The Creative City

Cultural policies and urban regeneration between conservation and development

by Alessia Usai (Author)
Monographs 204 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. The Concept of Creativity
  • 1.1 A critical review of literature on creativity
  • 1.2 The urban dimension of creativity: different schools, different definitions
  • 1.3 The link with spatial planning
  • 1.4 The link with innovation18
  • 1.5 The link with culture, cultural policies and cultural programs
  • 2. Strategies for Creativity
  • 2.1 Creativity and the historical urban landscape read through the international charters and declarations
  • 2.2 UNESCO programming for creativity and culture
  • 2.3 European programming for creativity and culture31
  • 2.4 Conclusions
  • 3. Creativity at the Regional and Urban Scale
  • 3.1 The international context
  • 3.2 The European context
  • 3.3 The Italian context: the national dimension
  • 3.3.1 Cultural and creative economy in Italy (1990-2009)
  • 3.3.2 The creative capacity of culture in time of austerity (2010-2014)
  • 3.4 The Italian context: the regional dimension
  • 3.5 Conclusions
  • 4. Regional Planning
  • 4.1 The origins of the advanced cultural district: the industrial district
  • 4.1.1 The classical district: a new economic-commercial approach in industrial organization (1920-1970)
  • 4.1.2 The growth of the socio-technical dimension within the economic-commercial approach (1970-1990)
  • 4.1.3 Industrial districts in the global market: a socio-cultural approach in industrial organization (1995-2005)
  • 4.1.4 Advanced industrial districts: a cognitive approach in industrial organization and technological innovation (2005-2014)
  • 4.2 From the industrial district to the advanced cultural district: the Italian contribution to the international debate
  • 5. The Advanced Cultural District in Regional Planning
  • 5.1 The existent instruments and their effectiveness
  • 5.1.1 The economic survey: statistical indicators, analysis of the relationships between companies and production chains
  • 5.1.2 The spatial survey: distribution (mapping) and context analysis
  • 5.1.3 The sociological survey: the appraisal of competencies and resources
  • 5.2 Building an advanced cultural district: methodological and instrumental aspects
  • 5.2.1 The procedure
  • 5.2.2 The feasibility study
  • 5.3  Conclusions
  • 6. Creative Spatial Policies for Cultural Heritage and Landscape
  • 6.1 Assessment of the strategic positioning
  • 6.1.1 Resource analysis
  • 6.1.2 Relational analysis
  • 6.1.3 Evaluation of the strategic-organisational positioning
  • 6.2 The integrated landscape project
  • 6.2.1 Definition of the project “Masterplan”
  • 6.2.2 Identification of the governance model
  • 6.3 Potential applications
  • 7. A First Application
  • 7.1 The plan as an instrument for the regulation of the relationships between territory, population and economic activities
  • 7.2 Planning in Italy9
  • 7.3 Landscape planning in Sardinia14
  • 7.4 Integrated landscape programs established by the 2006 Regional Landscape Plan of  Sardinia Region
  • 7.5 A shared methodology for programs dedicated to cultural heritage and landscape in Sardinia
  • 7.6 The proposed methodology: potentials, limits and future perspectives in research
  • Bibliography
  • Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education

Alessia Usai

The Creative City

Cultural policies and urban regeneration between conservation and development

About the author

Alessia Usai holds a PhD in Technology for the Preservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage and is a Researcher Fellow at the Department of Civil, Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari (IT). Her research is related to cultural heritage, landscape and urban planning.

About the book

ENCATC IS THE LEADING EUROPEAN NETWORK ON CULTURAL MANAGEMENT AND POLICY. It is a membership NGO gathering over 100 higher education institutions and cultural organisations in over 40 countries. ENCATC was created in 1992 to encourage the exchange of knowledge, methodologies, experiences, comparative research and regular assessment of the sector’s training needs in the broad fi eld of cultural management from a European point of view through a wide range of working groups, projects, activities and events. ENCATC holds the status of an NGO in offi cial partnership with UNESCO, of observer to the Steering Committee for Culture of the Council of Europe, and is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

This book focuses on the relationships between the creative city principles and the planning Alessia Usai approach introduced by the European Landscape Convention in order to identify best practices for the development of innovative cultural policies and new urban regeneration tools.

The research is characterized by a cross-cutting approach to cultural heritage. It proposes a new model for the design of advanced cultural districts consisting of a benchmark methodology and a “toolbox” of spatial, economic and social indicators that can be used to build the necessary knowledge. Finally, having Sardinia Region (IT) as reference, the book offers a picture of programs and plans to which the methodology and the toolbox can be applied, outlining their potential impacts within cultural and spatial planning.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


1. The Concept of Creativity

1.1 A critical review of literature on creativity

1.2 The urban dimension of creativity: different schools, different definitions

1.3 The link with spatial planning

1.4 The link with innovation

1.5 The link with culture, cultural policies and cultural programs

2. Strategies for Creativity

2.1 Creativity and the historical urban landscape read through the international charters and declarations

2.2 UNESCO programming for creativity and culture

2.3 European programming for creativity and culture

2.4 Conclusions

3. Creativity at the Regional and Urban Scale

3.1 The international context

3.2 The European context

3.3 The Italian context: the national dimension

3.3.1 Cultural and creative economy in Italy (1990-2009)

3.3.2 The creative capacity of culture in time of austerity (2010-2014)

3.4 The Italian context: the regional dimension

3.5 Conclusions

4. Regional Planning

4.1 The origins of the advanced cultural district: the industrial district

4.1.1 The classical district: a new economic-commercial approach in industrial organization (1920-1970)←7 | 8→

4.1.2 The growth of the socio-technical dimension within the economic-commercial approach (1970-1990)

4.1.3 Industrial districts in the global market: a socio-cultural approach in industrial organization (1995-2005)

4.1.4 Advanced industrial districts: a cognitive approach in industrial organization and technological innovation (2005-2014)

4.2 From the industrial district to the advanced cultural district: the Italian contribution to the international debate

5. The Advanced Cultural District in Regional Planning

5.1 The existent instruments and their effectiveness

5.1.1 The economic survey: statistical indicators, analysis of the relationships between companies and production chains.

5.1.2 The spatial survey: distribution (mapping) and context analysis

5.1.3 The sociological survey: the appraisal of competencies and resources

5.2 Building an advanced cultural district: methodological and instrumental aspects

5.2.1 The procedure

5.2.2 The feasibility study

5.3 Conclusions

6. Creative Spatial Policies for Cultural Heritage and Landscape

6.1 Assessment of the strategic positioning

6.1.1 Resource analysis

6.1.2 Relational analysis

6.1.3 Evaluation of the strategic-organisational positioning

6.2 The integrated landscape project

6.2.1 Definition of the project “Masterplan”

6.2.2 Identification of the governance model

6.3 Potential applications

7. A First Application

7.1 The plan as an instrument for the regulation of the relationships between territory, population and economic activities←8 | 9→

7.2 Planning in Italy

7.3 Landscape planning in Sardinia

7.4 Integrated landscape programs established by the 2006 Regional Landscape Plan of Sardinia Region

7.5 A shared methodology for programs dedicated to cultural heritage and landscape in Sardinia

7.6 The proposed methodology: potentials, limits and future perspectives in research

Bibliography ←9 | 10→ ←10 | 11→

List of Figures

Figure 1. Theoretical approaches in economic literature on creativity

Figure 2. Cultural heritage chain.

Figure 3. The fields of action of UNESCO: organizations and activities from 2004 to 2014.

