Handbook of Creative Cities
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Handbook of Creative Cities

Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander

With the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida in 2002, the ‘creative city’ became the new hot topic among urban policymakers, planners and economists. Florida has developed one of three path-breaking theories about the relationship between creative individuals and urban environments. The economist Åke E. Andersson and the psychologist Dean Simonton are the other members of this ‘creative troika’. In the Handbook of Creative Cities, Florida, Andersson and Simonton appear in the same volume for the first time. The expert contributors in this timely Handbook extend their insights with a varied set of theoretical and empirical tools. The diversity of the contributions reflect the multidisciplinary nature of creative city theorizing, which encompasses urban economics, economic geography, social psychology, urban sociology, and urban planning. The stated policy implications are equally diverse, ranging from libertarian to social democratic visions of our shared creative and urban future.
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Chapter 6: The Open City

Peter Jason Rentfrow


Peter Jason Rentfrow The study of cities has historically taken a broad perspective and focused on an assortment of macro-level variables, from density, diversity and traffic, to human capital, crime and unemployment. Without a doubt, such variables are crucial to understanding cities and identifying the factors that set them apart. But cities are not merely repositories of buildings, schools, streets, businesses, town halls or jails. Cities are places where people live – where people work and play – and as such, they are fundamental to human existence. Yet research on cities rarely considers their psychological characteristics. This is curious considering that American folklore and popular culture are filled with images of what people in certain regions are like. For example, we stereotype New Yorkers as assertive, tense and impatient, Californians as relaxed, a bit creative and superficial, and Texans as slow talking, friendly and enthusiastic about guns. Considering that such beliefs are consensually shared and widespread (Berry et al., 2000; Schneider, 2007), it would certainly seem sensible for city scholars to consider the potential value that a psychological perspective can add to our understanding of cities. Do cities have a psychological dimension? Although psychologists generally regard place as a variable that has no major effect on people’s thoughts, feelings or behaviours, recent research is beginning to suggest otherwise. There is growing evidence for inter- and intra-national differences on several psychological constructs, from personality traits and values, to emotional expression and helping behaviour. That research suggests that the psychological characteristics common in a...

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