Creativity and the city

Creative people are crucial for city development. Not something I said but it is said by Richard Florida, an American philosopher in his book ‘The Rise of The Creative Class’. He claimed that cities whithout creative people do not have a future.

That’s hard. But he has a point.

I was intriged by the man and started to Google. Apparently there is also something like a Global Creativity Index:

The GCI is a broad-based measure for advanced economic growth and sustainable prosperity based on the 3Ts of economic development — talent, technology, and tolerance. It rates and ranks 139 nations worldwide on each of these dimensions and on our overall measure of creativity and prosperity.

This was the top 10 in 2015 (I couldn’t find the report of 2016):

Top 10

For the Belgium fans in the room:


More about the Global Creativity Index you can read here.

You can say that Florida his hypothesis is too much of a simplification of city needs but you can’t deny that many cities (and countries) have discovered the value of creativity.

Take a look at Barcelona.

In this article from 2014 they claimed to be the 4th most creative city in the world. They said that the creative ecosystem is essential for city development in general. Barcelona sees creativity as a driver for the social and economical system of the city.

More recently in Belgium the city Ghent said they want to ‘become the scale-up city of Belgium’. Right now they have about 350 start-ups and more and more of these start-ups are scalling up. For the non-Belgium readers, Ghent has around 250.000 inhabitants so they ain’t that big.

Since 2004 Unesco also has a UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN):

UCCN promotes cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

And guess who is the Belgian representant? Ghent.

So I don’t know if creativity can save the city. But that it will become more and more important that is for sure. No just as an USP in city marketing but with the rise of the smart cities and IoT we will need all the creativity we need.

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