Creativity and the quinary domain

Economies are divided into sectors depending on distance from the natural environment. The first extracts resources, the second manufactures finished goods, the third, or tertiary, provides services, often using those produced goods, and the fourth, or quaternary, consists of intellectual activities associated with government, culture, scientific research, education and information technology. Some consider the fifth, or quinary, sector as a branch of the fourth, including the highest levels of decision-making in a society or economy. This sector would include the top executives or strategic officials in such fields as government, science, universities, business, the non-profit world, healthcare, culture and the media. Others disaggregate the service sector, especially business services which are information-oriented, into quaternary activities and refer to activities involving the collection, recoding, arranging, storage, retrieval, exchange and dissemination of information. Quinary activities emphasize the creation, rearrangement and interpretation of new and old ideas and information as well as innovation of methods in the knowing, gathering and interpretation of data. They are thus concerned with the reconceptualization of thinking, concepts, products and services at different levels. This is the strategic realm of the creative city thinking.

Quality of life, competitiveness and creativity Creativity, it is said, thrives on messiness, a touch of disorder or even an element of chaos. The unfinished waiting to be finished. But too much untidiness does not attract all types. Not the lawyers, the bankers, the property developers, most media types or their fami lies. It is these people who in many contexts can drive the urban transformation agenda and create the confidence and positive investment climate. They are not renowned for their creativity and its uncertainties. In fact they probably want nearly the opposite. Messiness is also uncomfortable for many others: ordinary hospital workers, teachers and shopkeepers, to name a few. They want 'live-ability' or 'quality of life', two catchphrases of the moment. That agenda focuses on safety, cleanliness and good transport. Within the new competitiveness paradigm both the creativity and liveability agendas need to be aligned. And they can be. Thinking about unusual crime reduction schemes is an example, as is creating urban hubs that act as havens, like Bryant Park in New York, or coming up with the idea of the mid-level escalators as a form of public transport in Hong Kong. Overall urban competitiveness cannot survive today only on refurbished warehouses with their creative economy types and office parks in idealized green settings. It needs the public spaces in between, the good transport links and a sense of relative safety - only with a slight touch of edginess.

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