Figure 4. MDG-F Portfolio: distribution of resources for activity

Figure 5. Culture in the 2014-2020 European Programming

Figure 6. Contribution of the cultural and creative field to the national economy in the different phases of the cultural chain

Figure 7. The creative district: a theoretical model

Figure 8. The advanced cultural district in Italy: a system of systems

Figure 9. The cluster of laser technologies used for the conservation of the cultural heritage in Florence

Figure 10. The matrix applied to the relational system of the Piceno University Consortium (IT)

Figure 11. Cluster analysis: the feasibility study for an advanced cultural district in the Province of Ascoli Piceno (IT)

Figure 12. Cluster analysis: “Reggio Emilia Città Creativa” project

Figure 13. Spatial distribution of creative companies with respect to the population density in Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Figure 14. Spatial distribution of creative companies in relationship to the year of construction of the building, with creative hotspots (black circles)

Figure 15. Design factors: the Urban Network Analysis

Figure 16. Procedural steps for the construction of advanced cultural districts starting from an integrated landscape project (masterplan)

Figure 17. The SWOT matrix

Figure 18. Strategic-organisational positioning matrix

Figure 19. Valorisation of cultural heritage in Italy: management forms according to the national laws←11 | 12→

Figure 20. The sources of communication for the construction of an advanced cultural district

Figure 21. The strategies adopted by place branding organisations for the construction of an advanced cultural district←12 | 13→

List of Tables

Table 1. Economic theories and evaluation of the performance in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)

Table 2. Key concepts in the systemic approach

Table 3. Features of cultural policies and cultural planning

Table 4. Criteria for evaluation of the integrity of the asset

Table 5. Thematic priorities in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020

Table 6. Legislative interventions concerning the public assets of historical-cultural value

Table 7. The cultural and creative field in the KEA report (2006)

Table 8. Distribution of the interviews in the different phases of the cultural heritage chain

Table 9. The cultural and creative sector in the White Paper

Table 10. Strategic options for the development of the economies of scale and agglomeration in Italy

Table 11. The relationships between enterprises in the industrial district

Table 12. The new forms of district

Table 13. Industrial and cultural district compared

Table 14. Classification of cultural districts: economic-institutional features

Table 15. The components of the advanced cultural district: economic-institutional characteristics

Table 16. The three dimensions of creative spatial policies according to the eco-systemic approach

Table 17. International statistic frameworks

Table 18. Italian statistic frameworks

Table 19. Interdependence matrix

Table 20. Context factors: classification and definition in the Genoa Creative Cities project

Table 21. Management factors: classification and definition in the Genoa Creative Cities project

Table 22. Matrix of “internal consistency” for the Creative Cities project in Ljubljana (Slovenia)←13 | 14→

Table 23. Example of an appraisal of competencies and resources for a cultural district

Table 24. Assessment criteria for the reports provided by the technical committee.

Table 25. Assessment system applied to the Cultural Districts in Lombardy and Veneto (IT): the development factors analysed

Table 26. Basic competences required to a network manager operating in the cultural and creative sector

Table 27. Analysis of the inter-organizational relations

Table 28. Logical Framework

Table 29. SWOT matrix for the assessment of the legal forms identified for the management of the future district

Table 30. The tools of negotiated planning to implement the interventions included in an integrated landscape project in Italy

Table 31. Framework for the analysis of the integrated landscape projects

Table 32. Participation tools in the landscape planning of Sardinia Region

Table 33. The Integrated landscape programs awarded and financed by Sardinia Region

Table 34. Comparison between the two methodological approaches: application of the framework←14 | 15→


The present work derives from a positive path of research and personal growth which would not have been possible without the guidance of my PhD Supervisor, Professor Anna Maria Colavitti. To her goes my special thanks for supporting me along my PhD Program and along the experience of the 2015 ENCATC Research Award.

I express my gratitude to the European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers (ENCATC), to Annick Schramme – the ENCATC President –, to the Scientific Committee, to the Members of the Jury of the ENCATC Research Award, and to Peter Lang Publishing Company to give international breath to my research and make the publication of this volume possible.

In addition to this, my gratitude goes to Sardinia Region which supported my research with the resources of P.O.R. SARDEGNA F.S.E. 2007-2013 – Objective regional competitiveness and occupation, Line IV - Human Resources, Activity l.3.1 “Funding of PhD courses aimed at the training of highly specialized human resources, in particular for the ICT sectors, nanotechnologies and biotechnologies, energy and sustainable development, agri-food industry and traditional materials.”

A special acknowledgment goes to the professors and researchers of the Department of Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Architecture (DICAAR) and the Academic Board of the PhD Programme in Technologies for the Conservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage of the University of Cagliari (IT), who helped me to improve my thesis in its critical aspects. Furthermore, my gratitude goes to Professor Nicholas Clifton, my mentor during my research experience at the Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Lastly, a special thought to my family for supporting me every day.←15 | 16→ ←16 | 17→

The Concept of Creativity

Spatial Planning, Innovation and Culture

In the last thirty years, several disciplines have tried to define creativity in order to provide a solid foundation to economic theories inspired by this concept. In psychometrics and in cognitive psychology, creativity has been conceived as a set of acts, ideas or products which modify an already existing domain or generate a new one (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988, 1996). This definition introduced two relevant concepts for the economic and entrepreneurial world. Ideas, acts, and products need a circumscribed reference framework, like a market, and within it a social group creating demand and recognizing them as such in order to be created. From this point of view, the ‘creatives’ generally belong to that group of people who are able to recognize innovative ideas present in a certain domain, can make them theirs, and manage to cultivate them with little effort in order to re-sell them at a high price when a client recognizes their potential.

In the analysis of the reference framework different features of creativity (artistic, scientific, economic, and technologic) have been individuated (Amabile, 1983, 1998). At the same time, Torrence, Sternberg, and Lubart (1991) individuated six different elements which affect the creative’s choices. These factors are: personal predisposition (ability of analysis, synthesis, and manual abilities); the degree of knowledge of the domain; personal thought; motivation; personality; operational environment. The latter is particularly important to Sternberg (2006), who considers the context as a necessary and crucial element in the reading of the reasons and the strategies underlying the operational choices of the creatives. In fact, he states that a taxonomy of creativity based only on reference domains cannot be considered sufficient. Nonetheless, it is only in Staber (2011) that the context becomes a distinguishing feature for a new classification of the studies on creativity according to three different surveying approaches.

The first, defined character-based or cognitive, focuses on the individual abilities of the creatives: highly qualified and professionally independent people whose identity is linked to the success of their ideas and, in particular, to the way they are perceived. An idea that was successful in the past is rarely modified. Changes either happen due to mistakes made by other subjects during its reproduction, or because of a choice made by the creator under the influence of other elements (people or ideas). This←17 | 18→ is a representation linked to the romantic idea of geniuses or artists working in solitude, which are far away from the real and current conditions of training and working that contemporary creative talents have (Lai, 2006; Larsson, 2001).

The second approach, called relational, focuses on the immediate relationship built inside a specific environment to acquire information, material resources and to find similarities with others (creative networks). This is based on the assumption that no individual is completely isolated in economic life, and that inspiration derives from interaction and reciprocal support. This approach can lead to a distorted view of the existing economic exchanges, which are naturally characterized by a certain degree of competition. The environment is considered the spatial support of the dynamic relationships of cooperation/competition among the creatives.

Lastly, the systemic approach concentrates on the interdependence between groups of individuals and creative systems (clusters) and their operational system1. One of the advantages of the systemic approach is that it calls attention to the interdependence of the different fields (e.g. physical, social, cultural, technological) and the fact that the boundaries of their related spatial systems are constantly changing.

The relational and the systemic approach strongly emphasize the collective dimension of creativity and therefore seem linked to the concepts of strategy and habitus elaborated by Barth (1981), Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992) in the field of sociology and urban anthropology. Before these authors, social sciences were characterized by the contrast of two schools of thought: determinism, associated to Adam Smith, and structuralism, associated to Emile Durkheim (Elster, 1989). Determinism, also called methodological individualism, motivates every individual action within the social sphere with the attainment of the best economic advantage (instrumental rationality). This is according to the behavior model of the homo oeconomicus.

