Creative Geographies: Tales from the ‘margins’

Guest editorial by Chris Gibson, University of Wollongong in Australian Geographer, Vol. 41, No. 1. Online publication date 18 February 2010.

Much has been written about the geography of creative industries such as film, music, design and fashion, especially in the northern hemisphere. Frequently the focus has been on agglomerations or clusters of activity in districts of major Western cities (e.g. Scott 2006; Bathelt & Graf 2008; Reimer et al. 2008; Watson 2008).

Creativity is said to be the salient feature of contemporary post-industrial capitalism, fuelling innovation and investment and therefore responsible for urban economic fortunes, as well as being a somewhat intangible quality in places ('the buzz' in urban milieus) responsible for generating lifestyle-led in-migration (Florida 2002).

Accordingly, municipal and state authorities in Australia and around the world have rushed to develop strategies aimed at branding places as creative, enhancing creative industry growth and generating the right kinds of built environments to attract and support creative entrepreneurs and firms.

In Scott's words:

so much of the literature on urban geography generally was posited on the model of the northeastern US metropolis . . . [this] prompted us to attempt to formulate an alternative view based on the very different forms of industrialization and urbanization that were becoming increasingly apparent in Southern California and the rest of the sunbelt. I myself had the extraordinary experience . . . of being informed--by an anonymous

referee of a research proposal on the manufacturing economy of Los Angeles--that there was no economic activity of this type of any interest in Southern California, and that if you wanted to study urban manufacturing you had better focus on cities like Chicago, Detroit or Pittsburgh. (1999, p. 810)

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