since it integrates scientists, engineers, artists, legal and financial workers, etc.12. Each of these groups can have different preferences in terms of deciding on their residential location. For example, Scott (2009) demonstrated that in the case of engineers, migrants of working ages are drawn primarily to places whose economic structure and job opportunities correspond to their particular professional expertise, and that amenities have virtually no impact in these relations. On the same track, Darchen and Tremblay (2011) showed that in Canada the quality of work is the most relevant criteria to understand the mobility of students in science and technology once they have graduated, being the quality of place less relevant. In the same vein, Markussen (2006) advocated that the formation, location, urban impact and politics of artists are distinct from that of other members of the creative class, such as scientists, engineers and managers. For example, artists’ spatial distribution is in function of semiautonomous personal migration decisions, local nurturing of artists in dedicated spaces and organisations, and the locus of artist-employing firms. Other authors advocate that the factors of attraction of creative talent vary according to specific knowledge bases of the industries in which these people work: analytical, synthetic and symbolic (Asheim and Hasen, 2009). An analytical knowledge base corresponds to economic activities for which scientific knowledge and codification is very important (such as biotechnology). The synthetic knowledge base is related to economic activities in which innovation takes place through the application of novel combinations of existing knowledge, and mainly originates
Some authors propose a recast of the ‘creative class’ concept in order to adapt it to the context of small cities (McGranahan and Wojan, 2007a). 55
modifications in products and processes (for example, mechanical engineering). Finally, a symbolic knowledge base is linked with creating meaning, desire, aesthetic qualities, intangibles, symbols, and images (design, music, filmmaking, etc.). In this sense, people with occupations within different knowledge bases may have different preferences in terms of residential location. People-climate factors, such as amenities, might be more important for symbolic knowledge-based occupations, while business-climate parameters are more expressive for synthetic knowledge-based job functions. In terms of age, lifestyle and stage of life, McGranahan and Wojan (2007a) advocate that there are differences between the “urban creative class” and the “rural creative class”, which is demonstrated by the fact that small communities attract mostly talented young families, midlife career changers and active retired people. Besides this, the talent that lives in rural areas tends to belong to a higher age-scale and to be married with children, compared to urban talent. We are talking about people who are increasingly looking for alternative lifestyles to those prevalent in the big cities, giving priority to the well-being associated with sports, healthy food, preservation of the environment and sustainability, and to the sense of community and local identity. The positive role of retirees and elderly people in the growth of small towns and rural areas is emphasised in several studies. Denis-Jacob (2011) suggests that this group of people can contribute to cultural consumption as well as to cultural production, having a central role in community life. On the one hand, they have greater propensity to consume cultural activities due to abundant leisure time and financial resources; on the other hand, they are sometimes prone to the production of certain cultural products, even if on an amateur basis.
‘Bichinho do Conto’: Moving from Lisbon to Óbidos (Portugal) Interview with Mafalda Milhões by INTELI What is the main activity of Bichinho do Conto? ‘Bichinho do Conto’ is an editorial project with the objective of promoting literature as a way of personal development for children and adults. Our slogan is “For Readers from 0 to 200 Years Old”. It integrates a bookshop specialised in books for children, and an art gallery. We also provide other services related to distribution, training, consultancy and graphic design. The company has projects, partners and clients all over the world, but is also engaged in community development, through the implementation of specific local initiatives with schools and other types of public.
Why move from Lisbon to Óbidos, a small town? ‘Bichinho do Conto’ moved from Lisbon to Óbidos two years ago. We are now located in an old building that used to be a school. It was totally refurbished by our team. We were looking for an abandoned place on the top of a hill with a big tree and a sea-view. We could only find it in Óbidos, in a poetic environment of a medieval town surrounded by walls. Proximity to Lisbon, good access, quality of life, historical heritage, and a mix of coastline, beaches and countryside, were some of the motivations for this big change in our life. www.obichinhodeconto.pt/
TIWI: Moving from Bologna and Milan to Reggio Emilia (Italy) By Federico Riboldazzi (TIWI) TIWI is a company based in Reggio Emilia (Italy), founded in 2009 by two PhD students of the University of Bologna and a young professional in communication sciences. TIWI produces digital contents and specializes in creating motion graphics videos. The company started its activity in 2008, winning the INMENTOR business plan competition as “best business idea”, proposed by young entrepreneurs. INMENTOR was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and the Municipality of Reggio Emilia. One of the benefits of this competition is the possibility of TIWI having its office rented in Reggio Emilia and the Internet connection expenses granted by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia until 2013. The TIWI team is now made up of 8 people with a wide variety of expertise in contents design, graphics and animation. However, among the people who are currently in TIWI, only two are from Reggio Emilia. All the others come from bigger Italian cities, such as Milan and Bologna, and have moved to Reggio Emilia specifically to join TIWI. In Reggio Emilia, the cost of renting an apartment to live, for example, is much more affordable than in bigger cities such as Milan. Moreover, the presence of many bicycle lanes and pedestrian zones offers easy access to the workplace without needing a car. In short, life in a small-medium city, such as Reggio Emilia, is simply easier than in a large metropolis, and this peculiar aspect for people operating in knowledge-intensive sectors can be a good incentive to move into less densely populated areas to carry on their professional activity. www.tiwi.it
The presence of the creative class can, in itself, generate amenities: “a place that has attracted artists and designers may appeal to people who like artistic communities (...) and people may be drawn to a community by the restaurants, stores, and other consumer services that develop in response to the consumption patterns of the creative class” (McGranahan and Wojan, 2007b). Creative Class and Growth The creative class is highly associated with jobs creation and growth in small communities. According to studies of the rural areas in the USA, small counties with a high proportion of 57
creative class residents, generally had job growth rates that were twice as high as counties with less creative class presence (McGranahan and Wojan, 2007b). Moreover, the results of the analysis of Wojan et al. (2007) centred on non-metropolitan counties confirm a strong positive effect of a larger creative employment share on net-migration, employment growth and net increase in the number of establishments. For example, a study developed in the UK corroborates these results, advocating that for each self-employed in-migrant to rural areas, an average of 2.4 full time jobs were created (Countryside Agency, 2003). In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit of the creative class induces the development of creative businesses in areas such as arts, music, design, software, etc. Quoting NESTA (2007), “many inmigrants tend to be entrepreneurial; they arrive with new ideas and seek to implement them”. Entrepreneurship may be the mechanism through which the knowledge and talent of the creative class is assimilated into the local economy (McGranaham et al., 2010). Moreover, the presence of creative activities tends to attract more innovative companies and projects - “places with a higher concentration of creative occupations actually have more creative activities” (McGranahan and Wojan, 2007b). Furthermore, creative industries provide innovative inputs for other areas of activity in local economies, such as agriculture, handicrafts, furniture, textiles, tourism and gastronomy, promoting their development and prosperity. The effects of knowledge spillovers derived from geographical proximity, provide the transfer of information, technologies, innovative business models and organization forms, to the overall economy. Findings also suggest that there is a strong tendency for individuals with artistic and creative skills, to work in other areas of activity (NESTA, 2008). In addition to this, several sub-sectors of the creative industries, such as architecture, design, advertising or software, sell the majority of their products and services to other businesses. Without making a specific reference to small cities, the Green Paper on Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries (EC, 2010a) considers that the spillovers of the cultural and creative industries should be strengthened for the benefit of the economy as a whole. In this sense, it would be interesting “to better understand how to foster the use of creativity in other industries, the type of creativity that enterprises are looking for, as well as the right mechanisms to facilitate such interactions”. Thus, in spite of the importance of cultural and creative consumption with a view to attract tourists and visitors, small communities need also to privilege cultural and creative production aiming to attract or induce the in-house development of creative businesses.
Creative Industries in the Rural East Midlands (UK) In the UK, creative industries still account for a smaller share of employment in rural areas than in urban areas. However, this trend seems to be changing in the fastest growing rural economies, where the relative size of creative industries is getting closer to the UK average. Concerning the rural districts of the East Midlands, in 2005, 3% of all the employment concerns the creative industries, and creative industries employment grew by 20% between 2001 and 2005, compared to 8% employment growth in the whole economy. The largest sub-sector in terms of employment was the audio-visual, followed by visual arts & design and books & press. It is important to note that 44% of businesses are involved in the creation stage of the production chain. Moreover, creative businesses accounted for 7.5% of all businesses, with a growth rate of 23% between 2001 and 2005, more than twice the rate 13 of growth in the total stock of companies in these districts.
Source: BOP (2008)
In conclusion, McGranahan and Wojan (2007b) advocate that “while developed with major metropolitan areas in mind, the creative class thesis seems particularly relevant in rural areas”, presenting a ‘rural variant’ of the creative class approach and even a recast of the ‘creative class’ concept, which were tested with positive results in several small communities. Petrov (2007) adds, “there is some evidence that creativity can be even more critical for reviving economies in middle-sized and small towns (and perhaps rural areas) than it is in the metropolis”. However, as observed, the studies presented are mainly centred on the realities of the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK - mainly “liberal market economies” -, being necessary additional research and evidence on other European countries, namely “coordinated market economies” (Hall and Soskice, 2001). Moreover, some of their results are contradictory, and depend on the model, data and methods used.
These categories correspond to the three rural classes in the DEFRA – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Classification, 2005. Rural 80: districts with at least 80% of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns; Rural 50: districts with between 50% and 80% of their population in such settlements; Significant Rural: districts with more than 37,000 and at least 26% of their population in such towns; a mixed urban/rural category. 59
Benchmarking of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities
5. Benchmarking of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities 5.1. Case Studies on Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities Case studies of creative-based strategies in Canada, USA and Europe will be presented, independently of the maturity stage of their implementation. Some cases are in an earlier phase of development and others are being implemented by local public policies in cooperation with economics and social players. In the majority of the cases, it is necessary to monitoring and evaluating the level of success of the initiatives; however, these strategies have essentially longterm impacts.
Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada Country: Canada County: Ontario Area: 1,048.3 km² Population: 25.496 inhabitants (2006) Population density: 24,3 inhab./km2
Context Prince Edward County, in Canada, is a rural county with about 25,000 inhabitants, located in the county of Ontario between the cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Agriculture, and its related activities, represents a sector of vital importance to the city's economy. However, when restructuring the agricultural sector in the county, an increase in unemployment and a shortage of opportunities for young people took place, having as a consequence their migration to urban centres. In an effort to boost the local economy in the 90's, Prince Edward County outlined a development strategy with the aim of setting up a creative rural economy.
Amenities Natural Amenities The city is located on the edge of Lake Ontario, where one can enjoy an extensive coastline, which allows for the practice of various leisure and sports activities (sailing, canoeing, bird watching, camping, hiking, fishing, etc.) and a climate of usually mild winters. The Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the biggest attractions of the region, with its golden beaches. Also worth mentioning is the landscape that includes many agricultural farms.
