die Frage: What Makes a City a Creative City?

Anne Stenros, Chief Design Officer (CDO), Stadt Helsinki 



What Makes a City a Creative City?


"The public discussion of the relationship between creativity and the urban context started around the turn of the millenium, when Richard Florida published his famous book "The Rise of the Creative Class" (2002). The starting point for the discussion was the regeneration of cities and a new emerging lifestyle that did not fit to the old categories of low-income, middle class and wealthy people. This new growing group was as a driving force for the change. The second wave of the discussion about creative cities was built around the ideas of Charles Landry who published in 2012 his pamphlet "The Origins & Futures of the Creative City". Originally Landry invented the concept of the Creative City in the late 1980's. Later, the notion has become a global movement and changed the way cities think about their capabilities and resources and their role in the global economy. Today, we all agree that cities are the global powerhouses of economy, innovation and creativity. Cities produce most of the wealth in the world, they accommodate most possibilities for innovation and they cultivate cultural richness in a creative way. In a recent study on creativity and city (Serafinelli & Tabellini 2017), it was found that "the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent".


We can identify five core characteristics that enhance the urban creativity and make a creative city. First, the sense of a unique place and authenticity. Secondly, the layers of culture which is experienced as diversity and personal opportunities. The third aspect is the sense of freedom: openness, accessibility and high level of citizen participation. The fourth characteristic is the feeling of vitality: a vibrant city atmosphere with flourishing entrepreneurial spirit. Finally, the fifth aspect is the ease of living - how liveable and lovable the city is both for residents and visitors. All these together create the experience of urban creativity as a unique surprising element in the urban context.


Eventually, a creative city inspires you to become who you are. Architect Louis I. Kahn has said: "A city is a place where a small boy, as he walks through it, may see something that will tell him what he wants to do his whole life.""


Foto: Nina Stenros





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