Structuralism, on the other hand, considers individual actions as the result of the conditioning imposed by the social and cultural structures. Here the word “structure” means both a stable social organization (Levi-Strauss, 1983) and a long-lasting connection or attitude toward a certain environment which time cannot erode and which is repeated for infinite generations. According to the behavioral model of the homo sociologicus (Braudel, 1969).

The resolution of the conflict between freedom and determinism, between human agent and structure, derives from the introduction of the be←18 | 19→havior model of the homo strategicus, according to the research of Pierre Bourdieu and Friedrik Barth. According to it, the individual has an active role, if compared to social and cultural norms, because he makes them his own when these are in favor of him, while he tries to avoid them when they damage him, by adopting a strategic approach. This design includes:

The notion of habitus or “socialized subjectivity” by Bourdieu (1985), which explains how individuals incorporate schemes of action and particular values to adapt their contest or to a new one, schemes dictated by “practical sense” or “sense of play,” rather than economic profit;

the notion of “choice” and “strategy of the players” by Barth (1981), which concentrate on the individuals and their choices, cumulatively capable of modifying the same social structure.

According to Wacquant (1992) and Davis (1994), Bourdieu and Barth’s theories solve the problem of continuous “invention of cultures”, historical culture as well, though the principle that social convention is continuously reinvented during the action, according to processes of individual and social creativity. This is perhaps the reason why sociology and urban anthropology have been the first disciplines which tried to understand and evaluate the input and the output of ‘creative systems’ (institutional centres, creative fields, districts, network, clusters, etc.); analyze the relations between the various components of the system and between systems themselves (local vs. global, physical proximity vs. relational proximity, cooperation vs. competition, etc.) (Cooke and Lazzeretti, 2008; Marshall, 1920; Beltram Niessen, 2007; Santagata, 2006; Scott, 2006).

Recent studies on ecology marked a step forward in research on creativity, moving the attention from its spring, man, to the subject, ideas. According to this new “evolutionistic” approach, a “population” of ideas all equally able to capture human attention – and therefore in continuous competition – coexists within the reference framework, i.e. the market.

The evolution of the idea is determined by the unity of selections (creative systems) which establish criteria of environmental selection (elements of innovation in ideas) and the environmental load (how many ideas can receive attention). Therefore, the population of ideas can grow until it reaches the environmental load or until the criteria of environmental selection do not change, rewarding different ideas. When these events take place, some ideas survive, while the others are forgotten and substituted with new ideas which better suit circumstances (Staber, 2011). It is an open model where all creatives find space both as individuals and as group/system, defining criteria of selection of the ideas, in the first place, and their environmental←19 | 20→ load, in the second place. In any case, the consequences of the action of the creatives on the reference market-ecosystem are deep.

1.1 A critical review of literature on creativity

The different disciplinary interpretations of creativity provide some useful hints to accomplish a critical revision of literature on creative economy. According to the entrepreneurial definition of cognitive psychology it is possible, for instance, to recognize a group of studies characterized by a people-based approach, in where “the work follows the people”. Creative workers are here described as highly qualified workers and independent people who chose to settle where the quality of the surrounding environment (soft infrastructure) allow them to best develop their ideas, independently from the presence of big companies in the field where they operate. This is the research branch where the theory of Creative Class and the model of 3Ts were successfully created by Richard Florida (1995, 2002, 2005)2.

Of course, the focus on the better prepared and highly-performing component of productive society opens this approach to some criticism, such as the expansion of the social inequality and segregation3 (Florida and Tinagli, 2004, 2005; Jacobs, 1961; Markusen, 2006; Zukin, 2008, 2010). Another critical aspect is the generality of the postulates on which it is bases, including the concept of creative ‘class,’ which makes the definition of appropriate policies for the cultivation and the attraction of talents in a landscape marked by the absence of long-term policies on a national and regional level (Markusen, 2006; Clifton, 2008).

In opposition to the theory of creative class, other studies support the importance of hard infrastructures and the geographic factor in the life choices of the creatives (proximity4, economy of agglomeration).

At root of this relational approach there is the idea that workers keep settling where the market offers better working conditions, where large companies are established or, even better, large industrial areas embody different economies of scale. The studies about creative and cultural industries, cultural institutions, innovation and knowledge centers, and their agglomerations (network, cluster and district) fit in this research branch←20 | 21→ (Marshall, 1920; Becattini, 2004; Santagata, 2006; Scott, 2006; Beltram Niessen, 2007; Cooke and Lazzeretti, 2008).

Similarly to what happened on an epistemological level with the contribution of ecology, the work of John Howkins (2001, 2010) moved the attention from the creative individuals to the environment in which they operate and to the ideas produced within it:

We need to rethink the reality of creativity and the creative economy. We need new coordinates and a new compass. The new coordinates must take account of the environment in which people have ideas in their ordinary (or extraordinary) lives. I call this the “creative ecology”. An effective ecology provides the habitat where an organism can live and flourish. A creative ecology is one where all people have the freedom to pursue their own ideas and where markets allow them to exchange ideas. Its main characteristics are soft infrastructure, social networks and social markets. We are developing parameters to measure this ecology (Howkins, 2010).

A new phase is foreseen for the research. Creativity is taking a comprehensive dimension which looks at society, economy and territory as a whole, without addressing only a cultural and creative ‘class,’ ‘industry,’ or a ‘neighborhood/district’ (Staber, 2011) (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Theoretical approaches in economic literature on creativity


Source: elaboration of the author on Staber (2011)←21 | 22→

1.2 The urban dimension of creativity: different schools, different definitions

The application of the aforementioned theoretical approaches to the urban dimension leads to different definitions of creative city5. According to Richard Florida’s theory, a city is creative if it is able to adopt strategies for the cultivation and attraction of the talents through: 1) school and occupational policies that increase the skills of the resident community; 2) policies of cooperation, exchange and immigration which ease the input and settlement of highly qualified workers coming from other contexts (regional or national). On the contrary, in a business-oriented approach, a city is considered creative when it hosts, grows and supports the creative systems of the territory, whether they are made by large industrial companies, public institutions or productive districts. In case of clusters or networks, a creative city has to guarantee its support in the handling of long distance relationships and at the same time provide adequate solutions to the networks or the external groups which decide to move to the city. The most widespread instruments are policies for research and innovation, and for the definition/realization of specific urban spaces accompanied by particular forms of economic promotion (e.g. Pharmaceutics districts, Cities of Science and Research, Centers for heritage conservation, artistic quarters, etc.).

Lastly, Howkins and Staber consider a city as ‘creative’ if it presents a balance between the population of ideas and selection units, whether they are simple (individuals) or complex (relational systems), and if the environmental load is reduced (high quality of life). The authors refer to a city which is able to develop public policies for creativity and strategies for the built environment (Turok, 2007), such as policies of differentiation, urban design interventions, brownfield recovery, neighborhood policies. From this perspective creativity becomes the ability to create the premises necessary for the idealization of new solutions to existing problems, or to create new systems in public planning6 (Chatterton, 2000; Landry, 2000). Landry (2006a), above all, claims a creative city is provided with its own ethos or ‘civic sense’ which is linked to individual and collective experiences and is, therefore, able to make the city inclusive (socially sustainable), competitive (“do something well and do it better than the others”) and intelligent←22 | 23→ (learning from its own mistakes). The creative ethos of a city is revealed through the political and institutional framework (professionalism and efficiency), local identity (distinctive, diversity, local buzz, expressiveness, resilience), social environment (opening, credibility, accessibility, and participation), the local productive system (entrepreneurship, research, and innovation), ruling class (strategic leadership, flexibility, immigration), training (talent development, learning systems), communication (connectivity and networking), quality of places (perceived and realized) and quality of life (livability, wealth of the population) (Bathelt et al., 2004).