Cultural Amenities Its rich history and heritage, full of historic buildings and colonial style houses, such as the Regent Theatre (1922), the Picton Town Hall (1866), the Crystal Palace (1890), the White Chapel
Methodist Church (1809) and the Merrill Inn (1877), contribute to attracting visitors to the city. The main streets are lined with commemorative plaques and slogans that illustrate the creation and history of several establishments. The Picton Gazette periodical is referenced as the oldest community newspaper in Canada (1830) and represents a historical landmark for the community.
Symbolic Amenities The relative geographic isolation of the county has nurtured a distinctive rural culture, with a strong sense of belonging and attachment to the land. There are several events throughout the year, mainly in the town of Picton, such as the Jazz Festival, the Studio Tour, the Amazing Loyalist County Adventure, the pumpkin festival Pumpkinfest - and â€˜Art in the Countyâ€™ (http://www.artinthecounty.com), in addition to several workshops related to wine and culinary activities. This diverse cultural programme has helped to create the image of a vibrant artistic community, and to generate new business opportunities.
Built Amenities The renovated Regent Theatre is located in the centre of Picton and is the largest and oldest cultural and symbolic infrastructure of the county. There are also five museums in the county: the Rose House Museum, the Wellington Museum, the Ameliasburgh Historical Museum and Pioneer Village, the Macaulay Heritage Park and the Mariners Park Museum. Prince Edward County has several public and private schools, although with few opportunities for higher education, which contributes to the departure of many young people from the territory.
ďƒŚ Strategy Seeking to capitalize on its strengths, such as the quality of the place, the Council has sought to develop a creative rural economy. The Office of Economic Development of the Prince Edward County has identified four pillars for the development of the local economy: Agriculture; Tourism; Commerce and Industry; Arts, Culture and History. In this context, viniculture and gastronomy stand out as activities with high growth potential, representing a new economic dynamic in an alliance between agriculture and tourism. To develop the first Plan for Culture (2004), two Canadian authorities on development of the creative economy, were designated: Dan Taylor, Director of Economic Development of Prince 64
Edward County, and Greg Baker, a leading Canadian consultant in cultural planning for economic development.
In 2005, a first study was published - Culture in the Countryside: A Study of Economic Development and Social Change in Prince Edward County, Ontario, which addresses how the city seeks to diversify its economy through culture, based on the revitalization of the Regent Theatre, on many independent galleries, and on cultural activities. The attraction of artists, tourists and urban migrants seeking to escape the city in search of a better or more relaxed lifestyle, associated with a lower cost of living, is one of the key components to the revitalization and diversification of a traditionally rural economy. Innovative companies, such as the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, Buddha Dog, Huff Estates and Scout Design, have contributed to the local reputation and to attracting more people to the region. That same year, the county adopted a Strategic Plan for Culture, which designed the framework for cooperation between the county, the community and the business partners. With this objective, a task force was set up in the county, called the â€˜Cultural Round Tableâ€™, which represented the cultural community in Prince Edward County. With regular meetings, this group aims to mobilize energies and cultural resources to increase the visibility of culture and cultural opportunities, being a source of information about the arts, heritage and local cultural activities (http://www.culturalroundtable.ca). Later, another important work was done - Growing the Creative Rural Economy in Prince Edward County (2008), which covered topics such as human capital, innovation and tourism for the growth of the region. The study includes several recommendations for a development based on sustainability, both at an ecological level, and at a community level.
Prince Edward County has been promoting the protection and rehabilitation of its architectural heritage, as well as investing on infrastructure (roads, water and sewers), without losing sight of environmental protection. As a result of this strategy, which combines a series of unique natural amenities with a vibrant cultural and artistic community, new businesses have been opening and a significant growth and migration of people have been taking place.
Key Points Geographical location with good road connections to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal (proximity to major urban markets) Distinctive natural amenities and cultural life Gradual expansion of high speed Internet access in rural areas Provision of cheap land compared with big urban centres Culture and creativity linked to traditional sectors on a long-term development strategy
Nelsonville, Ohio, USA Country: USA County: Athens Area: 12.9 km² Population: 5,230 inhabitants (2000) Population density: 406,2 inhab./km
Context Nelsonville is a town of the U.S. state of Ohio, in the Athens County, with just over 5,000 inhabitants. Like other cities in the valley of the Ohio River, Nelsonville was closely tied to coal mining and other local natural resources, such as clay and iron. From the mid-nineteenth century, and until the mid-twentieth century, access to raw materials and the existence of a good transport network, offered the city a period of prosperity. After 70 years, the decline of the manufacturing industry accounted for the loss of many jobs and residents. Under the strain of the economic crisis, Nelsonville then began to seek alternative paths to development.
Amenities Natural Amenities OOH Nelsonville enjoys a privileged location in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded IO by a large area of forest owned by the Wayne National Forest, with hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, all-terrain walks, bicycle and horseback riding, in addition to other recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, hunting and bird watching, etc.
Cultural Amenities The Nelsonville Public Square is an architectural and historical legacy, which, after many years of neglect, was recovered, becoming part of the National Register of Historic Places, where an eclectic range of shops, restaurants and galleries was set up.
In early 1900, this region was also very famous for the local production of bricks. This heritage has been rescued in a single motif that decorates the ground of the square, and is the symbol of the Historic Square Arts District - the neighbourhood of the arts.
Symbolic Amenities The arts community in Nelsonville resulted from small informal and collaborative groups that refused to let the city die. According to the Director of the local Rotary Club, volunteering and civic participation are growing14, which also represents an important asset to this small community. Throughout the year, the local arts community and the Hocking College organize various cultural and artistic events, such as:
Final Fridays on The Square – Shows for local artists, with great visibility (on the last Friday of each month, except in December) (http://www.finalfridays.net);
The Parade of the Hills Festival – One of the main cultural events of the region (in August) (http://paradeofthehills.org);
North Pole Nelsonville (Thanksgiving weekend, until the first weekend of January).
In addition to these events, the Hocking Vale Scenic Railway - a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the old Ohio railway line - organizes historical reconstructions of rail travels that attract numerous tourists.
Built Amenities One of the major cultural facilities in town is the Stuart's Opera House. This historic building that reflects the region's heydays was built in 1879 and carefully restored by a local non-profit organization, with the help of community members. Currently it has a diverse agenda with regional and international artists, with performances of live music, theatre, film festivals and educational events for the community of Nelsonville.
Small Town, Big Ideas. Investigation developed in 2006‐08 by Will Lambe, School of Government, University of North Carolina –Chapel Hill; http://www.sog.unc.edu/programs/cednc/stbi/. 68
There are also several art galleries that make up the Historic Square Arts District. The renovated Hocking College (http://www.hocking.edu/) is one of the main institutions of the city, and its largest employer. Founded in 1968, it offers several educational degrees and currently hosts over 6,000 students, a number that has been growing steadily every year. Inside the campus there is the Robbins Crossing Living History Museum where you can learn the history of this south-western Ohio community, since the nineteenth century. The Hocking College is also responsible for the Student Art Gallery, a gallery exhibiting the work of its students. Another important institution is the Foothills School for American Crafts, combining artistic education with business education, in addition to having a gallery/store. The Nelsonville Public Library is the library that serves the city and surrounding communities, and other local institutions, such as the Hocking College, the Chamber of Commerce of the area, the Stuart's Opera House, and the local schools. The library participates actively in community life, joining in events such as the annual Festival ‘Parade of the Hills’, but also organizes an intense schedule.
Strategy The development strategy came from a group of businessmen and students from Hocking College who, after moving to the city centre of the Foothills School for American Crafts in 2000, realized the potential in focusing on the arts community as a catalyst for the revitalization of the city. The recovery of the Nelsonville Public Square favoured the emergence of dozens of galleries and antique shops that turned the Historic Square Arts District into a vibrant arts district. This project not only contributes to the economic restructuring of the city, but also for the restoration and maintenance of its historical heritage, as well as improving its image and strengthening its identity at the regional level, which started to attract many visitors from around the country. The downtown occupancy rate rose from 25% to 85% in four years. This strategy also favoured the candidacy to support programmes such as the Ohio Main Street Program15. Essentially, the strategy of Nelsonville is based in the natural and cultural amenities as well as in the revitalization of the city centre. This process of revitalization was very important in the global strategic programme, because it originated the emergence of new business and other activities
‘Main Street’ is a national programme, destined to improve the business area of the cities’ downtown areas, by investing on economic management and increasing the participation of the public. 69
with potential and competiveness in the regional market, in different sectors such as tourism, recreation, entertainment and leisure.
Key Points Based on the initiative of a community group that started a process of restoration of historical heritage Recognition of the artistic community potential for the city’s regeneration process and economic revitalization linked to the creative economy Downtown development was based on initial rent subsidies that attracted artist retails Benefits of financial support of urban regeneration programmes
Ludlow, Shropshire, United Kingdom Country: United Kingdom County: Shropshire Region: West Midlands Area: 1,4 km² Population: 10,500 inhabitants (2001) Population density: 91 inhab./km
Context With a little over 10,000 inhabitants, Ludlow is located in the southern county of Shropshire in the West Midlands, United Kingdom. Its business focuses on the tourism sector, in the industry sector, with activity related to precision engineering, woodworking and manufacturing of agricultural machinery, and agriculture. The local farms provide products for a traditional cuisine that has earned fame and recognition, becoming the first UK city to join the ‘Cittaslow’ movement – an international network of cities that promote the cultivation of a quiet city, with good quality of life, associated to quality gastronomy (Slow Food). Many tourists are attracted by the iconic urban landscape, but also by several award-winning restaurants.
Amenities Natural Amenities The city of Ludlow stands on a cliff over the Teme River, which marks all the surrounding natural landscape and is considered one of the most unspoilt rural areas of England. Its story, which intersects with some of the most important moments in British history, is around every corner. The river and the surrounding area provide numerous recreational activities, from rowing to walking.
Data related to the Shropshire County. 71
Cultural Amenities The city has a long heritage, made up of over 500 listed buildings from different eras, among which the following stand out:
The Castle (1086) (http://www.ludlowcastle.com/);
St. Laurence’s Church (1199) (http://www.stlaurences.org.uk/);
The Feathers Hotel (1619) (http://www.feathersatludlow.co.uk/). Many of its historic buildings are concentrated in the city centre, in medieval streets that are well preserved.
Symbolic Amenities Ludlow Castle played a key role in some of the most important moments in the history of England, and even today, it is the community’s privileged meeting point. There is a long tradition in the organization of festivals and events, such as the Ludlow Festival, an arts festival (http://www.ludlowfestival.co.uk)
(http://www.ludlowcraftevents.co.uk). Local events related to gastronomy are also renowned, especially the Ludlow Marches Food and Drink (http://www.foodfestival.co.uk). Ludlow has a community of respected and highly skilled craftsmen, who have a long tradition in jewellery, ceramics, textiles and furniture. There's even a local network of artisans called the ‘Ludlow Designer Makers’.
