The "creative class" in the UK: an initial analysis
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Richard Florida argues that regional economic outcomes are tied to the underlying conditions that facilitate creativity and diversity. Thus the Creative Class thesis suggests that the ability to attract creativity and to be open to diverse groups of people of different ethnic, racial and lifestyle groups provides distinct advantages to regions in generating innovations, growing and attracting high-technology industries, and spurring economic growth. In this paper we investigate the extent to which there might be similar processes concerning the relationship between creativity, human capital, and high-technology industries at work in the UK as in North America. The approach taken is broadly sympathetic to the Creative Class thesis; critical perspectives and reservations from the literature are introduced as appropriate research is focused around the three principal research questions: Where is the creative class located in the UK? What is the impact of quality of place upon this dispersion? What is the connection between the location of the creative class and inequalities in technical and economic outcomes within the UK? To this end, the creative class and its subgroups are defined and identified. We then construct quality of place indicators relating to tolerance, diversity, creativity and cultural opportunity. To these are added measures of public provision and social cohesion. Data are analysed by means of correlations and regression. In general we find that, although the distribution of the creative class is uneven and complex, our results are consistent with the findings of the North American research with the notable exception of technology-based employment growth. Finally, priorities for further research are discussed. The need to further investigate causality, variations within the creative class itself, and the potential role of qualitative data in this are highlighted, as is the potential fate of "non-creative" workers and places.
Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography
Clifton, N. (2008), 'The "creative class" in the UK: An initial analysis', Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 90, pp. 63–82. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0467.2008.00276.x
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