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Understanding Creative Regions: Bridging the Gap between Global Discourses & Regional Contexts

Over the last 15 years there has been an increasing focus on the importance of creativity in fostering economic development. Research on related concepts has, so far, overlooked how different national understandings, economic systems, and geographic and institutional contexts influence the way creative industries work as well as the type of policies implemented to support them. This special Regional Studies publication, Understanding Creative Regions: Bridging the Gap between Global Discourses and Regional and National Context, aims to address this problem. This article provides you with a summary of the research done by different researchers that are mentioned in the research report.

Concept of creative regions

The 2 discourses on creative regions which have been most widely adopted are Richard Florida’s (USA) creative class concept, and the creative industries concept followed in Australia and the United Kingdom. Florida’s concept focuses on the labour market’s demand side, looking at how individuals working in creative occupations contribute to local economic growth and help foster an open and dynamic environment in which to work and live. The creative industries concept focuses on the labour market’s supply side, looking at how highly innovative firms in creative industries can be helped and supported.

Creative economy: metropolitan versus non-metropolitan areas

Bertachini and Borrione analyzed the structure of the Italian creative economy and its patterns of localization. They found the landscape of the Italian creative economy to be highly interconnected; core creative arts and heritage activities tend to be concentrated in metropolitan areas, while most design and craft-based industries are located in non-metropolitan areas.

Geographical hub for creative economy

Research done by Collis, Freebody and Flew on the location of the creative economy in Australia shows outer suburban areas are the geographical hub of creative industry. Outer suburban creative workers spoken to by the researchers were of the opinion that their location offers them a better quality of life compared to the environments found in inner urban areas of major cities. 

Creative economy and governance 

Andres and Chapain’s paper explores governance arrangements associated with the implementation of cultural and creative policies at local and regional levels, using the UK and France as examples. Results show that policies implemented in cities in these 2 countries tend to follow national trends, something which can be partly explained by the types of leadership displayed by local and regional public and private actors, their financial resources, and the local and regional institutional settings within which they navigate.

Location determinants creative economy

Faggian, Comunian, Jewell and Kelly studied the location determinants of creative graduates in the UK. While London and the South East are emphasized as important hubs for studying and providing creative graduates with more labour market opportunities, the quality of these opportunities depends on the disciplines they have studied and the regional labour markets into which they moved. The influence of the higher education division between new and old universities on the types of work that graduates occupy after university is another factor.