Built Amenities Worth mentioning is the ‘Ludlow Assembly Rooms’, a performing arts centre targeted at the rural community, offering diverse programming, from performances of music and dance, and cinema, to regular educational activities for all ages. The Ludlow Assembly Rooms also has an art gallery, as well as rooms and flexible areas for rent (http://www.ludlowassemblyrooms.co.uk). The oldest educational institution in Shropshire is the Ludlow College, which is situated in the Castle Square. This institution has a long tradition linked to the creative arts and active participation in local events (http://www.ludlow-college.ac.uk/).
The Ludlow Library and Museum Resource Centre, which, as the name implies, includes a public library and a museum, was recently renovated and depicts the story of Ludlow from its origins to the
Strategy Its development strategy is to explore the ‘slow city’ concept, a movement to which it was the first UK city to join. As a result, it established a set of goals to improve the quality of life, not only of those who live and work in the city, but also of its visitors. This programme seeks to be a response to the challenges of globalization, by supporting small producers, artisans, farmers and local family-oriented merchants. An active strategy of restoration and maintenance of the built heritage of the city, earned an award for urban planning: the 'Great Town' (2006) (http://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk). It is associated to the ‘Art in Ludlow’ project, through which local artists brighten up empty commercial storefronts, many in historic buildings in the city centre, which allows them to show the works of their artistic activity, but which, above all, contributes positively to improving the atmosphere of these places.
The long-term aim is to promote the city as a centre for contemporary art lovers, offering visitors an ever-changing route named ‘Ludlow Art Trail’. This dynamic route goes through all the places with artistic interest, such as stores of art, galleries, restaurants and other spaces with an important value in the cultural sector. The interest is also provided by the constant change of installations in the various venues.
These projects and processes have promoted the development of other related business for instance in the tourism industry and the food and drinks industry. The creative industries are a growing sector in the region. This direction is being fostered by a development plan that includes the town of Ludlow, namely through projects such as the Ludlow Assembly Rooms, the network of local artisans - Ludlow Designer Makers and the Ludlow Food Centre project (http://www.ludlowfoodcentre.co.uk/).
Key Points A well preserved historic heritage with great touristic potential Valorisation of local products particularly through a network of bio retailers and high quality gastronomy Exploration of the concept of slow city – tranquillity and quality of life, in association with the international movement that promotes sustainable development focusing on distinctive local resources
Sligo, Sligo County, Ireland Country: Ireland Province: Connacht County: Sligo County Area: 1,837 km² Population: 17,892 inhabitants (2006) Population density: 31.6 inhab./m
Context The town of Sligo is the administrative, commercial and industrial capital of the city and the region. Located in the northwest of Ireland in the province of Connacht, it has a strategic location facilitated by a set of road and rail infrastructures, and also a regional airport located 8 km from the city. The service sector is predominant although there is an important industrial park, the IDA Business Park, with major pharmaceutical companies, such as Abbott. Based on its historical, cultural and natural environment, Sligo is developing a strategy oriented to the creation of a creative place.
Amenities Natural Amenities The topography of the region is crucial to the development of the city. The mountain ranges that dominate the landscape, offer a feeling of closure whose only opening is the point of confluence of the Garavogue River with the sea. The course of the river and the Sligo bay, as well as the associated natural ecosystems, give it unique characteristics.
Cultural Amenities Sligo has many unique historical and archaeological remains such as the prehistoric sites of Carrowmore (megalithic cemetery), Carrowkeel, and Creevykeel. Other points of historical and cultural interest are: St. John's Cathedral (1730), the Yeats Memorial Building (headquarters of the Yeats Society), the town hall building (1901), the Old Market Street
(with many historic buildings, such as the court), the Sligo Abbey (a Franciscan abbey founded in 1252/3), the Forthill Park, the Drumcliffe Round Tower and the High Cross Drumcliffe (monastery dating from 574 AD), among others.
Symbolic Amenities The beauty of the landscape, along with its rich historical and cultural background, has attracted and inspired many musicians, artists and poets, such as Yeats. In 1958, the Yeats
sligo.com/) - an association in honour of the poet and Nobel Prize for Literature, which promotes various tourist and literary activities. There is a long-standing recognition in the area of music, both traditional and contemporary, consolidated in festivals and summer schools, such as the Sligo New Music Festival (http://www.themodel.ie/music/sligo-new-music-festival),
(http://www.sligojazzproject.com/about.html) and the Caramel Gunning International Summer School Festival of Irish Music. Sligo is also known for its choirs and local productions of opera, pantomimes and musicals, which led to the creation of the Sligo International Choral Festival. The concerts, performances and music sessions therefore take place throughout the year, creating a vibrant music scene in Sligo, for both its residents and visitors (http://sligomusic.ie/). There is also an enduring theatrical tradition represented in one of the oldest regional theatres of Ireland, the Hawk's Well Theatre, and the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company based in The Factory: Performance Space. As a reaction to recent financial cuts that the arts sector in Ireland is suffering, and taking advantage of the potential of new technologies, a group was set up (now with 193 members), that brings together people from the arts sector and creative industries, on Facebook17.
Built Amenities Among the built amenities of the city, the following stand out:
Link: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=95646306155#!/group.php?gid=95646306155&v=info. 76
The Sligo Institute of Technology, with a student population exceeding 3,000, and St. Angela's College, grant the city an important role in providing education at regional level.
The Sligo Academy of Music (http://www.sligoacademy.pro.ie/), founded in 2000, has created opportunities for this kind of teaching, in the region.
Art galleries, such as the Sligo Art Gallery (http://www.sligoartgallery.com/), funded by The Arts Council and located in the Yeats
IDA's Business Park is situated 1 km from the city, and has great development potential.
Strategy The development plan for the city, called the Sligo & Environs Development Plan 2010 - 201618, is part of the several strategic documents, at a regional and national level (see for example The National Spatial Strategy and Building Ireland's Smart Economy). This Plan aims to boost sustainable growth of the city, based on its role as a “Gateway City” in the overall development of the northwest of Ireland. It underlines the potential of the region as a centre for the development of clean industries, technologies in medicine, creative arts, among others. The Sligo Arts Service19 is a department of the Sligo County Council, working in close partnership with the Sligo Borough Council and the Arts Council, at national level, with the aim of promoting it through a broad programme of arts activities throughout the region. It also provides advice and information to individuals and groups wishing to create artistic projects. After an extensive public consultation, the document ‘Space for Art, Sligo Arts Plan 2007-2012’ was published - a strategic
The Sligo Borough Council (local authority) and the Sligo County Council adopted in November 2009 a development plan for the overall area of Sligo. The plan covers not only the county, but also its surroundings, which include rural areas under the jurisdiction, named Sligo and Environs Development Plan 2010 - 2016. Link: http://www.sligococo.ie/sedp/. 19
This department, created in 1997, has published several documents, such as The Initial Arts Office Programme Placing Art (1997-2001) and the Sligo Arts Plan: The Brightening Air (2002-2005), which seek to identify the main points for action in this area, and which now support the current development plan. 77
plan to support the arts for the city and surrounding communities. This plan includes the establishment of partnerships with cultural organizations in town. In 2010, the Sligo County Council (and in particular its development unit, the County Development Board), began to implement an inter-institutional collaboration, related to the cultural and creative industries - Creative Sligo, integrated in a wider plan that promotes the social, cultural
and economic development of the region. In order to increase the attractiveness of the city, not only for its residents but also for qualified professionals who want to migrate to this region, a set of projects to be implemented was defined, including the construction of a cultural district (the Cultural Quarter project), with the support of the Gateway Innovation Fund, which seeks to contribute to the consolidation of the historic centre and increase the cultural offer of the city and the region, as well as help build a distinctive image of Sligo. The starting point for this project was the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, which foresees the opening of an iconic museum building to house the Niland collection in a new public square. It is one of the most important contemporary art organizations in Ireland, with a high international reputation, not only in terms of exhibitions and performances, but also due to its educational service. Other initiatives are also being planned for this area around Fort Green, such as the construction of a new municipal library and the renovation of Forthill Park. The Quayside Quarter Development Framework is a regeneration project for the whole port area. In addition to new locations for commercial use, it seeks to set up a new image for this area of the
city, as a place that is attractive to artists, contributing to the development of the local creative economy. The presence of a studio for artists and the local theatre group, should be supported and encouraged, as well as the urban regeneration, through the construction of new iconic buildings, both residential and commercial, and parking and pedestrian areas.
These initiatives are considered as opportunities to reflect on the distinctiveness of Sligo and the desire to become a ‘creative place’, generator of economic benefits (SEDP 2010-2016). They also represent a bet, not only on cultural consumption, by creating opportunities for the promotion of cultural tourism based on local resources (architecture, archaeology, music, literature, etc.), but also on cultural production, through the provision of flexible spaces for artistic creation. Sligo also has, since 2005, a cross-border partnership called SOURCE Developing Rural Creativity (http://ruralcreativity.com/project-partnership.php), whose main objective is to increase the creative industries sector by improving skills and learning, trade, infrastructure development and marketing communications. This project is supported by European Union Structural Funds, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the International Fund for Ireland.
Key Points Development of several partnerships at local, regional and national level that support artistic and cultural activities Good connectivity and links with other territories A variety of distinctive local resources that contribute to promote local image and identity Integrated strategy that fits on national and regional policies Strong local identity rooted in music and literature tradition A range of urban regeneration projects that comprise flexible creative/cultural facilities
Óbidos, Centro, Portugal Country: Portugal County: Leiria Area: 142 km² Population: 10,875 inhab. (INE, 2001) Population density: n.d.
Context The town of Óbidos is located in the Central region of the country, NUT III of the west, in the district of Leiria. It has an area of about 142 km2 and 10,875 inhabitants (INE, 2001). In Óbidos, the primary sector has great weight; agriculture is a vital activity in the local economy, especially horticulture, fruit and wine, which together represent 34% of local employment (Census, 2001 - Statistical Yearbook of the Central Region, 2005). About 50% of the workforce is employed in the tertiary sector, where tourism is crucial, representing the most significant activity in the municipal economy (INE, 2001). It is important to emphasize the connectivity of the city with important surrounding urban centres, in part due to its link to major highways such as the A8, A15 and IP6. Óbidos is close to major urban centres, such as Leiria and Coimbra, as well as Lisbon, at less than an hour away, and Porto, at less than two hours away. Óbidos is developing a new and integrated strategy centred on the creative economy, with the aim of attracting creative people and businesses.
Amenities Natural Amenities The county has a microclimate that is very distinctive of the West, and is inserted in a diversified geo-morphological context, including: a coastline with many beaches; the ‘Lagoa de Óbidos’ lagoon, which connects to the sea along the beaches of ‘Foz do Arelho’ and ‘Bom Sucesso’; and the ‘Várzea da Rainha’, a unique natural landscape with a strong agricultural presence. Moreover, it translates into a peculiar territory with scattered villages and rural houses (A-da-Gorda, Amoreira, Olho Marinho and Sobral da Lagoa), illustrative of the rural population of the West,
detecting the presence of communities that develop traditional farming and fishing practices, through their own secular lifestyles.
