A Broader Look at Creativity in the World's Top Cities

Top livable cities may be be good for families or corporations, but they don't often fuel or enable creativity the way their listers think they do, according to this piece.
May 28, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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Creativity is a much broader goal for cities, and top cities lists often misinterpret it, according to Index B (Roger Trapp and John Owrid).

"[H]aving proximity to the great outdoors, efficient transport systems and a substantial number of coffee shops does not necessarily add up to a city that actually draws in the innovative and creative people who can make a place so vibrant and an attractive tourist attraction. Offer a couple of teenagers the option of a weekend in Munich or Vancouver (traditional stars of liveability lists) over Los Angeles or New York and see what kind of reaction you get.

Indeed, this favouring of these smaller-scale cities over the great metropolises is made all the harder to understand when set against the apparent resurgent interest in cities. For all the continuing popularity of the suburbs and comfortable towns within commuting distance of the likes of New York and London for families looking for somewhere safe, convenient and offering easy access to the countryside, many cities are successfully reinventing themselves. Not least because of the growing belief in these environmentally-conscious times that city life – with its plentiful public transport, encouragement of cycling and denser housing – is in many ways "greener" than that in villages and small towns. Add to this the dynamism and excitement that results from having lots of people from different cultures and backgrounds thrown together and the attractions become clearer. Even the traditional balancing factors of high crime rates and poor transport are in many cases – such as New York and London – less of an issue than they were thanks to strong civic leadership and, it has to be said, the drive of citizens determined to improve their surroundings in ways that are not always apparent out of town."

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Published on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 in Future of Business
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