1.3 The link with spatial planning

Within the discourse on the creative city, urban planning finds its space with respect to the location choices of the creative systems and in relation to the definition of a urban environment suitable for the creative class. This emerges both in Anglo-Saxon literature and in the Mediterranean one. Where creativity is often associated to urban regeneration and local development7 (Andersson et al., 2011; Bianchini, 1990; Evans, 2001; Grogan and Mercer, 1995; Landry, 2006b).

Nonetheless, in everyday life, the interventions seem to occur in an almost self-referential manner: iconic buildings, mega-campuses, creative neighborhoods, programs linked to the theme of requalification, both generic and external to the planning which, once the planning cycle is finished, degrade or, on the contrary, trigger processes of gentrification which damage the community of residents (Evans, 2001; Turok, 2007).

The reason is to be found in the recent change of economic paradigms with the affirmation of a new public management and with a shift of competences from governments to partially private institutions8 (Sager, 2011). The consequences for urban and regional planning have not been fully analyzed, but the recent economic crisis and the cuts to government spending proved how neo-liberal planning are path-dependent and context-specific (Peck et al., 2009). Creative spatial policies do not escape this logic, especially those linked to cultural heritage, where the presence or absence of a strong public-control tradition is fundamental for the development of a culture-centered vision of creativity (Andres and Chapain, 2012; Tabellini, 2005). Limiting the discourse to neo-liberal planning, creative spatial←23 | 24→ practices are closely related with economic and local development and, on this basis, they can be classified in (Sager, 2011):

1. Territorial Marketing: the creation of territorial brands according to three groups of potential buyers (residents, companies, tourists).

2. Urban development by appealing to the creative class: it implies the creation of spaces for the consumption of goods and cultural activities, spare time, and residence, such as amusement and entertainment centers, artistic neighborhoods, gated communities, but also big events and nightlife.

3. Economic Incentives: they include investments of large companies o important financial transactions, (single brand) private business districts, urban free zones, recovery of disused areas, private managing of public space in urban commercial areas.

4. Competitive offer: the idea is to create half-private markets in public services pushing local organizations to compete in the allocation of resources and to improve the quality of organizational management. In this case, partnerships are an important condition.

From an institutional point of view, a difficulty emerges in governing and harmonizing the two souls of the new neoliberal planning, the business-climate one and the people-climate, within the relinquished processes the new public management implied (Clifton, 2011). In territorial marketing, for instance, the dichotomy between the image built for internal targets (residential, local businesses) and the one built for external targets (tourists, foreign investors – among which are the creative systems and creative class) questions place branding as a mere selling of the ‘territory’9. This leads back to Pratt’s critique (2008) to Richard Florida concerning a consumerist, market-driven vision of creativity, which culminates in the production of iconic buildings. The complete opposite of the Anglo-Saxon model of Charles Landry and of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) who analyzed creativity in terms of process and production to amplify its political effect (creative ethos) and economical effect←24 | 25→ (cultural and creative industries)10. Landry himself (2006b) recognizes how the two approaches are independent for chronological and circumstantial reasons. In fact he traces the debate on the creative city back to the early 1980s, associating it to the effort of the British, American, and Australian artistic community to show the contribution that art has provided to the economies of the urbs (‘planning for the arts’). In the following years, the author claims, the regenerative power of arts has been extended to social policies. Cultural resources and cultural planning, as defined by Franco Bianchini (1990) and Colin Mercer (1996), became the tools to improve equity and social potential in terms of imaginative power and problem-solving of the civitas. Vice versa the social creativity became the way to enhance cultural resources. When applied to the strongest fields of cultural production (cinema, publishing, computer science, etc.), creativity moved the research from fine arts to cultural industries, defined as “creative” industries by DCMS in 1997. Since 2000, Landry states, the theme of creative industries arrived in the European scene, according to theoretical models proposed by Anglo-Saxon literature. In this phase Richard Florida developed his theory. He concentrates in the role of individual talents (creative class), innovation of productive and territorial systems (cities, regions, states). Yet, he completely neglected the connection between art and urban regeneration of the previous discourse.

To quote Landry (2006b):

The USA which had been so influential in getting the idea of the economic impact of the arts off the agenda had been very slow in seeing the link between the creative industries and the creative city. At the time writing his book [Richard Florida] had not been aware of the creative city debate.

What follows is that as charming and intuitive as it is, Florida’s theory alone cannot define the components and features of the creative city, which help the creation of a model for the planning of spatial policies integrated in the process of planning. For this reason, in the European and Mediterranean landscape policymakers, researchers and planners are working for an ecosystemic vision where the creative city by Charles Landry, the creative industries by the DCMS and the Creative class by Richard Florida are assessed and planned together through integrated statistic, economic and spatial tools11.←25 | 26→

Among the most important analytic models developed according to this vision, it is important to remember the model elaborated by INTELI (2011) and Miguel Rivas (2011) within the URBACT project Creative clusters in low density urban areas, which introduced the concept of ‘local creative ecosystem’:

An environment of excellence based on creative assets that generates socio-economic growth and development, and comprises three interlinked components: economy – creative industries, place – creative spaces, and people – creative talents (INTELI, 2011).

The model developed by Maurizio Carta (2007), which re-elaborates Florida’s theory, is also significant, since it adds to Technology, Talent, and Tolerance, the T of Territory12. At the same time, Richard Florida was involved in the Creative Cities Leadership Project – CCLP13 (2006-2008) and the Knight Creative Communities Initiative – KCCI14 (2007-2008), via the Creative Class Group, reaching a similar result. He created a new 4T model where the third T means territorial assets15, which is considered the means to involve the residents in the construction of creative communities. The creative districts elaborated on these bases depend on free mutual relations and they present the following basic features: spatial proximity, clustering, and other forms of closeness between creative and cultural industries (Boschma, 2005), the availability of common spaces of productions and forms of mixed residence (residence/job) for creative talents (creative neighborhoods) (Montgomery, 2003; Lai, 2006).

Keeping into account the aforementioned classification, an ecosystem-based approach allows to circumscribe the object of creative spatial policies to the cultural resources classified by Bianchini in the early 1990s16.

They include:

1. Historical, artistic, archaeological, and anthropologic heritage;

2. Physical environment, including the architectural heritage, cultural landscapes and historic urban landscapes, topography of the territory;

3. Quality of public spaces;←26 | 27→

4. Diversity in the spaces and facilities for leisure activities, entertainment and culture;

5. Visual arts, entertainment and cultural industries;

6. Local events promoted by charities and associations (such as carnivals, fairs, festivals, etc.);

7. Hobbies of the residents;

8. Culture of young people, ethnic minorities and other communities of interest present on the field;

9. The internal and external image of the territory, which is expressed through its various cultural representations (songs, myths, tourist guides, press reportages, radio and TV, internet, etc.);

10. The repertoire of products and local productive skills in manufacture, industry, and services.

The list helps to define the content of the creative spatial policies which often coincides with local cultural planning, meant as:

Planning is the organizational foundation from which all other functions flow. As such it is much too important to be left in the hands of planners as we know them.

Planners make spaces: people and communities in their daily activities make places come what may, and often at variance with the planners’ original intentions. This is not a populist line: you still need the planners but, most importantly, you need to be able to broaden their agenda, to give them an ethical corrective in their designs and plans; an ethical corrective based on consultation and research rather than on the drawing board aesthetics of the utopian space and the masterplan (Mercer, 1996).

This image coincides only partially with the one adopted by Landry in the constitution of his creative city index17 and it confirms that the ecosystem-based approach is now acquiring its own disciplinary autonomy.←27 | 28→

1.4 The link with innovation18

Cultural and creative industries (CCI) produce goods and services on a global scale. The performance of their production processes are analyzed according to the economic theories on technological organization19 - even though CCIs present some peculiarities compare to traditional industrial organization (see Table 1).

