Creativity is essential

The question of why some regions are more innovative than others merits study as innovation drives productivity and ultimately economic growth. Fostering innovation, creativity is considered an urban phenomenon and a determinant for the development and growth of cities. One of the many answers that have been put forward to the above question will be looked at in more detail here.

In his book “The rise of the creative class” Florida argues that human creativity is the ultimate economic resource and a key dimension of economic competitiveness. He presents the “3 T” model for economic growth with its key components Technology, Talent and Tolerance. In this model creative capital (Talent) is being measured by people’s functionality or activity in creative positions. This emerging new social class – the creative class – includes people in science, engineering, arts, architecture and design, education, music and entertainment whose economic function it is to create new ideas and creative content. The creative class prefers to live in places that are ethnically diverse and open to new ideas (Tolerant), which is in most cases large cities that offer a variety of opportunities, a stimulating environment and amenities for every possible lifestyle. In the resulting creative ecosystem innovation in the form of new products and processes (Technology) is unleashed.

The mobility of creative people as the key resource for economic development is put into historical context as being in contrast with natural resources which are tied to a certain place as wealth generating factors in past times.

Critics argue that Florida’s work was being elitist, failing to take rising inequality as well as a growing economical divide into account. It is also argued that Florida fails to link cities’ development in terms of levels of creativity to prior conditions of wealth creation and innovation.

In spite of this criticism, Florida’s work is at least in this respect valuable as to initiate a debate about creativity’s role for economic development, to which others can contribute.


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