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Creative cities: Tensions within and between social, cultural and economic development. A critical reading of the UK experience

Pratt, A.C. (2010). Creative cities: Tensions within and between social, cultural and economic development. A critical reading of the UK experience. City, Culture and Society, 1(1), pp. 13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ccs.2010.04.001


This article offers a situated and pragmatic analysis of the state of the art of creative cities policy thinking regarding the governance of the relationship between the cultural and creative economy and urbanization. It argues for the need to pay attention to the context, history and regulatory forms of creative cities and be very cautious in our desire to draw wider lessons based upon policy transfer. The paper examines the UK case as illustrative of the organic and fractured nature of policy initiatives: and, advises against a single policy model. There are many instrumental uses to which creative city polices can be put; and critically, there are a number of intrinsic uses as well. This paper, and the literature more generally, supports the view that the balance of attention has been toward instrumental uses of culture and creativity. It is argued that we need to re-balance policy and academic concern to the intrinsic value of the cultural and creative field.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in City, Culture and Society. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in City, Culture and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, March 2010, Pages 13–20,
Publisher Keywords: City; Creative industries; Cultural industries; Creative city; Regeneration; Social inclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
SWORD Depositor:
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