Spaces of Culture and Economy: Mapping the Cultural-Creative Cluster Landscape

  • Hans Mommaas
Part of the The GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 98)

From the 1980s, the stimulation, nourishing or even instrumental creation of cultural-creative clusters has become an important component of both cultural and economic public policy at both the urban and regional level. Cultural functions, from the ‘classical’ performing and visual arts to more contemporary multi-media, leisure and/or design activities, are grouped together in a variety of spatial forms: in new building complexes, renovated industrial and harbour buildings, in quarters and districts. Together, they form part of a broader cultural turn in both urban planning and regional development strategies.

However, cultural-creative clustering strategies have often been based on notions not usually made explicit. In particular, there was a fragmented understanding of the role of culture and creativity in the new service economy, and in relation to that, of the economic transformation of cities and regions. This went together with an under-exploration of the transformations the cultural realm itself was going through, from a rather hierarchical and canonical reality, to something much more open and horizontal, but also more commercial. What did this imply for notions of artistic professionalism, the cultural resourcing of artistic creativity, the composition of critical audiences, artistic role models, and the reputation of creative careers? As a consequence, complex questions about the role of culture and the arts in the future economy and in future cities and regions have been left underexplored, thus resulting in the lumping together of different models of artistic, cultural, urban and industrial development. One possible result of this was that the cultural-creative clustering agenda either got stuck in former ‘artisanal’ models of creative communities or was hijacked by more economically oriented industry, ICT, innovation or real estate policy agendas (cf. Cunningham 2004; O'Connor 2007). In either case, an embryonic understanding of the nature of cultural-creative clusters, together with unclear aims and objectives, produced a lot of distrust among the parties involved.

Keywords

Europe Marketing Agglomeration Conglomerate Stake 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Mommaas
    • 1
  1. 1.Full professor in Leisure Studies, Tilburg University, Director Telos, Brabant Center for Sustainable DevelopmentTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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