Cultural and creative industries as motor for urban regeneration and economic vitality
The economic contribution of the cultural and creative sector (CCS) in the European Union in general and to regional development in particular is widely acknowledged. CCS accounts for 3.3% of the EU GDP and generates 6.7 million jobs (3% of total employment), being one of the most dynamic sectors in Europe. Recent data also show that, in a time of crisis, employment in the sector proved to be more resilient that the rest of the economy. In terms of wealth creation, cultural and creative industries (CCIs) grew much faster than other sectors.
Specific features of the CCI at local and regional level
CCI are characterised by a number of unique features that represent specific development challenges and opportunities: first of all, the sector tends to be dominated by small but flexible and dynamic organisations, very much user- and service-oriented. Second, although sub-sectors are quite heterogeneous as for markets, business models or turnover, all sub-sectors are human-capital-intensive. Third, CCIs are particularly innovative: data show that the innovation performance of the CCIs is above average, although often underestimated due to the mostly non-technological nature of these activities. Even though the emergence of a “creative economy” is a global trend, it is at the local and regional level that this creative potential is best witnessed and stimulated: local and regional authorities are in a crucial position to establish creative ecosystems fostering the development of CCIs.
Culture and creativity as catalyst for urban and territorial regeneration
Due to the broad range of impacts that they can generate, CCIs proved to be an important tool to turn the challenges of deindustrialization into a growth opportunity. Many cities and regions across Europe have called on CCIs to regenerate former industrial areas with a view to address both social and economic issues. CCIs have a significant role to play with a view to help cities and regions to re-invent themselves and give abandoned areas new purposes and identity.
CCIs to stimulate economic growth and vitality
Cities are essential to the development of creative ecosystems fostering new economic activities and emerging industries. Whilst innovation has been traditionally led by the industry, cities are increasingly experimenting with new ways to attract creative talents and unleash CCIs’ capacity to innovate. Many cities and regions are developing new tools and facilities to foster the sustainable development and the internationalisation of CCIs. Development strategies focused on CCIs are also instrumental to create positive economic impacts at local level. The promotion of creative entrepreneurship offers an important stimulus to the emergence of new economic activities thus generating new employment opportunities and growth. In addition, the presence of a vital CCIs sector can play an important role in attracting private investments to support culture-related policies.
The contribution of the CCIs to the new economy
CCIs and CCI operators play an increasingly important role in the new economy as they are a key source of creativity and innovation, either in their working methods or in their ability to exploit the capacity of people to think inventively and imaginatively. Being at the crossroads between arts, business and technology, creative industries are in a strategic position to trigger cross-sectorial innovation or the so-called creative spill overs. Cities and regions have taken the lead on promoting creative spill overs as their size is the most appropriate to allow knowledge flows and networking between businesses and entrepreneurs.