Table 1. Economic theories and evaluation of the performance in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)

Theoretic approach

Evaluation models for cultural and creative industries


Analysis of the production chain


Analysis of inter-industrial relationships (input/output)


Analysis of location according to Porter’s cluster


Analysis of the environment

Source: elaboration of the author

Firstly, the neoclassical theory focuses on the analysis of the allocation of scarce resources to maximize their profit, once the method of production has been evaluated. A fundamental feature of this model is the connection between production and distribution. Here the basic principle is to increase the offer of productive factors in order to obtain an income and to promote growth. Innovation is strictly linked to the tangible aspects of production (tools, means, procedures) while the growth of the social capital is considered an external factor. The only elements which impact the growth are workforce and initial capital (Giordani and Zamparelli, 2007).

In the 1970s and in the 1980s the evolutionary theory re-elaborates the concept of growth linking it to the technological change. Joseph Schumpeter (1939), pioneer of the studies on innovation, defines technological change as the set of organizational, behavior-related and relational changes enact by←28 | 29→ the players of a system. The process of innovation is described through the rigorous sequence of three phases20 (Schumpeter, 1939):

1. invention: the production of new knowledge;

2. innovation: the application of the existing knowledge in the productive field;

3. diffusion: the diffuse usage of new technologies;

While innovation is mainly influenced by the location factor (and more generally by proximity), invention and diffusion are influenced by contextual mechanisms, meaning by the spatial changes produced by formal and informal social networks on a local level (Boschma, 2005; Iammarino, 2004). The concept of innovation is therefore extended from the research of new productive processes and/or products (technical innovation) to new organizational forms, which are able to open new markets (technological innovation).

During the 1990s, the systemic theory21 expands the concepts of innovation to all the phases of the “Schumpeterian Trilogy”. Starting from the idea that particular innovative activities can be both cause and effect, consequence and prerequisite of a technological change, the systemic theory concentrates on collective and interactive learning. The aim is to market new knowledge instead of products, production systems and organizational models (‘experiential economy’). In the systemic model the phases of invention, innovation and diffusion are linked by a two-way relation and the key concepts are knowledge, learning22, interaction, network (Table 2). Therefore, the innovative system becomes a set of elements and relationships interacting during the production, diffusion and use of some knowledge, new and profitable23.←29 | 30→

Table 2. Key concepts in the systemic approach



Skills and abilities embedded in the routines and conventions of innovative firms and support organizations.

Old and discarded or forgotten skills and abilities connected to traditional industrial productions

Collective process shaped by the existing structure of production, by organizations and by institutions



Regular means of formal and informal shared communication between relevant network organizations and their members aimed at learning, critiquing and creating projects and ideas.

An interconnected group or system put together to pursue common interests (in relation to an innovative project, product or process).

Source: elaboration of the author on Cooke (2001), Cooke e Memedovic (2003)

From the second half of 2000s, the systemic model evolves towards an integrated approach thanks to the studies on innovative regional systems. The new approach emphasizes the mechanisms acting supra and infra the innovation process, such as routine, technological trajectories, environmental selection, diversity and path-dependency. The requirement for technological change are institutional learning and interdependence between the structural components and the players of the innovation system. They should be considered a dynamic feedback mechanism: environmental features influence the players and vice versa the players influence the environment (Belussi, 2011; Iammarino, 2004). The analogy with Howkins’ creative ecology is self-evident. In this theory the carrying ability of the environment constitutes a limit for the population of ideas on which the units of selection (individuals and creative systems) can act and at the same time the units of selection establish environmental criteria (elements of innovation) for which only some ideas survive.

The real connection between innovation and creativity, nonetheless, lies in the systemic definition of innovation of the new-Schumpeterian school. In short, it concerns the production of new knowledge through a process of collective learning linked to the construction/use of new technologies in the production (learning by doing, by using) or to the interaction with normal production activity, with other innovative systems or with the final customers (learning by interacting). Considering the definition by Csikszentmihalyi and setting as reference domain the technological one, innovation and creativity are both referred to a set of acts, ideas or products, which change an already existing domain, or generate a new one. Furthermore, creativity, as well as invention, presents an integrated and complex dimen←30 | 31→sion linked to the knowledge elaborated and incorporated by cultural or aesthetic reference frameworks (values, symbols, handcrafted objects, and beliefs)24. For this reason, innovation and creativity are often considered synonyms. On the contrary, they actually present quite a strong difference in the purpose of their two processes: while creativity produces ideas which can also have a not immediate or utilitarian practical outcome, the invention in innovation process necessarily requires useful ideas for the economy of the production (Belussi, 2011, p. 7).

It derives that:

the application of an innovation does not necessarily lead to a new product, since it can concern ‘technical’ aspects of production or organization;

creativity represents the first step towards innovation because it provides ideas to the phase of invention. The opposite is not valid, since innovation means neither new products nor use of creativity or creative talents in production.

According to these considerations, it is possible to update Csikszentmihalyi (1996, 1998) defining:

creativity as the set of acts, ideas or products which originates a new domain;

innovation as the set of acts, ideas or products which introduces elements of novelty in a domain, in a production process or phase (Scott, 2010, p. 119).

The difference between creativity and innovation can be verified through the organizational forms and products of the cultural and creative industries which are more volatile, flexible and ‘experiential’ compare to the traditional ones:

Creative products, thus, differ in their survival chances, depending on their market value but also in response to social and cultural conventions, such as those contained in fads and fashions. Related to the organizational approach, […] Creativity is enacted differently in various settings.

The project-based organization or the spontaneous networks built by artists represent the central organizational form in the artistic area; collaborative research networks are the locus of the inventive activity in science; and teamwork, and communities of practices, characterize the setting of firms in manufacturing industries (Belussi, 2011, p. 26).←31 | 32→

Likewise to what we observed for creative spatial policies, the city represents a promising habitat for the processes of innovation, since it facilitates the monetization of potentially pre-existing agglomeration economies for economic operators (Casoni, 2011; Lai, 2006).

Within literature on innovation it is possible to individuate two general models of city: the hub and the relational network. The first one is founded on the advantages of urbanization economies: the possibility of personal contacts, availability of complementary goods and advanced services, dynamic coordination of economic players. On the contrary, the second one is founded on non-economic relationships which, thanks to spatial proximity, produce an exchange of information and knowledge, whether implicit or explicit. Implicit knowledge, in particular, concerns “everything that is accumulated in people’s heads when they become expert in solving certain problems”25 (Casoni, 2011). This highlights the importance of “face to face” relationships and of the “spirit of giving” in the technological process, establishing a further connection with the theories on creativity, according to which only the city with an appealing social environment can attract global fluxes26. This is in reference to the processes of creolization which are taking place in the American and European capital cities. These phenomena have now left the outskirts of the cities and are now extending to the metropolitan regions, the “urban constellations” and to the networks of medium-small cities (Castells, 2001; Lai, 2006).

1.5 The link with culture, cultural policies and cultural programs

In order to understand the connection between culture and creativity it is necessary to start from the concept of ‘culture’, its evolution in the last fifty years and its engagement in cultural policies and cultural planning (see Table 3).

Cultural policies are part the public policies of national States, which put them in practice through their Ministries/Departments or through local administrations/public organizations.←32 | 33→

Table 3. Features of cultural policies and cultural planning

Cultural Policies

Cultural Planning


Based on discipline.

A fragmented perspective driven by disciplinary “compartments” (theatre, dance, museums, etc.).

Based on place.

A multidisciplinary perspective (better “understanding” of the origins and customs of the place).

Concept of Culture

Based on art.

Fine arts and products of cultural industry of the place.

Based on Cultural resources.

Cultural and natural assets of the place (the same usually considered in the studies on the local “heritage”).

Logic of local intervention

Business-oriented attitude.

“Art for art’s sake”

Strategic logic.

Emphasis on contributions to urban development

Decision-making process

Traditional role of the public administration: provider of funds and tools.

