The potential of public space to generate creative cluster success

29 JANUARY 2015

In this essay, researchers N. Clark and H. Stratford focus on the successes of clustering and propose a solution for city restrictions on public space and interaction. Full download is available below the abstract!

This essay investigates the relationship between public space and creative cluster success. It focuses on the successful Old Street media and technology cluster in London where it is proposed that to support the cluster, the local authorities will build Tech City. In order to research the area, a range of inventive and experimental methods are used, including ‘write on this’ posters, a deep ethnographic account and an alternative map with a novel perspective. It is proposed that cluster policy has yet to recognise the full potential of public space to support creative clusters. Not only could public space encourage more social interaction, it could also help cluster workers to transgress the capitalist and city restrictions which are holding back creative clusters.

This essay proposes a new idea of constructing a creative common, a non-capitalist enclave which allows for self-expression and play. In constructing a creative common, this essay contributes to the growing concept of livable cities as it suggests that city and cluster policy share the common goal of re-infusing the city with a ‘human dimension’ (Gehl, 2010 p.6). As a consequence, it advocates that cluster policy should focus more on the ‘life between buildings’ (Gehl, 2010 p.25) including how strangers interact and neo-tribes. There is also attention paid towards the smaller infrastructure which influence much of our everyday behaviour. It concludes that the Old Street Cluster would be better off constructing a creative common than building Tech City.

Please find the full essay down below:

Building the Creative Common… the potential of public space to generate creative cluster success (pdf)