Cultural Amenities Óbidos has a classified historic centre of recognized heritage value that has been an important base of economic activity in the municipality, as a generator of tourism flows. The castle, the town entranceway, the high street, the pillory, the aqueduct, the churches (Church of São Baptista, Church of São Pedro, Church of Misericórdia, Church of Santa Maria), and the dispersed religious architecture, mark the village and its surroundings. The wall surrounding the old town was completed at the end of the fourteenth century and is the symbol of Óbidos.
Symbolic Amenities Óbidos has a consecrated symbolic and intangible heritage, marked by memories and identities of different eras and traditions and secular lifestyles that helped define its local identity. The municipality is developing, with the help of several universities, a project aimed at increasing knowledge about Óbidos and formalizing a set of scientific and technical tools of support to planning and territory management - the Network for Research, Innovation and Knowledge, whose end purpose is to submit an application for Óbidos to be recognized as World Heritage.
Built Amenities Óbidos also holds an array of built amenities that make the territorial core a culturally dynamic space, focused on attracting new audiences, such as cafés, restaurants, gourmet and crafts shops, as well as museums and art galleries and their programming that make up the so-called “Network of Museums and Galleries” (Municipal Museum, Parish Museum, Museum Abilio Silva Matos, Nova Ogiva Gallery, Casa do Pelourinho Gallery20).
A series of infrastructures are under construction, such as the Museum of the Peninsular Wars, the House of the Queens, and the Interpretation Centre and Archaeological Laboratory. 81
New infrastructures were also set up to support the development of a creative economy, such as:
The technology park – oriented to sectors of the creative industries through the use of technological developments or applications, including structures and equipment for collective use, service and support activities and an integrated package of tax benefits (Óbidos tax free).
An incubator, called the ABC, hosts creative businesses in a building of equity value - the Convent of São Miguel das Gaeiras.
The creative housings - translated into flexible spaces to live and work, erected through the regeneration of derelict and disabled buildings located at Rua Nova da Vila, as a way of harbouring artists, designers, researchers, domestic and foreign, on a temporary basis.
Strategy In an alliance between its endogenous amenities and the new competitive factors, such as culture, creativity and innovation, Óbidos intends to assert itself as a creative community in which to live, work, learn and interact. There is talk of promoting a “modern rurality”21, in line with the new rural paradigm proposed by the OECD (2006). The most visible part of this strategy has resulted in a series of media events, such as the Opera Festival, the Christmas Village, the Chocolate Festival or the June of Arts, which have attracted a significant number of visitors and tourists to the historical village. However, at present, in addition to designing the so-called next generation events, such as the Literary Festival, the Triennial of Literature and Illustration for Children’s books, and the events of creativity, Óbidos wants to combine tourism22 and cultural (and creative) consumption with a bet on cultural (and creative) production. In fact, solely through the attraction and retention of artists, designers, architects and other designated members of the creative class, and the generation and capture of businesses and creative projects, will it be possible to succeed in ensuring the sustainability of a strategy based
According to the Mayor of Óbidos, Telmo Faria.
Note that in addition to the intra-walls tourism, Óbidos has a number of resorts and golf courses, such as Bom Sucesso, that attract other visitors. It aims to establish itself as a place to experiment contemporary architecture. 82
on creativity. The activities of support to the entertainment and cultural events resulted in an important lever, due to the creation of technical teams and generation of activities in the areas of design, sculpture, and painting, among others. However, besides the effect of agglomeration and clustering that is intended to boost with the spontaneous generation of these businesses, the local public policies have played an active role in creating favourable conditions for the emergence of a creative economy, investing in areas such as information and communication technology, design, arts, architecture and gastronomy. The food industry seems to be a peculiar challenge, where molecular gastronomy is combined with the Óbidos cherry, chocolate and organic farming. Among the interventions of the municipality, we highlight the development of anchor projects in privileged areas of support, that attract talent and improve the quality of life for residents, such as creative education, entrepreneurship, creation of infrastructure and support systems for creativity (such as Óbidos tax free for creative activities, venture capital, sponsorship) or environmental sustainability23. Education is a pillar of the strategy of the town – in fact, Óbidos is not only trying to attract creative people, but also to develop a local education system that promotes creativity. This approach is anchored by a strong marketing strategy of the municipality - the brand Creative Óbidos.
Key Points Integrated strategy that combines creative/cultural consumption and production projects with creative education and environmental sustainability Proximity of important urban centres and excellent accessibility Strong local identity anchored in a broad range of natural, cultural-historical and symbolic amenities A stable government team and strong leadership, which allowed a long-term strategy
For example, the “Obidos Social Carbon” integrates a number of initiatives focused on reducing and compensating the emissions of CO2. 83
Jyväskylä, Central Finland, Finland Country: Finland Region: Central Finland 2
Area: 1,171 km
Population: 130,000 inhabitants (2011) Population density: 109,38 inhab./m
Context Jyväskylä is a town with 130,000 inhabitants located in central Finland’s lake-district, 270 km north of Helsinki, with fairly good transport connections. In the 1980s, Jyväskylä was one of the most prosperous regions of Finland, but the serious national economic recession, in the early 1990’s, had forced the region to rethink its future. A rapid structural change was followed, based on traditional industrial clusters conversion and the adoption of a long-term strategy focused on knowledge and technological innovation. This was a result of the collective efforts between local authorities, higher education institutions and the business sector. Today, the city is renowned for education and training competences and as a centre of expertise in information and communication technologies, paper-making technology, nanotechnology and energy technology. Also, new productive areas are being developed in the region, such as new generation machines and equipment, wellness technology, and tourism and experience management.
Amenities Natural Amenities The city is located at the northern end of the second largest lake in Finland, surrounded by forests, hills and a coastline of 1,500 km. These natural assets are located within walking distance of the city centre, which makes it a great location to live, work and for practising sports. This is facilitated by pedestrian-friendly zones and cycle corridors, allowing for the enjoyment of the beautiful natural environment. In the lake’s area, there are several summer cottages in peaceful locations, available for those wishing to experience the traditional Finnish sauna.
Cultural Amenities The city is well-known throughout the world because of the famous architect Alvar Aalto who designed many buildings in the area, for instance, the Worker’s Club (1924–25), and the Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949–52). He also designed the Alvar Aalto Museum (1973) (http://www.alvaraalto.fi/index_en.htm), which, along with the Museum of Central Finland (1961), form a centre of culture in the immediate vicinity of the University of Jyväskylä (1951-1971).
Symbolic Amenities The subsequent crisis promoted the development of a local capacity to adapt to change, called “creative tension”, seen as crucial to the development process24. Moreover, the local versatility in establishing networks and cooperation processes between different sectors and organizations as well as between different levels of government, is seen as an advantage in the creative economy. The urban community is characterized by a strong civic participation, strengthened by policy measures that improve social capital. For example, the Lutakko Dance Hall in Jyväskylä, a rock concert venue, provides a large number of young people and voluntary workers with the opportunity to participate in their activities. Furthermore, in rebuilding the Kangas area, the city has been exploring a new governance model – the Quadruple Helix, based on a user-driven approach where knowledge institutions, enterprises, government and civil society, participate in the planning process.
Built Amenities A lively cultural scenario is animated by theatre companies, orchestras and other performing groups: for example, the city has its own Symphony Orchestra and also a children's orchestra called Loiskis. Likewise, several popular events are organised periodically, like the LUMO 07 – Contemporary
/lumoeng.html); Graphica Creativa Triennal – contemporary print (http://www3.jkl.fi/
More about this “creative tension” in Reija Linnamaa, Development Process of the ICT Cluster in the Jyväskylä Urban Region. http://www.jyvaskyla.fi/instancedata/prime_product_julkaisu/jyvaskyla/embeds/4032_development_process.pdf. 85
taidemuseo/graphica_creativa/e_index.htm); Jyväskylä Summer Jazz (http://www.summer jazz.net/); Jyväskylä Arts Festival (http://www.jyvaskylankesa.fi/); and the international Neste Oil Rally (http://www.nesteoilrallyfinland.fi/). The arts quarter centred around Kirkkopuisto (Church Park) combines two buildings belonging to the Jyväskylä Art Museum (http://www3.jkl.fi/taidemuseo/index_e.htm), the City Theatre (www.jkl.fi/kaupunginteatteri) and the Craft Museum of Finland (http://www.craftmuseum.fi/). The multi-disciplinary University of Jyväskylä (http://www.jyu.fi) and the Jyväskylä Polytechnic JAMK University of Applied Sciences (http://www.jamk.fi/) are among Finland's leading research and educational institutions, with an increasing number of international students. Both are engaged in active collaboration with regional stakeholders, private firms, supporting services/agencies and intermediate organizations. A good example is the Agora Centre, a humanfocused centre for information and communication technology, as well as the top-flight crossdisciplinary research into human development and learning. Another area of interdisciplinary work of university’s research, results of the intersection of music cognitive and socio-cultural disciplines, and it includes projects in theoretical and clinical research on music therapy, or crosscultural music cognition. The Jyväskylä Polytechnic has multi-disciplinary centres of expertise, where some reference projects related to creative industries have been developed (e.g. Finnish Music Campus; LINKO – Development of Business Expertise in the Creative Field; and Growth Enterprise Project in the Creative Field). The Jyväskylä Science Park is an incubator for new business and companies that combine research and development with the needs of business life. Moreover, the three business parks offer excellent office location and production facilities, bringing together national and international players. The city also becomes an important venue for national and international conferences and exhibitions, due to the existence of a wide offer of facilities in this area, such as the functional and versatile Jyväskylän Paviljonki - Congress and Trade Fair Centre (http://www.jklpaviljonki.fi). In addition, there are small creative and cultural spaces that support the activity of artists and other
(http://www3.jkl.fi/taidemuseo/grafiikkakeskus/english.htm), aiming to increase knowledge of
and insight to the art of printmaking. Other example is the Lutakko Dancing Hall (http://www.jelmu.net/), which contains almost twenty rehearsal spaces for bands and workspaces for visual artists, in addition to hosting rock gigs throughout the year. Putting together tradition and creativity, the Aivia Handicraft Centre (http://taitokeskus.aivia.fi/), a local crafts association representing handicrafts as representative of culture, skill and business, provides the opportunity for one to make items, and learn through courses and crafts schools.
