Can creative cities be inclusive too? How do Dubai, Amsterdam and Toronto navigate the tensions between creativity and inclusiveness in their adoption of city brands and policy initiatives?

Abdulrhman Alsayel*, Martin de Jong, Jan Fransen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Creative cities tend to generate higher levels of innovation and economic growth as well as be vibrant places to live. Many cities in the world have adopted the creative city label to realise these benefits. It is not certain, and in fact disputed by authors such as Richard Florida (2017), that creative cities will also show high levels of inclusion. Inclusiveness is a multi-dimensional concept that needs to be unbundled before its connection with creativity is firmly established. Various tensions can arise when cities decide to adopt both creative city and inclusive city branding and urban policy initiatives. This paper studies these tensions in formulating responses to two main questions: A) How can the concepts ‘creative city’ and ‘inclusive city’ be operationalised, measured, and related to each other? and B) How do cities that adopt these two city labels implement them in their city branding and policy initiatives? What can we say about the internal consistency of these brands and policies? We have chosen Dubai, Amsterdam, and Toronto as case studies since all three enjoy good reputations in both creativity and inclusion in their respective continents and contexts. Our study indicates that cities promise more than they deliver, that creativity matches some aspects of inclusion, but contradicts others. Moreover, in case of tension, creativity always prevails over inclusion, whereby economic interests come first, and only aspects of inclusion that add to or are at least not in conflict with creativity tend to be honoured. Finally, in each of the three cities, the ‘couleur locale’ can clearly be observed in terms of the aspects of inclusion that are emphasised, and which tend to be disregarded.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103786
JournalCities
Volume128
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded primarily by Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (formerly known as the University of Dammam) under [grant number 95483] and supported secondary by the Erasmus Initiative for the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity and Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors

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