Workshop 1

1. Creative city limits: urban cultural economy in a new era of austerity

Speakers and discussants included Professor Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota), Professor Angela McRobbie (Goldsmiths), Professor Peter Hall (UCL) and Professor AbdouMaliq Simone (Goldsmiths).

Creativity has become central to attempts at shaping and reviving the economic and cultural life of cities in the twenty-first century. This has been accompanied and reinforced by policy and research agendas emphasising the ‘creative city’  and the role of the ‘creative classes’ in urban economic development. Yet the current financial and fiscal crisis poses serious challenges to the effectiveness and adaptability of the creative city model. Reduced public and private support for urban regeneration schemes and cultural activities may remove many of the conditions that previously allowed the creative city to flourish. Alternatively, these very same factors may provide opportunities to steer creative practices and policies in new progressive and sustainable directions. This workshop, the first of five in this international research network, sought to provide urgently-required debate and discussion on the past, present and future trajectories of creative city thinking and policy-making. In particular it began to consider the following:

–    Does the contemporary economic climate necessitate a rethink of the relationship between urban creativity, urban planning and urban economic policy ?
–    What impact will the current UK economic and fiscal situation have on patterns and practices of production and work in the creative sector?
–    how can the UK draw lessons from creative responses associated with crises and disruptions in other urban contexts?

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