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 19: Cultivating Creativity: Market Creation of Agglomeration Economies

Randall G. Holcombe


Randall G. Holcombe* Creativity is contagious. That contagion gives rise to agglomeration economies, and is the reason why policy makers want to implement policies that cultivate creativity in their jurisdictions. Richard Florida (2002, 2005a) has given a good account of the role of cities in cultivating the creative class, because creative people want to be where there are ‘vibrant urban districts, abundant natural amenities, and comfortable suburban “nerdistans” for techies so inclined’ (Florida, 2002, p. 11). There are two related but separate issues involved in cultivating creativity in a particular location: what attracts creative people to a particular location; and what makes people creative? A general theme in this chapter is that the first question has been overemphasized in analyses of the creative class, while the second has been relatively neglected. Beyond a doubt creative individuals desire certain lifestyle amenities where they are living, but those amenities will be attracted to locations where creative people live, so policy makers do not need to focus on the amenities. Rather, public policy should focus on implementing policies that make people creative. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE CREATIVE? Florida (2005a, pp. 3–4, emphasis in original) observes that ‘.  .  . the single most overlooked – and single most important – element of my theory is that every human being is creative. . . . Tapping and stoking the creative furnace inside every human being is the great challenge of our time.’ But while every person is creative, not everyone is a part of the creative class. Florida (2005a, p. 3) says that...

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