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Creative Clusters in Low Density Areas: A Case-Study Approach


  • Catarina Selada
  • Ines Vilhena da Cunha
  • Elisabete Tomaz



Creative clusters are considered to be only viable in big cities. However, creativity can act as a driving force for the development of low density areas, combating the exodus to large metropolis. On one hand, creative people are attracted to low density environments characterized by the presence of endogenous assets, such as natural and historical-cultural amenities and by a healthy quality of life. On the other, creative businesses in the areas of design, crafts, arts, etc are the result of an active entrepreneurial spirit of these talented people who want to live, work, learn and play in these creative communities. Places with a higher concentration of creative occupations tend to have more creative activities and to develop dynamic creative clusters. Furthermore, creative industries provide innovative inputs and knowledge spillovers to traditional sectors of small economies. Thus, the creative issue could contribute to impulse a sort of leapfrog in terms of social and economic development for small and midsize towns as well as an excellent opportunity to rethink rural development. Local public policies have a role to fulfill, promoting strategies oriented to: attraction of the creative class; enhancement of creative entrepreneurship; promotion of creative industries; creation of artistic and cultural infrastructures (museums, galleries, schools, incubators); launching of events, fairs and exhibitions; promotion of creative urban regeneration, etc. But, the presence and role of creative clusters and talents in low density zones need to be more widely acknowledged in order to pursue innovation policies aimed at developing small economies. The objective of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between low density areas and the development of creative industries and the attraction of talented people. The research approach will be based on a case study methodology centered on the analysis of three European examples of creative small urban environments (Obidos, PT; Barnsley, UK; Hódmezövásárhely, HU). A conceptual model and a set of analysis dimensions will be defined as the theoretical background of this benchmarking exercise. The aim of this investigation is to distil best practices and policy recommendations for the development of creative low density communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Catarina Selada & Ines Vilhena da Cunha & Elisabete Tomaz, 2011. "Creative Clusters in Low Density Areas: A Case-Study Approach," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1366, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1366

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Mcgranahan & Timothy Wojan, 2007. "Recasting the Creative Class to Examine Growth Processes in Rural and Urban Counties," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 197-216.
    2. Luciana Lazzeretti & Rafael Boix & Francesco Capone, 2008. "Do Creative Industries Cluster? Mapping Creative Local Production Systems in Italy and Spain," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(5), pages 549-567.
    3. Bjørn Asheim & Ron Boschma & Philip Cooke, 2011. "Constructing Regional Advantage: Platform Policies Based on Related Variety and Differentiated Knowledge Bases," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(7), pages 893-904.
    4. McGranahan, David A. & Wojan, Timothy R., 2007. "The Creative Class: A Key to Rural Growth," Amber Waves:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-6, April.
    5. Luciana Lazzeretti & Rafael Boix & Francesco Capone, 2009. "Why do creative industries cluster? An analysis of the determinants of clustering of creative industries," IERMB Working Paper in economics 0902, Institut d'Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona.
    6. David A. McGranahan & Timothy R. Wojan & Dayton M. Lambert, 2011. "The rural growth trifecta: outdoor amenities, creative class and entrepreneurial context -super-§," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 529-557, May.
    7. Michael Storper & Allen J. Scott, 2009. "Rethinking human capital, creativity and urban growth," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 147-167, March.
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