In brief - Urban growth driven by amenities and social
The recent Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ)
annual conference shed light on how councils can better serve and
progress their communities. One of the issues examined was the role
of creativity in driving urban growth.
Charles Landry addresses conference on the creative city
A keynote speaker at the LGAQ's annual
conference was Charles Landry, a cultural planning consultant
who developed the concept of the creative city in his 2000 book,
The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators.
According to Landry, the creative city is a place which contains
both the hardware (building, streets and areas) and software
(thinkers, creators and implementers) that can generate innovation
Richard Florida argues that urban growth depends on attracting
In The Rise of the Creative Class published in 2002, author
Richard Florida subsequently called these people the creative class
to distinguish them from the service class, which performs
administrative and clerical roles, and the working class, which
performs what is left of the industrial economy.
Florida argues that urban planning and governance policies
intended to achieve growth should be focused on attracting the
creative class (talent, technology and tolerance) through
high-density development with a funky look and socially free areas,
rather than mega cultural projects such as stadiums and
Does the creative class make a city successful?
While Florida's ideas have been embraced in the United
States by urban planners and developers, they are subject to strong
criticism on the basis that the creative class does not make cities
successful; cities that are successful attract the creative
Amenity and social character contribute to Australian urban
In the Australian context, the Bureau of Infrastructure,
Transport and Regional Economics concluded in its 2014 report,
The evolution of Australian towns, that amenity including
services (housing, health, education and retailing), physical
features (natural landscape and climate) and social character
(demographic, cultural and entertainment facilities) have
contributed to significant shifts in settlement patterns in the
last 20 years.
Creativity develops social character
Florida's prescriptions for urban planning and governance,
therefore, should not be seen as the silver bullet to growth.
Rather, they are a set of tools to develop the social character of
a town, city or region which will improve its amenity and
attractiveness to an increasingly mobile and wealthy
Many retail leases include a covenant to trade, requiring the tenant to open the premises for trade during certain hours.
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