• Stephen Narsoo

A place for creativity in cities

Much of the way in which creativity has been seen is as a mechanical process, it has come to be dominated by management sciences and economics that view creativity only as a product. While creativity is now widely accepted as being good for city growth and

competitiveness, it is also inherently valuable and intrinsically important for social and

human development. In fact, the flowering of creativity which can fulfil both economic

and social development outcomes is fundamentally an organic social process. And the task of both theory and practice is to figure out how to ‘seed’ creativity better

in cities by providing spaces for creatives to express themselves. To figure out how to create the right ‘climate’ and conditions for creative ecosystems to take root. We have spent considerable time, studying the way in which creative clusters have organised themselves in space.

However within the relations between and within firms there are individuals, creative entrepreneurs who are embedded in institutional systems and structures. Herein lies the race to the top, we tend to focus on winners. In turn this has created a trend within urban policies - a race to attract global talent because there is a direct correlation between competitive advantage and attracting highly skilled individual.

While these views are important, - the system is geared towards competition and success - back the winners. Success is measured by the balance sheet and not by the ability to bounce back, to prevail. If we view the outcomes of developing creative urban clusters only as competitive advantage we miss an important opportunity at building resilience. The creative entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid are the foundation, focusing on the losers and building resilience provides sustainability.

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