Strategy Since 1995, the city administration has been adopting a strategic approach that recognises creativity and innovation as key factors for the region’s competitiveness. This is translated not only in investments in businesses, but also in the development of services, education and culture, therefore, in an environment of quality of life. The central vision for the city is to build an innovative ecosystem setting people at the core: that is the meaning of the place-brand “the human technology city”. The local development model focuses on establishing clusters of expertise, under the edge of the Finnish Centre of Expertise Programme, a specific government initiative focused on exploiting toplevel knowledge and expertise as a resource for business development, job creation and competitiveness. One of the new areas of expertise in Jyväskylä is wellness technology. There is a strong policy emphasis in encouraging the formation of networks and cooperation between sectors, government levels and organizations. The higher education institutes are significant actors in integrating multidisciplinary knowledge of different fields into the development activities, and therefore in supporting regional competitiveness. Another important
Development Company Jykes Ltd., which aims to create a favourable business environment through supportive cooperation between companies and the public sector. In the creative field, one could highlight projects such as the “Jalostamo – Refinery” which provides consulting services in the creative field; and the “Sauna from Finland”, which aims to develop and foster Finnish sauna culture and business activity.
Environmental policies and urban regeneration plans are also taking place in order to improve local attractiveness, namely the regeneration processes around the lake Jyväsjärvi and Lutako Area, where a Living Lab project is being carried out. Complementarily, cultural and social policy measures are been improved to increase well-being, and social and cultural capital. The city, in colaboration with the joint municipal authority, the Regional Council of Central Finland (http://www.keskisuomi.fi/), is involved in several projects to support the development of new innovative services in the field of culture, creativity and wellness, in order to improve people’s quality of life. Within the URBACT Creative Clusters Network, Jyväskylä is developing a local action plan in order to engage and support people in the creative and cultural field, to work and cooperate with the social and well-being sector. “The main aim of this activity is to increase the entrepreneurial and voluntary cooperation between the municipal fields of culture and health, which can also have vitalizing effects on the economic development of the city”25. As outcomes, a network called Creative Wellnet was created, and some pilot projects will be implemented under the concept of Wellness Clinics.
Key Points Strategy centred on people, and on the alliance between culture and creativity and wellbeing Quality of living environment Highly educated workforce Powerful sense of community and civic participation Strong co-operation and collaboration between sectors and organizations in the public and private fields Involvement in national and international partnerships and networks
LAP of Jyväskylä. 88
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom Country: United Kingdom Metropolitan Borough: Barnsley Metropolitan County: South Yorkshire Area: 320 km² Population: Metropolitan borough: 218,063; Barnsley Urban Area: 71,599 inhabitants (Census 2001) Population density: 686.4 inhab./km
Context Barnsley is a metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, located in the centre of the Northern Growth Corridor, at the heart of the UK. The borough was created in 1974 when 14 smaller urban and rural districts were amalgamated. Currently, it has an area of 320 Km2, a population of 218,063 inhabitants (71,599 in town), and is characterised by an urban core and a rural hinterland divided by the north-south line of the M1 motorway. The western part of the Borough, predominately rural, is centred on the small market town of Penistone. The eastern part includes a number of smaller towns and villages of the former coalfield areas where 80% of the Borough’s population lives. The town of Barnsley itself lies roughly in the centre of the Borough. It is also close to three city-regions: about 30 minutes by car from Sheffield and Leeds, and one hour from Manchester and is easily accessible by road, air travel and rail. The town developed a regional reputation as a historic marketplace that grew as a result of its significant industrial importance centred on coal mining and glass-making. When this industry closed effectively in the mid-90s, the local economy was severely damaged, causing several difficulties to the community. Since then, there was a strong effort and commitment to boost the county’s economy and a kind of a social renaissance occurred, taking advantage of its location in
the regional economy. Currently, manufacturing, retail and health are the major employment sectors in Barnsley.
ďƒŚ Amenities Natural Amenities Barnsley has a variety of landscapes, ranging from high moors to urban areas and arable low lands. The western part of the Borough reaches into the Peak District National Park (http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/), where one can find a rich biodiversity. Within the borough there is a range of parks and open spaces to enjoy nature and a lively programme of events and exhibitions throughout the year. For example, just outside the town there is a country house museum set in 70 acres of historic parkland and beautiful gardens, called the Cannon Hall Country (http://www.barnsleylive.co.uk/properties/239/cannon-hall-museumpark-gardens).
(http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/worsbrough-mill-museum-and-country-park), covering over 240 acres, with a working water-powered corn mill, open farm and a wide variety of bird life.
Cultural Amenities Barnsleyâ€™s local distinctiveness stems from its past economy, settlement patterns, historical character and culture, mainly as a result of its history (700 years) as a significant market town and as an important centre of coal mining. The Borough comprises a variety of villages and historic market towns with important monuments and buildings such as the pinnacle tower of St Maryâ€™s Church, the Monk Bretton Priory, Cannon Hall, the Stainborough and the Wentworth Castle. The village
(http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/elsecar-heritage-centre), a living history centre with its very own steam railway and where the only Newcomen Beam Engine in the world remains, in its original location. Barnsley has a long tradition in brass bands, from the time of its mining days, and it is also home to a number of independent theatre companies, specialised in non-mainstream drama and performance, as well as over 300 local societies and clubs.
Symbolic Amenities The traditional market towns and the former mining settlements with their strong communities have shaped the identity of Barnsley. The city has a strong sense of community built on a long history of informal and formal networks. This is reflected in the large number of community groups that are involved in providing a wide range of activities and services such as environment, community, employment, safety and health projects. The Community Partnerships are recognised as a pioneering model to engage local residents in community projects and initiatives such as the regeneration and the renewal of their neighbourhoods.
Built Amenities The town already provides access to leisure and cultural facilities, such as: the Metrodome leisure complex, an increasing mixture of pubs and restaurants, and some fashion outlets. The borough’s cultural infrastructure comprises museums, galleries, archives and libraries. There is a range of cultural events such as the All Barnsley Diversity Festival and the Small World International Short Animation Film that contribute to the
(http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/), one of the Barnsley Development Agency projects, offers access to a wide and diverse selection of art events and activities and provides creative workspaces. Barnsley has also invested in some infrastructures for creative and digital
entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in creative and digital media. The
(http://www.bbic.co.uk/concept.htm) supports the development of innovative technology and knowledge-based businesses. Within the scope of the project of the Creative Barnsley network, artist studios were also opened in the Elsecar Heritage Centre - CB HIVE
(http://www.hivegallery.co.uk/). The restored historical buildings also have individual craft workshops and businesses and a multi-purpose event venue. Barnsley's education system is changing. The ‘Remaking Learning’ programme aims to improve standards, and to increase employment skills through a borough-wide infrastructure of Advanced Learning
(http://www.barnsley.ac.uk/) that has a Business Solutions Centre, as well as the Barnsley Campus of the University of Huddersfield (http://www2.hud.ac.uk/barnsley/).
Strategy The council has engaged local people in the development of a clear strategic vision: to create a culturally inspiring, dynamic and thriving “21st Century Market Town & Borough” through a sustainable growth. In 2002, the Council launched a high-profile participatory campaign called ‘Rethinking Barnsley’ that led to a regeneration programme named ‘Remaking Barnsley’. This programme mobilized over £400 million in public and private investment and is committed to creating a thriving and enjoyable urban environment. Quality architecture, set within an exciting and imaginative public realm, and arts, culture and urban living, are all part
employment. Barnsley’s vision of creative industries resulted in ‘The
development of a creative and digital cluster of industries in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham – the South Yorkshire coalfield area. Launched in 2003, this programme was supported by ERDF resources and was managed by the Barnsley Development Agency on behalf of the programme’s partners: Barnsley MBC, Doncaster MBC, Rotherham MBC and the Arts Council England. Built on the success of the ‘Creativity Works’ project, the Council reinforced the idea of placing culture and creativity at the forefront of its economic agenda, putting its faith in the creativity of its workforce that will underpin the growth of knowledge-based industries. Several support infrastructures and facilities were created, such as incubation workspaces, new and alternative gallery spaces, platforms for installation, and public spaces for work. Following a programme developed by the Barnsley Development Agency focused on the identification of the needs of the local creative community, in 2006 ‘Creative Barnsley’ was set up, a social enterprise dedicated to networking and promoting local entrepreneurs and creative workers.
The Barnsley Council had adopted a comprehensive strategy for promoting effective citizen and community consultation and participation, mainly via ‘Local Strategic Partnerships’ (LSPs). An LSP is a single non-statutory, multi-agency body that reflects a new mode of governance to deal with community key issues, bringing together the Council as a strategic leader, and its partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. ‘One Barnsley’ is one of the twenty LSPs and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Community Plan that sets out the strategic vision of the borough. In terms of regional cooperation, there are some successful examples of partnerships among the four South Yorkshire authorities (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) such as multiarea agreements, regeneration partnerships, formal company structures and cooperative working arrangements. Moreover, Barnsley has been participating in some European networks supported by EU Territorial Cooperation Programmes (namely URBACT), such as “Creative Clusters in Low Density Urban Areas” and “Building Healthy Communities”. This strategy combines cultural policy, economic development and urban planning in an integrated manner.
Key Points A clear and powerful long-term vision, developed through an effective urban planning agenda that combines cultural policy and economic development Strong community partnerships and civic participation Important investments in new infrastructures, cultural facilities and creative spaces Effective creative-based strategy, including specific schemes of support and networking programmes adapted to the sector
Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy Country: Italy Region: Emilia-Romagna Province: Reggio Emilia Area: 231,56 km² Population: 170,086 inhabitants (Istat, 2010) Population density: 735 inhab./km
Context The city of Reggio Emilia is the main municipality of the province with the same name, in the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. It has about 170,000 inhabitants, with a sizeable increase in its population of 13.5% between 2001 and 2009. The historic urban centre is enclosed by the peripheral districts and has rapid connections with the main centres of the region (Bologna is about 30 minutes away and Milan one hour and a half). The economy of Reggio Emilia was for a long time based on agriculture and manufacture. Some of the local agro-food products are sold to niche markets around the world. A sector that was very important in the last century for the local economy was the mechanical industry, mainly for agriculture. More recent technical advances that result from the connection between mechanics and electronics led to the development of highly specialized companies in a new area called mechatronics. Other relevant sectors are fashion and the ceramic tiles industry.
Amenities Natural Amenities The province extends from the river Po in the north, to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the south. It is mainly plain, with a rural countryside and many densely populated villages and places of natural interest, such as the Appennino tosco-emiliano National Park. Besides the many city parks, Reggio encompasses the nature area of the Rodano torrent and Marmirolo Oásis.
Cultural Amenities Reggio Emilia began as a historical site with the construction by the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, of a military castrum alongside Via Aemilia that led from Piacenza to Rimini (187 BC). This
road, Via Emilia, crosses the hexagonal historical centre with a variety of monuments such as the neo-classical Municipal Theatre, the Baroque Basilica della Ghiara (1597), the Basilica of San Prospero (built in the 10th century, with a façade of the mid-18th century), and the Cathedral (9th-12th century), or the Palazzo Ducale (18th century).
