The Creative City Index

 John Hartley (Curtin University) & Jason Potts (RMIT University)

What makes a great city? This is the question that the construction of world city or global city indexes has sought to answer.

The CCI Creative City Index (CCI-CCI) is a new approach to the measurement and ranking of creative global cities. It is constructed over eight principal dimensions, each with multiple distinct elements. Some of these dimensions are familiar from other global city indexes, such as the MORI or GaWC indexes, which account for the size of creative industries, the scale of cultural amenities, or the flows of creative people and global connectedness. In addition to these indicators, the CCI-CCI contributes several new dimensions. These measure the demand side of creative participation, the attention economy, user-created content, and the productivity of socially networked consumers.

Global creative cities can often seem alike, in respect of per-capita measures of factors such as public spending on cultural amenities, or the number of hotels and restaurants. This is to be expected when people and capital are relatively free to move, and where economic and political institutions are broadly comparable. However, we find that different cities can register far larger differences at the level of consumer-co-creation and especially digital creative ‘microproductivity’.

Our new model of a creative city index emphasises consumer co-creation and microproductivity, as well as examining how these factors have been previously overlooked. We show how we have measured these additional factors and indicate the effect they have on creative and global city indexes. We then present the findings from a pilot study of six cities, two Australian, two German and two from the UK, to indicate how the new index is calculated and applied. Our results indicate much greater variance arising from the new arguments between cities. The full report can be found here:

Competitive global cities

A key insight that all city indexes point to, as ours most certainly does, is that creative global cities are increasingly engaged in intense competition with each other in the evolving process of globalization.

Globalization is a centuries-long process that results in the increased interdependence of peoples’ economic, cultural, social and political lives. Globalization progresses as ‘factor mobility’ increases, and accelerates when people, capital, money and ideas are free to move about the world to settle where they are most valued. In the past few decades the world has experienced its greatest wave of globalization. From 2008 a majority of the world’s population – over 3 billion people – now lives in cities, making humanity an urban species for the first time. In completely new ways and at unprecedented scale, human experience is city life, a reality to which current thinking and policy settings have not yet adjusted.

Mobility, urbanisation, and technology have converged on the contemporary city, which, although fixed in place, is best analysed as a dynamic hub in a global network. Cities are now the most important unit of social-cultural and economic organization. It also means that cities compete globally. Nation-states are no longer the key units of global competition; instead, cities compete with one another for valuable scarce factors of production. The most important factor, by far, is ‘human capital’ – enterprising, talented and creative individuals. The focus of modern globalization is creative people; and creative cities are the product of their interactions, driving socio-cultural and economic evolution.

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Font:  Asian Creative Transformations

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