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On the Creative Neighborhood's Two Basic Forms

Richard Florida discusses a study comparing the neighborhoods that house "creative" industries. Science and tech tends to favor low-density office parks, while arts and cultural industries prefer mixed-use urban districts.
May 19, 2015, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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La Citta Vita

In a piece for CityLab, Richard Florida reports on a study by Greg Spencer into "creative" and "innovative" urban districts. From research covering Canada's major metropolitan regions, two distinct land use typologies emerge: science-based and creative. 

For the study, "Spencer defines high-tech or 'science-based' industries as spanning computer, software, pharmaceuticals and medicine, as well as research and development, while 'creative' industries include film and video, music, radio and television, and design, as well as independent artists, writers and performers."

Findings confirmed that "the science-based firms and industries are out in the suburbs, along highway interchanges, and in newer, low density suburban campuses. The creative industry locations are much more urban, dense, closer to the core of the city, walkable, mixed-use and often served by public transit."

Florida discusses theories about why land use patterns fall into these two camps. Reasons include:

  • Tech firms tend to be larger than creative firms, both in terms of employees and square footage
  • Social networks are more important in the creative fields
  • Creative firms are willing to pay higher rents to be close to similar businesses
However, high-tech and urban "innovation districts" may one day supersede this divide.
Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in CityLab
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