Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

A Look beyond Metropolis: Exploring Creative Class in the Canadian Periphery */Une Perspective Au Dela De la Metropole: Une Exploration De la Classe Creative Dans la Peripherie Canadienne

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

A Look beyond Metropolis: Exploring Creative Class in the Canadian Periphery */Une Perspective Au Dela De la Metropole: Une Exploration De la Classe Creative Dans la Peripherie Canadienne

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper presents an exploratory analysis of the creative class in the Canadian periphery. It builds on innovation systems and institutional geography literatures to argue that, because of its transformative role, the creative class in the periphery is a pivotal factor of regional reinvention, no less than in metropolis. The paper advances the two-ring-four-sector approach to define the creative class structure. It extends the creative class metrics to measure four 'sectors' of the creative class: scientists, leaders, entrepreneurs and bohemia. The empirical part of the paper applies the extended creative class metrics at two different scales. The findings for 288 Canadian regions suggest that the geographic distribution of the creative capital is uneven and heavily clustered in major urban centres. However, some frontier regions appear to perform exceptionally well in all rankings. The in-depth analysis of 34 communities in the Canadian North identifies creative clusters in economically, geographically and politically privileged communities that serve as creative 'hot spots'. Thus, contrary to the metropolitan bias, these results indicate that peripheral communities may not be 'hopeless places' fully deprived of the creative class. Creative 'hot spots' beyond metropolis do exist, and could become the centres of regional reinvention, if appropriate policies are introduced in support.

Resume

Cet article presente une analyse exploratoire de la classe creative dans la peripherie canadienne. En se basant sur la litterature portant sur les systemes innovateurs et la geographie institutionnelle, nous proposons que de part son r"le dans la transformation, la classe creative situee dans les regions peripheriques est fondamentale a la reinvention regionale, au meme titre que dans les metropoles. Dans l'article, une approche reposant sur deux cercles et quatre secteurs est proposee pour definir la structure de la classe creative. Elle permet d'elargit la notion de classe creative afin d'en mesurer quatre 'secteurs': les scientifiques, les chefs de fil, les entrepreneurs et les bohemes. La partie empirique de 1' article utilise cette approche a deux echelles differentes. Menee aupres de 288 regions canadiennes, l'analyse suggere que la repartition geographique du capital creatif n'est pas uniforme et qu'elle est fortement concentree dans les centres urbains majeurs. Toutefois, les regions peripheriques ont une tres bonne performance dans toutes les analyses. Une analyse plus approfondie de 34 communautes dans le nord canadien nous permet d'identifier des grappes creatives dans des communautes ayant des positions privilegiees sur les plans economique, geographique et politique, et ces communautes representent des << point chauds >> creatifs. Ainsi, et en contradiction au biais metropolitain, ces resultats indiquent que les communautes peripheriques ne sont pas necessairement des milieux sans espoir et entierement depourvues de la classe creative. Des << points chauds >> creatifs au-dela des metropoles existent, et pourraient devenir des centres de reinvention regionale, du moment que des politiques appropriees sont introduites afin de les appuyer.

Introduction

In the last few years, Richard Florida's creative class thesis (Florida 2002b), inspired the interest and criticism of scholars all across economic geography and regional science. Following Florida's works, a number of studies developed his approach and placed his inquiry in a wider geographical context. It became almost conventional to cite the creative class among major drivers of regional development and to consider it as the key element of regional competitiveness. The ability of regions to attract the creative class through openness and diversity is widely perceived as a condition, underpinning innovative development and knowledge-based economic growth (Florida 2002a, 2002b; Florida and Gates 2001). …

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