Symbolic Amenities Reggio Emilia is also recognized worldwide for its approach to Early Childhood Education. The educational philosophy and pedagogic programme is put in practice in the municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools, held by the Loris Malaguzzi Centre. The city has a long tradition in dance, theatre, photography and music. There are notorious organizations and individual artists, and also many events such as the European Festival of Photography. In 2010, the immigrants represented 12.3% of the total resident population, a large part from Romania, Morocco, Albania, India and Pakistan. This represents a gain due to the multicultural profile, but also a challenge in terms of intercultural dialogue and integration. For more than 100 years, a strong tradition supports building and banking cooperatives, as well as consumers' cooperatives. The co-operative movement plays an important role not only from the economic point of view, but also as from a historic and sociocultural perspective, being adapted in other fields such as welfare services: from kindergartens to immigrants support. This builds an atmosphere of solidarity and protection of the town’s civic values, confirmed also by the several voluntary associations. A widespread and deeply rooted entrepreneurial tradition is widely recognisable, which results from large industrial companies to small and medium sized enterprises located in the province.
Built Amenities The system of Museums in Reggio Emilia (http://www.musei.comune.re.it) includes, in addition to several museums and monuments, other exhibition spaces such as the ‘Spazio Gerra’ where exhibitions, conferences and events can be organised (http://www.spaziogerra.it/) and the ‘Officina delle Arti’ (http://www.oda.comune.re.it/). In the district of Santa Croce, the north area of the city and an old industrial area, the Municipality of Reggio Emilia purchased the inactive cheese warehouses called Locatelli, and transformed 95
them into the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi. It includes the Reggio Children project, an auditorium, exhibition areas, ateliers, a centre for documentation and educational research, a library, and other facilities. Reggio Children is a public-private company established by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, along with other interested parties, to manage an educational project,
(http://zerosei.comune.re.it/italiano/index.htm). It participates in research projects with companies (e.g. ALESSI, IKEA, ISAFF, LEGO, PLAY+, SONY), for instance, in the design of children’s furniture and spaces, accessories and environments for the children. The Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia has one academic pole in the city centre, with four active faculties (http://www.unimore.it/).
Strategy Given the rapid changes and the improvement of global competition, the local authority had taken steps to convert the old socio-economic model towards the knowledge economy. Firstly, and assuming that innovation and creativity are crucial for that, a research work called ‘Reggio Emilia – Cittá Creativa’ was carried out, as a way to support the design and implementation of local policies and strategies. This research has mapped the local creative entrepreneurs with the objective of understanding the potential of the territory. As a result, the new media field was pointed out as the focus for the local strategy. The need to develop strategic partnerships with other cities and other organizations, and to improve local image and visibility at a national and international level, is also stressed. A city regeneration process was also initiated, combining tradition with vanguard, as is the case with the rehabilitation of the old industrial warehouses near the train station and the bridges designed by the contemporary architect, Santiago Calatrava. In the north area of the city a new set of infrastructures with different facilities will be born. For instance, the industrial area of the exOfficine Reggiane, will be a large park of innovation and creativity - Parco della Conoscenza, Creatività e Innovazione, aiming to create a place of research and knowledge production between the research laboratories (Technopole, University Lab, Enterprises Lab) and the International Centre Loris Malaguzzi, with Reggio Children able to attract new investments. The historical City Center will be also reclassified through the “RIVEDERE” project. 96
In 2008, Gruppo Terziario Innovativo di Industriali Reggio Emilia, in collaboration with the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, launched an international contest, the "INMENTOR", for young people to finance and support innovative business ideas in the services sector, to be carried out within the province. Following this experience, and under the URBACT project ‘Creative Clusters’, the city has designed two specific actions to implement. First, and related to the attraction and retention of talents, a specific programme will be proposed, to support innovative businesses in these areas: Learning & Creativity, Green Economy, Healthy Food and Inclusive Social Business. Secondly, related with new facilities and hotspots for creative entrepreneurs, it aims to offer a place for co-working for the creative class, in order for them to develop their activity.
Key Points Entrepreneurial spirit Cooperative movement Creative and innovative educational programmes Highly specialized companies Intercultural profile Fast accessibilities to major centres
5.2. Towards a Typology of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities Based on an intensive study of creative small cities in Europe, Canada and USA, a typology of creative-based strategies was established. In fact, the starting point of the elaboration of these strategies is different concerning the specificities of the territory and the objectives of the public policies. Table 5 - Typology of Creative-based Strategies Typology
Strategies centered on the built environment, through regeneration and renovation instruments as well as the conception of new creative spaces (buildings and public spaces)
Nelsonville (U.S.A.) Sligo (Ireland)
Creative strategies oriented to the quality of life and the quality of the landscapes, the natural and rural amenities
Strategies focused on a nuclear creative and cultural activity, such as music, dance, food, etc.
Comprehensive strategies focused on creative and cultural industries, that encompasses social, entrepreneurial, environmental and physical domains
Prince Edward County (Canada) Fiskars (Finland) Natimuk (Australia) Ludlow (UK) Jyväskylä (Finland) Reggio Emilia (Italy) Porsgrunn (Norway)
Óbidos (Portugal) Barnsley (UK)
This typology comprises four categories of strategies: a physical approach, a green approach, a thematic approach and an integrated approach26: Physical approach: This type of strategy is focused on the built environment and is mainly centred on urban regeneration and revitalization programmes. The objectives are related to the creation of creative spaces: iconic buildings, public spaces, and infrastructures to attract artists and creative people (incubators, technology parks, live-work houses, etc.). Moreover, the creation of
Other typologies of the literature: Duxbury, N.; Ross, N.; Murray, C. (2011), 'Cultural and Creative Economy Strategies for Community Transformation: Four Approaches', EM: The Social Transformation of Rural Canada: New Insights into Community, Culture and Citizenship (forthcoming); Lambe, W. and Morgan, J. (2010), Small Towns, Big Ideas, IIRA. 98
cultural districts or cultural quarters in old and degraded areas is one of the aims of these strategies. Green approach: This kind of strategy is based on the promotion of quality of place and quality of life based on a set of natural, historical-cultural and symbolic amenities unique to the territory. The attraction and retention of artists and creative people is one of the objectives of these strategies. The involvement of the community and the preservation of authenticity and identity of the territories are also very important factors. Thematic approach: This type of strategy is centred on the selection of a specific segment of the cultural and creative industries as a priority of public policies, such as music, dance, theatre, food, etc. It is more oriented to immaterial actions than to the physical environment, and is mostly based on the symbolic amenities and on the artistic traditions of the territories. Integrated approach: This strategy is also focused on the attraction of talent and creative businesses but through the application of integrated instruments with social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts. The promotion of creative entrepreneurship is mostly an objective of local public policies that create favourable conditions for the emergence of new businesses and companies. There is considerable overlap between the approaches and the strategies or tools used to implement them. In fact, in many cases, small cities pursue creative strategies by combining elements of more than one approach. However, it is useful to systematize the different strategies that are being implemented by the local governments in partnership with the community, in order to generate knowledge and information to support decision-making processes. In conclusion, culture and creativity have acquired a growing strategic role in development policies under several rationales and with different purposes. But, such diversity of solutions depends largely of the â€˜initialâ€™ situation of each territory and the institutional arrangements and specific governance forms used in these processes (Costa, 2008). In fact, due to the risk of serial replication of this phenomenon, it is important to stress the importance of historical precedents, the symbolic value of place and space, and cultural heritage, through the promotion of creative strategies that link tradition with innovation and the past with the future.
Lessons Learnt for the Design and Implementation of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-sized Cities
6. Lessons learnt for the Design and Implementation of Creative-based Strategies in Small and Medium-Sized Cities This chapter presents key ingredients for creative-based strategies in small and medium-sized cities. These do not intend to represent general recipes, since policies and strategies need to be context-specific. Nevertheless, it is important to identify some guidelines that derive from theoretical research, the analysed case studies and the exchange of experiences within the URBACT Creative Clustersâ€™ network. The main goal of these lessons is to contribute to the development of successful creative-based strategies at a local level. Creative strategies in small and medium-sized cities do not yet have an implementation track record in Europe, as they are an emerging reality. So, significant benefits arise from analysing existing cases in order to develop recommendations, lessons and best practices that can facilitate local authorities and policymakers in their decision-making processes.
Local leadership as a driver for development
Agents of change as engines for creative transformation
Collaboration and community engagement
Creative brokers promoting an interdisciplinary approach
Building territorial creative networks and partnerships
Experimental and informal planning and evaluation of creative results
Avoiding local conflicts and social gentrification
Giving visibility to local creative people - â€œinvisible talentsâ€?
Creativity-friendly local education systems
Creative spaces for convergence and experimentation
Flexible, temporary and low-cost creative spaces
Promoting wellbeing and quality of life
Lesson 1: Local leadership as a driver for development Local leadership is a key driver for the definition and implementation of creative-based strategies. Local leaders, characterized by an innovative and open approach, push and implement new ways of doing things. Proactive, future-oriented, embracing change and assuming risks are some of the critical features of a local leader to encourage creative-based strategies. Furthermore, the importance of the leadership is linked not only with personality attributes but also with the person, the face of the leader who believes in the strategy and in the community, encouraging and stimulating the locals and the potential talents to embrace the project. In some way, the stability of leadership is critical to the success of the strategy. At least initially, it is important that the “face of the project” remains the same. However, the local leader can be a facilitator but also a barrier to creativity and innovation. Although there are strong ingredients to develop creative-based strategies, if the local leader does not believe in that potential, the creative process will never be a flowing and harmonious one, as well as collaborative and consonant. Sometimes, creativity and innovation comes from the community within a bottom-up approach. According to Evans et al. (2006), “some of the most forward-looking creative work occurs at the grassroots level, where ideas can flourish, experiments can take place, and creative activity is less constrained by institutional bureaucracy and market imperatives”. The creative ecosystem is already put in place through spontaneous local dynamics, and the local leadership just needs to act as a facilitator for the creative growth. The Mayor of Óbidos (Portugal), Telmo Faria, is a reference leader with a view to promoting the development of a creative economy in the small town of Óbidos. He has a clear vision for the territory, advocating the creation of a “modern rurality”. “Attracting the creative class is one of the central purposes of our strategy. Firstly, through their participation in our cultural and other innovative events, and secondly, we intend to involve and attract people to live and work in Óbidos (…) Each one of us, whoever we may be, will be able to contribute towards the construction
Lesson 2: Agents of change as engines for creative transformation The importance of specific actors to boost and develop creative ecosystems in small and mediumsized cities is crucial, namely in the local economic and social revitalization processes. 103
These “agents of change” are people or organizations that can take the lead on initiating a process of creative transformation. They could be from different origins and fields; they could be political institutions, private institutions, non-profit organizations, neighbourhood associations, or a specific person. Sometimes they are outsiders, but in most cases they were born in the town and return with a motivation to participate in the development of their home place. According to Schienstock (2005), “the transformation process, to a great extent, depends on the engagement of certain people being particularly good in imaginative exploration and creation (…) among them: social pioneers, scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs, prepared to initiate and conduct anticipatory institutional change, and have a crucial role to play”. In the same sense, Petrov (2007) advocates that “the emphasis on the ‘imaginative exploration’ and ‘creation’ as the vehicles of path-creation, is especially crucial (…) with necessary settings in place, the creative capacity of the human capital, perhaps, is the power that can deliver economic revitalization to the region”. The key importance of these agents is that they believe in the local potential of the territory to start an anchor project that has the ability to improve and change the local development process. Besides this, they can act as “creative ambassadors” of the territory, promoting its potential worldwide. One example is the case of Rui Horta, a well-known Portuguese choreographer, who, after living and working in several parts of the world, decided to move to Montemor-o-Novo, a small town with 18,500 residents, situated in Portugal. He created a trans-disciplinary arts organisation “Espaço do Tempo”, which supports various national and foreign contemporary performing artists, located in an old convent (Convento da Saudacão) (http://www.oespacodotempo.pt/en/). This initiative is very active in the international scene, but also has an active role in working and interacting with the local community by collaborating with schools and local associations and other organizations. According to the artist, “by establishing a place that provides a structure for creativity, situated in the countryside, surrounded by a remarkable landscape and with an in-depth relationship with the small city of Montemor-o-Novo, our concept is to provide the artists with the necessary distancing and detachment to foster their creativity”. Moreover, “we consider that culture can have an important role in local development, by opening new perspectives for local citizens, improving the quality of their daily life, facilitating diverse ways of looking at, and understanding the world and creating numerous opportunities for local employment and investments”.
