- Analysis of the spaces for the creative clusters and networks   click here to open paper content100 kb
by    Dangschat, Jens S. | jens.dangschat@tuwien.ac.at   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Creative clusters and scenes are by far not footloose. To understand them you need a relational space model: mutual trust needs face-to-face-contacts. The paper is part of a consulting for the city of Vienna to create and subsidise creative places.
More and more stories are about the fact that modern and innovative business companies are not rooted to places any longer. These companies – so are the stories – are in fact tightly interwoven in information networks which can be entered from anywhere at any time – you only need access to your server which is boosting you into the information worlds of Yahoo or Google.
With my contribution I will tell a converse story about the creative clusters and creative networks. Contrary to the main stream stories: Never ever the creative net-workers had been more dependent on face-to-face-contacts than now. Face-to-face-contacts are the prerequisite for mutual trust building processes and collective sticky knowledge. The more: creative clusters and networks are needing a place they are sharing.
The wrong thesis of a footloose economy is based – as I will show in the paper – on a misleading, restricted understanding of place/space dominated by physical ‘objective’ facts of the Euclidian world. Following this understanding places as such are empty, “filled in” by physical structures, people and nature (‘container’ model). The existence and particularly their clustering and networking of the creative clusters and creative networks, however, is a social process (from heavy market competition for products, through all sorts of arts and media production to the fun companies which are sharing a couple of events they are celebrating). The key of understanding the new creative formations you need a relational understanding of space – as a network of socialised places.
The relational social space contains four analytically distinct elements on three levels, which in reality has to fit into one unit for its seed-bed function: i) a normative regulation system on the macro-level (like ideologies, laws, regulation systems of state/communities, economy and civil society, urban planning and markets), ii) the physical structure of places (buildings, infrastructure, accessibility, housing and human beings in their physical structures), iii) the symbolisation of places (architecture and style, lifestyles of acting people expressing their value systems – ‘habitus of place’) – both on the meso-level of places/territories and iv) the actions of the people within their multi-fold social figurations based on their interests, resources and constraints.
This concept can be used to explain when, where and why people are meeting and form creative clusters and networks or even scenes. The more these actors are market and business orientated the more they form clusters (offices in one building in former factories and other creative backyards); if the fun component is dominant and people are interested to invent new lifestyles and trends as opinion leaders, the more probably they will form scenes, which are meeting for events, sessions or other spontaneous meetings. Both groups need to be in one city as the latter are the creative pool and the ‘renovators’ of the former, bringing in new creative ideas.
Beside the theoretical and analytical part, I will concentrate on the case study of Vienna and on aspects of “What are the places like, where creative workers are meeting?” “What are its time structures?” to learn more about their start ups. The third part will deal with suggestions for urban stakeholders of business development (how to create a risk financing structure and/or creativity as services of general interest) and urban planning (how to build creative places – or better keeping hands off?).
relational space, mutual trust, places of creativity
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