Creative City Index: measuring cities’ abilities and potential

9 APRIL 2013

Creativity in all its forms has become a big influence on the image, reputation and position of a city. But how does a city council know it's doing well? Charles Landry and Jonathan Hyams decided to create an instrument to measure city creativity. The Creative City Index is the result of their research.

Creative City Index bookcoverWith globalization, cities became serious concurrency for each other. They have to present themselves very well to attract tourism and residents. A big factor in positive reputations is culture and the creative sector. This is a very broad concept; what defines a strong creative sector in a city? Charles Landry explains on his website that the Creative City Index can be described as a “strategic tool that provides a rounded framework for abilities and potential, a precondition for downstream innovations and economic and cultural vigour”. It should give cities insight in how they’re doing and more importantly; which cultural areas should be further explored and developed.

Key domains
At the base of the Index lie ten domains which consist of “key traits or questions indicating creativity”. For example, ‘talent development & the learning landscape’, ‘professionalism & effectiveness’ and ‘entrepreneurship, exploration and innovation’ are among the domains. These domains should be representative factors to compare cities, but they are quite widely composed. Other than that, basic information is also of great importance, such as geographic location, statistics and politics or cultural organizations and recreation possibilities.

On these many points a peer group has been questioned. The peer group consists of a large variety of people with different backgrounds. Online and offline questionnaires have been performed, but also group meetings took place, where a group of people from different interests discuss the aspects of the city in question.

Already, twenty cities are involved in the research project, whereof Bilbao, Helsinki, Ghent, Canberra, Perth, Taipei, San Sebastian, Oulu, Cardiff, Freiburg, Seville and Kirovograd (Ukraine). The advantage of as many participating cities, is that a great data set is being built. This helps to find good practice and learn from each other. The problem that returns over and over again, is the lack of co-operation between ánd within sectors. This is something that should be addressed more, obviously.

More information
Read more on the Index on Charles Landrys website, or order his publication on the Index here.