- The creative knowledge city in Europe: structural conditions and urban policy strategies for competitive cities
- European Urban and Regional Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Results of a new large-scale study question the role of creative talents in fostering economic prospects. It is shown that in Europe, with its cultural diversity and long urban history, Florida’s concepts have to be used with caution. The new study suggests that in Europe, along with so-called ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factors, there is a third crucial group of factors, related to personal networks, which impacts on economic perspectives. These networks include personal links, professional and social relations and other types of local social connections related to people’s life courses. This appeared to be strong and consistent outcomes of a survey among employees and interviews with employers, managers and trans-national migrants, conducted simultaneously in 13 European cities. It was also made clear that so-called hard conditions, especially job availability, were the second most important factor. Incidentally soft conditions were relevant, but never of prime importance. ‘Soft’ factors such as diversity, openness, amenities, and tolerance were hardly mentioned as relevant deciding factors for settling in a specific city. It also became clear that contemporary conditions that make some European cities more attractive than others for these industries offer only a partial explanation. The current fashionable focus on fostering ‘creative talents’ to improve economic prospects is not an option for all European cities. An alternative view on urban policies, associated with concepts that seem to be crucial for Europe, has been suggested.
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