Such a creative process can be extended to all aspects of the built environment, so it may be legitimate to raise the question as to whether creative design of the built environment contributes to an innovative city; but the question is problematic. For a start, it depends upon mentalities associated with all urban actors, or the culture of the city, and specifically upon the organisations and institutions that give order and stability to the functioning of the city, and whether they operate within the social community with shared norms of co-operation, open interaction and a preference for systemic innovation through network or partnership relationships. These institutional characteristics are beyond the control of urban designers, but designers can nevertheless exert influence as a result of their unique position between creative thinking and innovating. That is, the design is the first visualisation of a creative thought in relation to the design product. If these visualisations add to the community’s disposition to seek and expect other systemic innovations, then urban designers can add to the momentum of innovation. They are not likely to create the momentum if it does not already exist, and they cannot sustain it alone. Nevertheless, the value of each urban design product, when placed in a context with all past and present urban design products, is almost certain to be greater when it compares favourably with those other products. In spatial and physical terms, the result can be the ‘creative cluster’. As Wood & Dovey (2015, pp.65-66) have observed, ‘What appears to matter is not only the mix of ingredients, but also synergies between different types of mix and lateral connections between particular ingredients. Just as agglomeration economics relies on spillover effects, both within and between industries, so creative clustering relies on connections and spillovers between morphological, functional and socio-economic diversities.’ Chicago and Berlin are likely to be interesting case studies of the innovation potential of cities for the remainder of this decade. Their ranking with the Innovative Cities Program for 2015 was 14th for Berlin and 16th for Chicago. Both cities had the same score to the nearest whole number (54) so the difference was quite small (Sydney had a ranking of 18th with a score of 53). The 162 indicators, from which the scores are calculated, reflect the innovation potential, with data on a variety of categories including infrastructure, human capital, information technology and geography (Innovation Cities Program 2015). This type of rating suffers as a result of the absence of acceptable measures of realised innovation but annual changes in the ratings and scores are nevertheless indicative of progress. The progress of these two cities in the near future will add context, if not also value, to these 2015 MUDD projects.
Innovation Cities Program 2015, ‘Innovation Cities Index 2015 – Global, http://www.innovation-cities.com/ innovation-cities-index-2015-global/9609 Weisberg, R.W. 2006, ‘Expertise and reason in creative thinking: evidence from case studies and the laboratory,’ in: Kaufman, J.C. & Bauer, J. (eds) Creativity and Reason in Cognitive Development, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.7-41. Wood, S. & Dovey, K. 2015, ‘Creative multiplicities: urban morphologies of creative clustering,’ Journal of Urban Design, vol.20 no.1, pp.52-74. Long-time friend of the MUDD Program, urban economist John Zerby, convened the core course UDES0004 History & Theory of Urban Development & Design for many years.
“...innovation is of value if it meets the ‘test of time’ or if it becomes an integral part of the medium-term momentum of innovation”
Master of Urban Development
Published on Apr 26, 2016
City Visions: Method & Design Chicago | Berlin | Sydney International Studio workshops from the Masters of Urban Development & Design degree...