Qualities of creative places

Creative places are able to overcome many obstacles as resilience is one of their key qualities. They know where they are going and have a vision that in broad terms is agreed by key players. They take measured risks and push boundaries. They acknowledge that a creative place needs many leaders. There may be a few superleaders, but their essential role is to pave the way for others to achieve things and to trade their power for influence.

Creative cities, in my definition, should have an ethical purpose that guides and directs the mass of energies present in most places. These ethical goals might be to both generate wealth and reduce inequalities, to grow economically but to focus on sustainability, or to focus on local distinctiveness. The ethical code is more likely to be based on secular principles which guarantee freedom of enquiry and tolerance and where the state and religion are separated. Fundamentalism does not help develop the imagination because everything has already been imagined.

This implies bending the market to public good objectives. Places can develop creative initiatives without such a framework, but I would not call places like that 'creative cities'. For example, Silicon Valley has intense creativity in a series of narrow engineering-based fields and this has transformed how the world works; however, the physical environment they have created out of Silicon Valley is quite unappealing and soulless, which is why nearby San Francisco is so important as a playground to stimulate the senses.

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