Lesson 3: Collaboration and community engagement Fostering collaboration and partnerships is an essential factor in promoting creative-based strategies. On the one hand, the interaction between different political departments inside the Municipalities is essential, namely economy, culture, spatial planning, social affairs and environment. On the other hand, the inter-institutional interaction needs to be privileged and intended to articulate the responsibilities and interests of public authorities, private actors, NGOs and citizens. Public-private partnerships, including non-profit institutions, are the emergent organizational model for the development of sustainable creative-based strategies – the so-called ‘interactive governance model’. Moreover, the collaboration between universities, training centres, R&D institutes and the business fabric is essential in promoting information and knowledge transfer and the development of new solutions, the triple helix approach. Furthermore, the involvement of the civil society, though the effective use of the open and user-centred innovation approach leads to the introduction of a new concept: quadruple helix model. In fact, community engagement through participatory processes is determinant for the success of the definition and implementation of creative-based strategies, and not only creative talents but also ordinary people. In small cities, face-to-face contacts and the sharing of tacit knowledge are essential, but information and communication technologies and social networks may facilitate the process, engaging people outside the territory into the debate. The importance of the noneconomic aspects of life is perhaps more visible in small territories where there prevails a strong community spirit and a sense of identity. Some interesting examples can be evidenced. Jyväskylä, in Finland, is actively promoting networks between companies, universities, institutes of higher education, research institutes, technology centres and public organisations. The active engagement of governments in creating optimal environments for business activities and the strong interaction between university and industry, alongside an open innovation dynamics, are the basis for the success of the city’s strategy (http://www.jkl.fi/lang; http://humantechnology.fi/). Community involvement in the city’s life is a very important factor in Barnsley, in the UK. The “Remaking Barnsley” strategy derived from an initiative of public participation that aimed to produce a long-term vision for the town, involving local communities: to create a culturally inspiring, dynamic and thriving “21st Century Market Town & Borough”, with a strong focus on the cultural 105
and creative sector (http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/online). This involvement of citizens in local projects is built on a long tradition of networking and collaboration, the Community Partnerships being recognized as a pioneering model to engage local residents in community initiatives, such as the regeneration and the renewal of their neighbourhoods (http://www.bacp.org.uk/).
Lesson 4: Creative brokers promoting an interdisciplinary approach The identification and training of creative brokers is very important for promoting the development of the creative and cultural sector at regional and local levels. These agents can function as connectors between: traditional industries and creative industries, subsectors within creative industries (design, media, music, theatre, etc.), and technology-based sectors and cultural and creative businesses – more generally between arts, technology and business. Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential in a hybrid world where the barriers are becoming increasingly blurred between creators, producers and consumers (the so-called open innovation), stages of the value chain (creation, production, distribution, and consumption), disciplines and knowledge domains and the public and private sectors. As postulated in the Green Paper for Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries (CE, 2010a) “intermediaries or brokers between different sectors and disciplines should be encouraged”. Creative brokers working in small and medium-sized towns must have specific characteristics which differentiate them from the ones that are active in big cities. They must create interactions between talents to stimulate ideas and creativity, not only among new creative visitors and residents, but also integrating the local community in the process. It is necessary to gather talents who have open minds, a strong sense of sociability and neighbourliness, and the capacity to connect economic, cultural and social values. For example, the Municipality of Jyväskylä, in Finland, is creating and animating a network of people working in the creative and wellness sectors – the “Creative Wellnet”, giving visibility to these citizens and promoting the interaction between culture and creativity, and wellbeing. These creative people can act as “creative brokers” between these different areas of knowledge with a view to creating new and innovative services that will connect the culture, creative and social, and health-related sectors with each other. Another example of these interdisciplinary approaches observed in Jyväskylä is the role of several R&D institutes and researchers promoting the interaction between different knowledge domains and disciplines. The Interdisciplinary Music Research Centre is focused on how people listen to
music, experience music, and how they play and perform music, linking culture with health and wellbeing (https://www.jyu.fi/hum/laitokset/musiikki/en/research/coe). Applications of the new knowledge produced in this research, such as music therapy, the promotion of language-learning and the reduction of state fright, have social, pedagogic, artistic and commercial significance.
Lesson 5: Building territorial creative networks and partnerships Small and medium-sized cities have an increasing importance in the European territorial system and urban hierarchies, in an era of increasing need for interaction between different spatial scales, local, regional, European and global – the so-called ‘multi-level governance’. On the one hand, small territories can play a decisive role as anchors for the development of the surrounding regions, delivering basic services for the population and promoting connections between urban and rural areas, enhancing polycentrism. Moreover, they may benefit from establishing territorial and thematic partnerships with other towns and cities, based on their complementarities and with a view to achieving some critical mass in economic, human and cultural terms. Some of these networks are specifically focused on culture and creativity. On the other hand, due to the apparent death of the nation state and the weakening of the regional arena (for example, with the announcement of the abolishment of RDA – Regional Development Agencies in England), cities can function as bridges between the ‘local’ and the ‘global’ spheres. Small cities have an important role to play in international networks, despite their size. Furthermore, with the development of the digital economy and the spread of information and communication technologies, it is possible for a person or a company to be located in a small town and be integrated in partnerships working for the global market. In Portugal, a network of creative economies within a governmental programme was launched, called “Urban Networks for Innovation and Competitiveness” (National Strategic Reference Framework Programme). The network is led by the Municipality of Óbidos and integrates five additional small Portuguese cities: Guimarães, Tondela, Montemor-o-Novo, Montemor-o-Velho and Seia. They have created an association to manage the network for the development of joint projects, such as artistic residencies, mobility of artists, entrepreneurship support, etc. Moreover, within the European territorial cooperation programmes (namely INTERREG IVC and INTERREG IVB), several projects linked to creative industries and spaces were supported, such as CITES – “Creative Industries in Traditional Intercultural Spaces” (http://eucreativeindustries.eu/), Creative Growth (http://www.creative-growth.eu/), Organza – “Network of Medium-sized
Creative Cities” (http://www.organzanetwork.eu/), ECCE Innovation – “Developing Economic Clusters of Cultural and Creative Enterprises in the Innovation Process” (http://ecceinnovation.ning.com/), and Creative City Challenge (http://www.creative-city-challenge.net).
Lesson 6: Experimental and informal planning and evaluation of creative results The ultimate target of creative-based strategies is to foster creative ecosystems. Thus, they must be flexible, informal and experimentalist. These strategies should incorporate and promote informality as a policy, instead of creating policies that, due to being restrictive, hinder creativity itself. Policies and strategies need to avoid constraining creativity. This is true, for both material and immaterial projects, such as public spaces projects, creative infrastructures, creative programmes and activities, competitions, exhibitions and events, etc. Putting new ideas in creative hands is better than trying to create and define everything through rules and regulations, attempting to formalize a naturally informal process: that of creativity. The experimentalist character of creative strategies is also very important. Spaces can function as “living labs” where new measures and instruments can be tested and validated throughout time. Deviations to the initial plans must be seen as a common occurrence in an on-going strategy that must be kept alive, besides it being necessary to have adequate monitoring and evaluation methodologies. Thus, in the context of the strategic planning process, it is crucial to develop monitoring and evaluating systems in order to measure its results and impacts. As an emergent process, creativebased strategies need to make their impact and transformation potential visible to the political authorities and the community. Therefore, new tools and evaluation mechanisms should be developed in order to demonstrate the importance of this type of strategy. It is also important to balance the strategies between short and long-term development goals. Creative-based strategies should include long-term development goals, defining a continuous and transformative process, balanced with short-term economic and social gains. And this long-term strategy, in order to work and be sustainable, even in a short-term period, has to be independent from the typical political cycles.
These tools are also important because they provide the opportunity to monitor all the implementation phases of a creative strategy, with the ability to adjust their actions to the different and ever-evolving environments. Óbidos (Portugal) is developing a specific tool to monitor and evaluate the results of the “Creative Óbidos” strategy, called ‘Creative Footprint’. It seeks to measure the impact of the actions and projects of the strategy, using concrete indicators and a specific tool to calculate “creative emissions”.
Lesson 7: Avoiding local conflicts and social gentrification In order to contribute to a better local creative environment, the implementation of creativebased strategies should encompass a conflict resolution programme. In practice, creative-based strategies interfere with the previous atmosphere, frequently motivating local conflicts and disagreement, namely between local residents and new residents, residents who want to sleep and the activities that work during the night, traditional spaces and the disruptive and creative approaches of the spaces, etc. A diverse environment is a positive feature; however the coexistence of different realities and lifestyles in a non-gradual process usually creates discomfort. A system should therefore be able to manage conflicts, through mechanisms for informing people, promoting dialogue between each other. Trying to create consensus towards a diverse-friendly environment is critical. According to Evans et al. (2006), “cultural and creativity-based community programmes at the neighbourhood level are a primary tool for addressing social exclusion. This kind of activity can provide access to new career opportunities and trajectories, build self-esteem, and broader social understanding by enabling self-expression through various creative media, teach life skills, provide safe activities for youngsters, and build neighbourhood awareness (…) Addressing creativity-based economic development at the neighbourhood level (in a way that complements policy-making and programme implementation at a higher, city-wide level), ensures that all social groups have access to appropriate creative programmes”. Thus, the involvement of the community in the definition and implementation of creative-based strategies is essential to avoid these problems of potential social gentrification. In Óbidos (Portugal), the ODesign project is an example of these community creative programmes, aimed at creating contemporary-design objects, made with traditional techniques
by the senior population of the municipality (social design). The final objective is to involve local people in the creative process, in order to improve the personal and social well-being of seniors.
