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Creativity, culture & the city: a question of interconnection

Creativity, culture & the city: a question of interconnection

Forum d'Avignon 2011 – Creative cities – Presentation of Charles Landry study on creative cities

For the 2011 edition of the Forum d’Avignon, Charles Landry, the famous theorists of creative cities, delivers a first study on his research conducted on 6 European cities, within the frame of the partnership between the Forum d’Avignon and the Forum d’Avignon RUHR / ECCE.

Lille, Bologna, Bilbao, Cracow, Liverpool and the Ruhr region: what is their common point?  Creativity! This concept, developed by Charles Landry to describe innovative cities, constitutes the major asset of cities competing at a global level to localize resources, imagination and creativity, to attract investments as much as tourist! To the question, why investing in culture, Charles Landry answers with another question: what do we lose if we do not invest in culture? Because it integrates itself in a wider ecosystem within a territory and develops much beyond the limits of the cultural field. Not dealing with this topic comes to impoverishing the dynamic of firms and businesses, to threaten the social cohesion, to weakening the territory against its competitors, to losing its identity, its DNA, and so its future. Creative cities and creative economy are indivisible. 

Charles Landry makes his point through a deeply documented study, with a historical distance of 25 years, on 6 cities analyzed. To statistic figures, to interviews with directly involved key players, he adds his knowledge of an advisor to numerous cities, among which the European Capital of Culture.

Bilbao is often linked to the Guggenheim: of course, but it remains a symbol, hiding a strong policy promoting a renewal, which has transformed the city, from an industrial desert to a creative pole for service industries.

Liverpool has a different path, but started from the same acknowledgment: from an industrial city, devastated by the crisis, the city managed to transform itself, using the memory of the Beatles, in a hype touristic place as well as in a major place for scientific innovation.

Lille, the city of the North of France, is no longer the territory of former mines and textile fabrics: it symbolizes culture, conviviality and welcomes the main firms representing electronic and technological businesses in France, as well as the logistic platforms supporting their development.

The Ruhr region, European Capital of Culture, gave up its previous image associated with blast-furnaces to make of its industrial wild lands real innovative clusters, mixing design, cultural industries, research and development and education.

Bologna follows a similar path to distinguish itself from other Italian cities, benefiting from a more renowned strong cultural heritage and symbols: to artisanal specialization, the city chose to add a strategy around the localization of advance service activities, resulting in one of the highest employment rate in Italy!

Cracow chose to remember its past: after the fall of the wall, the city managed to rely on its intellectual tradition, its university, the heritage of the Jewish districts to launch a cultural renewal and become an incubator of innovation in Poland.

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