New role perspectives, more focused on the function of intermediation, which improve the social action of the players interested in the cultural dimension (on any level)

Fonte: Porello (2006)

Cultural policies developed during the 18th and 19th century in Europe, along with the birth of National States. They had an educational purpose connected to the National identity (preservation of cultural heritage as collective memory, strengthening of the feeling of citizenship). Their approach was culture-driven and based on the preservation and valorization of the historical-artistic heritage, even with new forms of organization27. They had a political connotation that in Anglo-Saxon and Italian literature is often associated to the social ideology of the historical left (“culture for everyone”, “art for art’s sake”)28.

On the other hand, cultural planning is shaped as a strategy that is able to reconcile different elements of local cultures within one field of action, which aims at local development according to a holistic and shared approach. It essentially deals with the creation of the management system and the regulations for the cultural assets within the framework of local←33 | 34→ resources to produce positive economic and socio-spatial returns, beyond the planning.

Cultural planning born at the end of the 20th century in the United States, Australia, and Canada with the purpose of reaching cultural communitarian development. It was characterized by an economy-driven approach based on the valorization of cultural capital. It was associated to the liberal ideology (Bianchini, 2001; Landry, 2006a; Lazzeretti, 2012; Porrello, 2006; Stevenson, 2014).

Under some aspects, cultural planning represents an expansive evolution of the planning for the arts (Byrne, 2012; Grandi, 2010; Porello, 2006; Stevenson, 2014).

After the World War II and until the 1970s, the cultural landscape was characterized by the re-launch of “high” culture through public investments in infrastructures29 (reconstruction or construction of museums, theatres, concert halls, etc.) and people (theatre companies, orchestras, cultural and educational organizations). The purpose was to complete the welfare-state with an adequate cultural offer and, in the most advanced countries, to widen its demand.

In the 1970s and in the first half of the 1980s cultural policies were influenced by the cultural revolution of 1968 moving the attention to “popular culture” - in antithesis to “high” or “status” culture. Spending for temporary events (exhibitions, concerts, etc.) increased and the cultural life was de-centered to the urban suburbs or in minor centers to interrupt the sovereignty of the cities.

In the second half of the 1980s and during the 1990s, urban policies experienced a crisis. The cuts to public budgets, the rise of new-liberalism and of the New Public Management were against the direct intervention of the State in the economy. In the field of culture, public operators tried to involve private subjects in the preservation of cultural heritage (but soon investments shifted toward valorization), in the diversification of cultural offer (business-oriented logic). In both cases, culture was meant as an instrument to re-launch the urban economy, a ‘resource’ for local development30.

At the end of the 1990s, cultural policies were influenced by the rise of telecommunication and the affirmation of the knowledge-economy. In the celebration of everyday-life as a crucial factor for the cultural produc←34 | 35→tion, the range of cultural resources has been amplified (Bauman, 2005; Usai, 2010). As a consequence, the definition of culture was much wider compared to the traditional anthropological one. It included a creative component consistent with William’s definition (1989, p. 90):

[Culture is] a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development; […] the works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity [as well as] particular way of life.

On these basis sociologists and experts forwarded a correction of the economy-driven approach of the early 1990s according to a wider concept of urban culture, inspired by the principles of diversity and authenticity. Thus, new forms of cultural planning spread. They were linked to the local community but without a disciplinary “compartment” (museums, libraries, theatres, etc.) or without a direct public purpose (preservation of memory, education, learning, etc.).

The creative dimension of this cultural planning was nonetheless source of internal tensions (Stevenson, 2014):

the contrast with public cultural policies for content, scale and community of reference31;

an action range so wide that pushed local governments to question what is art or not expressing aesthetic, social and economic judgments in order to come up with the planning (Goodall, 1995);

the concept of culture as a process, associated to social, political, and economical purposes, which put together social inclusion and education to citizenship (Landry’s civic ethos);

an idea of culture as industry which can, or could, be developed for economic income.

From 2000 until today, cultural policies and cultural planning experienced a further development linked to the change of economic scenario first with respect to the theme of creativity and then with respect to the theme of innovation (Lazzeretti 2012, 2013; Stevenson, 2014). In order to understand this last phase it is necessary to analyze the relation between economy and culture, and to divide it for chronological phases. The first substantial change took place at the end of the 1990s with the shift from preservation to “economic valorization” of artistic and cultural heritage, the development of an economics of culture, and the management of cultural organizations. The main purpose was to place culture among the←35 | 36→ factors of production, contributing to the affirmation of traditional cultural fields (publishing, cultural tourism), and no profit organizations.

Between 2000 and 2005 the debate progressively shifted on the ability of culture to generate and promote local development: culture became a ‘resource’ for the construction of culture-driven models of development, like the cultural districts. At the same time, the new concept of creative class displayed the contribution of creative economy and human capital to local development, leading to the adoption of the first economy-driven models in the field of culture. These models were centered on cultural industries and, in urban contexts, they were linked to Charles Landry’s idea of creative city. From 2006 the studies on innovation have modified the research perspective in favor of a “cultural valorization of economy”. They considers culture as a resource for innovation thanks to its creative absorptive capacity, defined as:

the ability to transform generic creativity into oriented creativity, able to produce ideas and innovations and to transfer them effectively. It depends on the tacit knowledge built in the creative habitat and by the path-dependence of the creative players, whether they are companies or other economic, non-economic, and institutional players, in clusters, cities or regions. Its effectiveness can only be measured in terms of generated innovations, collective or individual, that are only protected by intellectual property rights (Lazzeretti, 2012, p. 16).

From a spatial point of view, this ability can be encountered within the new creative milieu32 and it can be produced through four main paths:

1. Urban regeneration: city branding, urban renewal, iconic projects, culture-driven strategies;

2. Economic renovation of departments, districts, products, chains, and professions;

3. Cross-fertilization within the districts or clusters, among themselves or in time (recovery and re-launch of old districts);

4. Serendipity: casual discovery of uncommon connections among new jobs, diversity of interest, correlation between technologies.

Within these paths, cultural policies and cultural planning appear as an implicit spatial policy, nonetheless able to influence explicit spatial policies as well33. This inversion of roles can be found in Pratt (2008) where spatial←36 | 37→ creative policies are described in relation to culture and not vice versa. He recognizes three models: the consumerist mode, the process-model and the productive model. The first one is mainly based on the marketing of a specific good or cultural event, which already exists or is expressly created34. Richard Florida’s theory is part of this category because it focuses on urban milieu to attract the creative class (the bohemians) within the cities. It leads to strategies of urban regeneration guided by cultural consumerism, in which culture has an instrumental role.

The second model is presented as a correction of the first one proposing art and culture as instruments and practices for the construction of an inclusive and participative city, as opposed to traditional bureaucracy35. The deriving strategies of urban regeneration are connected to cultural planning, since cultural activities find are inserted in a territorial strategy that includes other activities in the environmental, social, and economic fields. Lastly, the productive model is based on creative and cultural industries and on their ability to produce talents and innovative ideas. It is defined by a deep connection with the market and the final user that, in the strategies of urban regeneration, leads to the involvement of art and culture only when they are functional to the realization of a project or one of its phases (Evans, 2005).

To conclude, creative spatial policies, cultural policies, and cultural planning are increasingly close for history and purposes36 (Byrne, 2012), so much that it is possible to imagine their unification within a unique disciplinary field connected to the studies on innovation37. A new fundamental role in this process is played by economic rationality which pervaded all public policies, even though it presents controversial aspects. In the specific case of the relation culture-creativity, for instance, it is worth asking ourselves if creative practices have been introduced in substitution of traditional cultural policies, due to their loss of credibility as symbols←37 | 38→ and expressions of the national states38 or due to their hostility to private interventions. In a scenario dominated by a managerial attitude, the creative city seems to exasperate the economic discourse, inheriting only the colonialist dynamics from the previous cultural policies: neglected conditions, private interests, export of cultural models39 (Byrne, 2012; Pratt, 2008, 2011). The sliding of culture to creativity in policies and in planning could be only a strategy to support and encourage an idea of culture as production (cultural and creative industries). This reminds of the recent past when, in order to support and justify “cultural consumption”, there was a shift from the elite definition of ‘high culture’ to the anthropologic one of ‘lifestyle’. In any case, the re-proposition of policies and programs based only on the offer exposes the creative spatial policies to the risk of a ‘creative infarct’, seemingly to those registered in the field of culture with the consumerist strategies40.