Lesson 8: Giving visibility to local creative people - “invisible talents” In small and medium-sized cities and rural areas, talents are often “invisible” in the statistics and political documents, due to the characteristics of their work. Usually, people involved in creative occupations in small territories are freelancers, self-employed or owners of micro-companies, and they often develop their activities on an informal or amateur basis, being extremely flexible and mobile. However, some of them have international connections and are involved in global networks without being recognized in their own towns and cities. Thus, it is important to map the local creative people in order for the real dimension of local talent - not captured by official quantitative analysis - to become visible. It is essential to take advantage of this potential, often overlooked. Many times, the creative potential is in the place, simplifying the process of conception and definition of creative-based strategies fostering bottom-up approaches. Additionally, the involvement of these “invisible talents”, in the process of thinking and developing a creative strategy, is fundamental. Listening to them and asking what the needs that they face are, is a starting point for the connection between the spontaneous and informal local creativity and the institutional and political agents. For example, the small town of Óbidos (Portugal) developed a process for identifying and classifying the creative people of the territory, discovering a network of talents that were invisible to the local people and authorities. The Municipality has launched an “Innovation and Creativity Guide” with the objective of disseminating the talents, cultural organisations and creative businesses of Óbidos, and giving them visibility. This information is very important to build new markets and promote the
in global networks
things/docs/guia-inovacao-primeira-edicao). In a similar sense, the Barnsley Development Agency (UK) developed a mapping study of local creative and digital industries, which was carried out between August and October 2010. The study identified an emergent sector integrated by 540 active companies, whose majority (82%) are micro-businesses generating a turnover between £50,000 and £99,999 (Barnsley CDI Business Mapping Report, Barnsley Development Agency/Ask Insight, 2010). According to Tracey Johnson,
creative & digital sector specialist at the Barnsley Development Agency, “a small but emerging creative sector”.
Lesson 9: Creativity-friendly local education systems High-quality schools are not only a factor of attraction for creative people, but also an internal source of creative individuals to the territory. It is strategically important to develop a creativefriendly local education system and not just importing talents from external sources. In fact, a sound education system, with high-quality standards, adequate facilities and infrastructures, fostering creativity in all education cycles, reaching the youngest and the oldest students, is also an important part of a successful strategy for developing small and medium-sized cities. According to Evans et al. (2006), providing school-age children, at all levels in the public education system, with instruction in creative disciplines and exposure to cultural content, serves a number of purposes: it trains future artists; produces future creative workers by introducing opportunities in creative disciplines as viable career paths; equalizes exposure to culture and creativity – without system-wide instruction in the public schools, only those who can afford extra-curricular lessons will be covered; it builds confidence in local cultural and creative talent; creates future cultural consumers with appreciation of the important role that creative expression plays in the city. Moreover, creative-based community programmes (“arts programmes”) are very important to promote social inclusion. Arts, culture and creativity can be a practical tool to engage the youngster in the community life, preventing crime, abandoning school, and exclusion, namely at a neighbourhood level. Some examples must be stressed. One is Reggio Emilia (Italy) that focuses its strategy in a good education system, providing creative capabilities for children. The Municipality, together with other interested stakeholders, decided to establish a mixed public-private company to manage the pedagogical and cultural exchange initiatives: Reggio Children - International Centre for the Defence
(http://zerosei.comune.re.it/inter/reggiochildren.htm). This institution created an international network built-up together with reference representatives in the various countries where Reggio Children has been interacting with the longest, in a consistent and sustained way.
Óbidos (Portugal) privileges creative education as one of the main topics of its Creative Economy strategy. The Municipality built two municipal schools with high standards in terms of architecture, infrastructures, spaces, and teachers. They created “creative ateliers” where children can spend some of their time developing their creative capabilities. The “Complexo Escolar dos Arcos”, one of the municipal schools, was considered in 2010 a reference school by the
obidos.pt/custompages/showpage.aspx?pageid=ca853542-4fe2-425c-8850-dc94747f2e6f). Another interesting case of a creative initiative involving schools is the My Machine project that was originated in Kortrijk (Belgium). It is the result of a partnership between the Howest University, the Leiedal Intermunicipal Association and the Community Foundation of WestFlanders. The project intends to promote creativity and cross-pollination throughout all levels of education (primary, higher and secondary levels), and is intended to create prototypes of objects based on the imagination of young children (http://www.mymachine.be/).
Lesson 10: Creative spaces for convergence and experimentation The creation of creative spaces for convergence and experimentation (such as artistic residencies, live-work houses, creative incubators, meeting spaces, co-working spaces, living labs, fab labs, etc.) is a success factor for both the attraction of temporary visiting artists, and new residents. There is, in fact, a need for physical spaces where artists and other people can meet and reflect on the creative process, in order to produce new ideas on an interdisciplinary basis. In this sense, the Green Paper on Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries (EC, 2010a) advocates the need for new spaces for experimentation, innovation and entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative sector: “the setting up of meeting places and ‘laboratories’ for usercentred and open innovation and experimentation, where various disciplines work together, should be promoted”. But, artists who look for these environments in small and medium-sized towns are challenged by the uniqueness of the place, the special atmosphere favourable to the creative work and enhanced quality of life, and not by the so-called creative attributes of big cities and metropolis (big cultural infrastructures, technological clusters, etc.). These spaces are mostly derived from the refurbishment of old buildings with a minimum investment, characterised by the fact that they are informal, low-cost, and flexible.
Some examples can be highlighted: one is the case of the “Artistic Rural Residencies” in the small town
residencias.blogspot.com/). The organisation intends to incentive artistic creation in a quiet and green village, facilitating encounters between different artists and aesthetic disciplines. It offers two distinct spaces: the house where the residents can make the meals, rest, meet with each other, and the “creation yard”, with different work places, ateliers, studios, black box, documentation centre and peaceful gardens. The town of Óbidos, in Portugal, is also a reference case in providing a network of spaces for creative companies and artists, such as a creative industries incubator ABC, live-work houses, coworking spaces and a fab lab. ABC is a support structure for entrepreneurs within creative industries, which is installed in the refurbished Saint Michael’s Convent (http://www.ptobidos.com/?page_id=880). It aims to attract companies of the creative sector, by offering favourable conditions in terms of innovation and competitiveness. At the moment, the space integrates 11 companies linked to design (web, graphic and industrial), tourism, geographic information systems, editing and publishing, as well as jewellery. The incubator complements the offer of the Technology Park of Óbidos with the possibility of housing creative industries in a very short period of time. Finally, The Civic, in Barnsley (UK), was developed specifically to meet the needs of the city’s creative industries (http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/). The venue is home to the Assembly Room, a 336-seat performance space, the Gallery@, the Panorama, and a variety of studios and workshop spaces which are home to local creative organisations. The workspaces are suitable for a range of creative businesses, offering various opportunities for joined-up working, with likeminded organisations.
Lesson 11: Flexible, temporary and low cost-creative spaces Creative people look for low-cost spaces with “personality”. These spaces, rather than being new, should have character, an identity and a past. Thus, low-cost approaches should not only focus on cheaper places to live and work, but in the link between two different factors: low prices (house rental, room rental, etc.), and a particular identity and history. When these spaces are transformed or renovated, usually implicating higher market prices, the creative residents automatically look for a new home and workplace. In this sense, it is important to employ non-market solutions to protect affordable spaces for creative people and enterprises. “This is most effectively achieved when cities find ways to secure
the ownership of buildings in public or non-profit hands” (Evans et al., 2006). In fact, a city or a town with a wealth of affordable and available spaces for working, living, performing, and displaying, is better able to attract and retain creative talent. Moreover, the flexible use of space is another key ingredient in creative-based strategies, in an era where work practices are changing with the increase of flexible work, especially in the cultural and creative sector. Sometimes municipalities are owners of vacant spaces that can be used for temporary projects, such as workshops, installations, cultural events, etc. Thus, ephemerides are also a relevant ingredient in the promotion of creative ecosystems. The focus is on reactivation and giving live to some places that were lost and unused, through experimentation and creative processes. These temporary projects can be of different types, namely a photographic exhibition along the street, a theatre or other cultural event in an abandoned building, a new type of urban furniture in a public square, etc. However the main objective is fostering experiences to rethink places, mainly old, deteriorated and non-functional local areas (public spaces, abandoned buildings). Some examples demonstrate that certain temporary installations (creative exercises) often become final and definitive arrangements. The town of Óbidos (Portugal) is making several spaces in the intra-walls area, available for creative people and creative businesses, at affordable prices, such as live-work houses, coworking areas, multifunctional spaces integrating galleries, small studios, performing areas, etc.
Lesson 12: Promoting wellbeing and quality of life The endogenous assets of a place play an important role in the development of creative ecosystems. The genesis of what makes a place “special” is based on local recourses – the socalled “genius loci”. However, the local resources include not only material assets, but also immaterial assets. A broad definition of ‘assets’ has to be considered, which is linked with the relational-social and symbolicintangible amenities that constitute important factors for the residential location decisions of talents. Another related trend is the recognition of the importance of places to live and work with high quality of life. Creative-based strategies that capitalize on the distinctive characteristics of the places, linked with quality of life attributes, are better able to turn these differentiation aspects
into economic development assets. These strategies also need to take into account environmental and social issues in order to be sustainable, inclusive and open. In particular, they should focus on segments of the population that have been seen as being more attracted to small and mediumsized cities, such as young families, midlife career changers and active retired people. Activities targeting the well-being of the population (sports, health, food, aesthetic, etc.), social inclusion (creative events involving different age groups and different cultures, participative process in local government, etc.) and sustainability (quality environment, low-carbon life styles, energy efficiency, etc.) are some examples that are relevant to foster quality of life. People are looking for life satisfaction that is not only linked to the economic dimension, but increasingly to the social, cultural and environmental dimensions of life. High standards of quality of life in a place can help communities to be more creative and more sustainable towards “creative sustainable communities”. Jyväskylä, in Finland, is an international reference example of the implementation of this type of strategic vision. The city promotes itself as the “Human Technology City”, mixing the technological and human dimensions of innovation (http://www.humantechnology.fi/). At the moment, the Municipality is producing a strategy called “Culture and Wellness”, with the aim of developing new products, services and solutions in an interaction between wellness (wellbeing in all of its dimensions: physical, social, professional, etc.) and culture and creativity in order to improve people’s quality of life.
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INTELI is a think-and-do tank on innovation policy and management. Its mission is to contribute to the integrated development of the territories in economic, social, cultural and environmental terms, through the support of public policies and that of the strategies of the local stakeholders. The main areas of activity of INTELI are centered on territorial innovation, namely in the domains of: culture and creativity, sustainability and mobility, and social innovation. The objective of the activities on culture and creativity is encouraging innovation in the cultural and creative sector for the development of cities and regions, within a logic of articulation between urban regeneration and economic and social revitalization.
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Published on Jun 30, 2011
Small cities and even rural areas can attract creative people, based mostly on quality of life and the place’s qualities (the so called ‘ame...