The adoption of an eco-systemic model which involve the external players (tourists, foreign investors) and the internal ones (residents, local businesses) could help in the evaluation of the demand for creative products.←38 | 39→

1 The systemic approach is also adopted in the studies on cultural clusters and regional innovation systems (Asheim and Isaksen, 1997; Cooke and Lazzeretti, 2008).

2 See the statistic reports based on the Global Creative Index, on the European Creative Index and on the Italian Creative Index.

3 In spite of the Global Creativity Index and the European Creativity Index recognizing the cluster of Scandinavian Countries as a sustainable model of creative economy for a long-term development (Florida and Tinagli, 2004; Florida et al., 2011)

4 In this sense, the studies related to the concept of proximity are important. They highlight how the location advantage turns into a limit for a creative system if the relationships between its components become too narrow or, on the contrary, to weak (Boschma, 2005).

5 The research is focused on metropolitan cities and network of small-medium cities. However, it can be extended to a whole geographic region if this latter has unique complex urban system made of big urban agglomerations and networks of cities joint together.

6 This research path is theoretically and empirically autonomous, making it completely separated. It finds its roots in the work of Michel De Certeau (1990) and Hannerz (1992) and in a historical perspective in Hall (2000) (Beltram Niessen, 2007).

7 In the Italian context, see Carta (2009) for the studies on the Creative Class (in which the T of territory is added to the canonical 3Ts by Florida), Camagni (2008) for the concept of territorial capital and Casavola and Trigilia (2010) for new models to assess local development.

8 In British literature, these entities are defined as Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization, in short quangos. They are organizations financed from tax payers but which are not directly controlled by the central government (Wettenhall, 1981).

9 For this reason place marketing is now focusing on the process of competitive identity building, i.e. the creation by institutional organizations of the field (e.g. Local Touristic Systems) of a credible reputation for a determinate place through: (1) a strategy for promotion and marketing which puts together the needs and the expectations of the actors involved (institutional, economic, social) and guides them toward their goals, clear and realistic at the same time; (2) acts and interventions which give substance to the prepared strategy, making it independent from political and institutional changes; (3) the repetition of highly expressive symbolic acts which ease the affirmation of the new reputation and imagine of the place, preventing the strategy to remain anonymous (Anholt, 2011).

10 However, Andy Pratt recognizes the limits within the cultural and creative industry. In particular, he underlies how Porter’s cluster is not efficient in the esteem of cultural and creative production coming from multinational businesses, which prevails over PMI and Creative Artists (C-Art) (Pratt, 2004). He forwards the Actor Network Theory (ANT) and the creative value chain as possible solutions (Pratt, 2000; Pratt and Taylor, 2006).

11 The recent studies on cultural-cognitive capitalism by Allen J. Scott (2012, 2014) are moving this way, as well as O’Connor and Shaw’s studies on social and civil value of the creative city (2014).

12 Territory was added as a catalyst and was declined in the following factors (the “three Cs”): Culture, Competition, Cooperation (Colavitti, 2013).

13 The project involves the communities of El Paso, Texas and Tacoma, Washington (Stern and Seifert, 2008; Voelpel, 2007).

14 The project involves the communities of Charlotte, North Carolina and Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin, and Tallahassee, Florida (Stern and Seifert, 2008).

15 See: http://www.creativeclass.com/services/creative_communities

16 According to a “anthropological” idea of culture on which it will come back later.

17 The method adopted by Charles Landry in the construction of his evaluation model is based on the following domains (www.charleslandry.com): (1) Political and institutional framework; (2) Distinctiveness, diversity, liveliness, and expressiveness; (3) Opening, reputation-credibility, acceptability, participation; (4) Entrepreneurship, exploration, and innovation; (5) Strategic leadership, agility, and vision; (6) Development of the talent and of the educational system; (7) Communication, connectivity, and networking; (8) Urban quality and urban design; (9) Livability and wellness; (10) Professionalism and efficiency.

18 The paragraph has been written at the end of a period of research and study at the Metropolitan University of Cardiff in 2013 under the scientific responsibility of Prof. Nicholas Clifton. This experience represented an important occasion of the investigation on analytic models applied to the analysis and evaluation of cultural and creative industries in the United Kingdom, in relation to regional planning, innovative systems and touristic and territorial marketing.

19 See United Nations (2011), pp. 77-82.

20 The so-called “Schumpeterian Trilogy,” described in Robertson (1967) and Mahdjoubi (1997) and criticized for the rigidity of its waterfall or trickle-down model (Cooke, P. and Memedovic, 2003).

21 Drawn up by the neo-Schumpeterian school founded by Lundvall (1992) and Freeman (1987).

22 There are several forms of learning: by doing, by using, by interacting. In the systemic approach, the first two concern the innovation while the last one concerns distribution (Cooke, P. and Memedovic, 2003).

23 Belussi and Staber (2011) remind us that inventions become innovations only if they have a practical and economic outcome. They propose the outstanding case of Leonardo da Vinci for whom, in fact, only some inventions became reality.

24 The systemic features of creative ecology are: (1) the context, for the evolution of the communities of players; (2) the tendency to gather and geographical proximity; (3) the transitory nature of cultural production (Staber, 2011).

25 In the original text: “tutto quello che realmente si accumula nella testa delle persone quando diventano esperte nel risolvere determinati problemi” (Casoni, 2011).

26 Hall (1998) individuates a connection between creative processes and the following urban elements: remarkable demographic dimensions, considerable wealth, and ability of attracting creative talents.

27 This is the case of the Italian cultural districts.

28 This is one of the reasons for which the saying ‘cultural industry’ has been substituted by ‘creative industry’ in the documents of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in England.

29 The localization of the infrastructures has always privileged the city and, above all, the cities and the city centers of great historical and artistic tradition.

30 Aimed at the amelioration of the image of the city, the qualitative level of the urban environment and, consequentially, of the city’s appeal to economic operators of various kinds.

31 Even if public cultural policies are still linked to the artistic and aesthetic dimension (‘planning for the arts’), to the community and to the national scale, especially in central and southern Europe, where culture-driven models persist.

32 The key elements of the new creative milieu, besides the creative ability of culture are: (1) the creative habitat as a suitable place to attract the creative class; (2) agglomeration creative economies; (3) creative external elements, meaning the cognitive spillover generated by lateral thinking; (4) lateral proximity of informal environments.

33 For the distinction between explicit and implicit cultural policies, see Ahearne (2009).

34 The sponsored goods and events are, in practice, a “unique selling proposition – USP – for the territory or the city of reference. They can exist or be planned and realized with that purpose. In the first set it is possible to count, for instance, traditional events such as the Carnival of Venice or Rio de Janeiro, or the contemporaries architectures of Sydney and Genoa’s harbors. In the second group there are, on the contrary, the cultural districts constructed in the framework of programs of regeneration of the 1990s of urban transformation societies in England, France, and Spain.

35 This model is reconnected to Charles Landry’s idea of creative city.

36 They are both instrumental to the construction of new policies of economic development, they use culture for external purposes (economic and social), they put industrial production and individual talent at the core of production, are concerned by territorial planning and the environment, have a specific urban dimension, are born from strategies of requalification and regeneration.

37 Especially since the cities came to be the center of the international agenda as development propellers.

38 Not surprisingly, the disaffection to cultural values is accompanied by disregard for the democratic participation in public policies and the gradual emergence of regional systems in economic planning, policies for innovation, in the territorial competition.

39 Besides post-colonialist logics and economic rationality, the loss of credibility of ‘public culture’ is also related to a deeply rooted suspicion towards technology and cultural industry, perceived as elitisms, deriving from the idea of ‘high’ culture, inspired by classical arts (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1947).

40 On the theme see Dieter Haselbach, D. and Klein, A. and Knüsel, P. and Opitz, S. (2012). Der Kulturinfarkt: Von Allemzuviel und überall das Gleich: EinePolemiküberKulturpolitik, Kulturstaat, Kultursubvention. München: Knaus

Strategies for Creativity

Policies, Programs, Plans

2.1 Creativity and the historical urban landscape read through the international charters and declarations

International charters and declarations describing the relationship between creativity and historical urban heritage cover a century-long period of time: from the Athens Charter of 1931 to the UNESCO Recommendations for the Historic Urban Landscape of 2011.

These documents are a very important testimony of the progresses accomplished in the disciplinary fields of heritage protection and conservation, archeology, architecture, and urbanism. This is mainly true in the case of the historical urban landscape, which experienced a remarkable evolution in the last twenty years. The ‘monument’ category, which until the 1970s represented the ideal enclosure for the components of the historical architectonical heritage under protection, has shifted towards a much wider label: “landscape”. This was conceived as the result of the territorial transformations produced by nature, human activity and their interaction through time (Council of Europe, 2000; Gambino, 2003; Mautone, 2009; Niglio, 2009; Colavitti, 2009; Settis, 2010; UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2010). Yet, by widening the ‘protection’ of these historical urban landscapes, they are put in danger of being harmed in the long run (Carta, 1999). Quoting Gambino “if you want to protect everything, you will not protect anything”1 (Gambino, 2003). This critique mainly emerges in relation to the need of circumscribing the sectors of the historical city to put under protection according to their landscape value. This is why in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention of 1992, UNESCO forwarded the idea of the institution of two different types of landscapes, then gone over in the guidelines of 2008. The first one is reserved for cultural landscapes, fruit of the interaction between man and nature, as it is described in the European Landscape Convention – ELC (2000). The other one concerns historical towns and town centers.←39 | 40→

Nonetheless, this choice puts UNESCO in an antithetic position in respect to the ELC which has established, once and for all, that landscape, as a good of the community, is to be protected, managed and/or designed independently from its concrete value (Priore, 2005). Between 2002 and 2005, UNESCO proposed to update the principle of the Charter of Venice and the diffusion of a new and extensive approach in order to reduce the conflict. This was to provide an effective application of the ELC, keeping in mind the increase of global urban population (OECD, 2006). The World Heritage Cities Program, launched in 1996, was revised and updated. In 2002 in Urbino the Partnerships for World Heritage Cities. Culture as a Vector for Sustainable Urban Development convention took place. During this event, the first mapping of historical towns and monuments in the urban field was carried out along with the first recommendations for historical towns (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2003b). In order to make the confrontation on cities and cultural landscapes easier, the Memorandum of Vienna was written. The Declaration for the Preservation of Historical Urban Landscape was drafted based on this document, and was adopted in October of the same year and in addition to this, the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) project was launched. It was characterized by the intense involvement of the territory (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2010), thanks to which a first agreement on the definition of Historic Urban Landscape (2008) and on the adoption of the HUL Recommendation (2011) was reached. According to the recommendation the architectural heritage of the city was brought together and the “historical urban landscape” was defined as:

The urban area understood as the result of a historic layering of cultural and natural values and attributes, extending beyond the notion of “historic center” or “ensemble” to include the broader urban context and its geographical setting.

This wider context includes notably the site’s topography, geomorphology, hydrology and natural features; its built environment, both historic and contemporary; its infrastructures above and below ground; its open spaces and gardens, its land use patterns and spatial organization; perceptions and visual relationships; as well as all other elements of the urban structure.

It also includes social and cultural practices and values, economic processes and the intangible dimensions of heritage as related to diversity and identity (Unesco, 2011).

This is a broader definition that finally identifies the already existing city as a landscape recognizing its peculiarities. It synthetically expresses the cultural evolution that in the last two centuries involved the attribution of the value to the signs of the past, and that lead to the recognition of←40 | 41→ monuments, then to historical buildings and, at last, to the urban landscape as a whole.

The social and economic role of the historical urban landscape as a premise for creativity was investigated in the 1960s along with the economic theories on the knowledge-based society2 (Andersson et al., 2011; Usai, 2010). In this sense, the European Charter of Architectural Heritage and the relative Declaration of 1975 represent the first international document of reference. The existing city is recognized as a fundamental part of the life of the people and, therefore, as a common good of public interest. By defining the city as a common good, every citizen is recognized the right to have an active role in the decision-making process concerning the preservation of the multilayered historical town. Consequently, the Charter and the Declaration of Amsterdam supported a new and dynamic approach to preservation, where learning, participation, and strategy go together allowing local communities and private players to put their “civic creativity” into practice following a list of rational and shared rules (Landry, 2006a).

The “Recommendation on participation by the people at large in cultural life and their contribution to it”, signed in Nairobi one year later deepened the concrete outcomes in the exercise of “civic creativity” on behalf of the local communities and private subjects confirming that (art. 3):

a) the concept of culture has been expanded to include all forms of creativity and collective or individual expression (lifestyle and artistic production);

b) a free and democratic access to culture for all the people presupposes the existence of suitable economic and social policies;

c) the participation to cultural life presupposes the involvement of different social partners in the definition of sector policies, and in the managing and evaluation of the interventions as well.

According to the Recommendation, this can be achieved through administrational decentralization, territorial animation, communication, support for artistic production and concentration/cooperation on a local level3. The Convention for the protection of the European architectural heritage (Granada, 1985) takes over these concepts, yet it reverses the point of view on←41 | 42→ culture and creativity. In Nairobi’s Recommendation, Culture is described as expression of creativity whereas in Granada’s Convention it is defined, through the architectural heritage, as an “element of identity, inspiration and creativity for present and future generations” (art. 15). The Convention concentrates on education policies focusing on cultural heritage and its link with the architectures, arts, lifestyles and folklore of Europe.

In following years the entrance of emerging countries in the UNESCO World Heritage List moved the debate on the methodologies adopted to identify, preserve and manage the UNESCO’s sites4. In this perspective, the 1994 Nara Charter supported cultural diversity as a valuable part of the UNESCO World Heritage and included the verification of authenticity as a mechanism for the recognition of UNESCO’s properties in order to avoid subjective opinions in assigning value. “Authenticity” is intended as the integrity of the property in various aspects5 (see Table 4). However, the distinctive elements in the recognition of the property still remain those related to the creative process which include: the ideation by the artists, the creation of the artifact and its history. This is according to Cesare Brandi’s theory of restoration (Jokilehto, 1995, 2008).

Table 4. Criteria for evaluation of the integrity of the asset


The place where the historic property was constructed or the place where the historic event occurred (important to understanding why the property was created or why something happened).


The combination of elements that create the form, plan, space, structure, and style of a property.


The physical environment of a historic property, i.e. the character of the place in which the property played its historical role. It involves how, not just where, the property is situated and its relationship to surrounding features and open space.


The physical elements that were combined or deposited during a particular period of time and in a particular pattern or configuration to form a historic property.←42 | 43→


The physical evidence of the crafts of a particular culture or people during any given period in history or prehistory. It is the evidence of artisans’ labor and skill in constructing or altering a building, structure, object, or site.


A property’s expression of the aesthetic or historic sense of a particular period of time.


The direct link between an important historic event or person and a historic property.


ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2016 (November)
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 204 pp.

Biographical notes

Alessia Usai (Author)

Alessia Usai holds a PhD in Technology for the Preservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage and is a Researcher Fellow at the Department of Civil, Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari (IT). Her research is related to cultural heritage, landscape and urban planning.


Title: The Creative City