Literature Review on “Creative Clusters: Out of Nowhere?”

Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | Tags: | No Comments »

One of the most impressive points in this article is the emphasis on “catch-up learning” which involves a process of “unlearning” and further exceeding of the codified knowledge with the purpose of achieving generative growth (Keane, 2008:35). Accordingly, unnecessarily duplicating the existing successful models from other cities or carrying out ‘follow-the leader’ strategies could not help to advance the competitive power of creative industries in China. For example, the success of Beijing 798 and Shanghai Binjiang Creative Park, both built based on deserted plants, has led to the phenomenon that a large number of old factories in China have been transformed into creative clusters. A typical instance is Hangzhou where at least eight creative clusters are originally old factories, like Loft 49, A8 Art Community, Tangshang 433, and 177 Creative Park. Even the names of these creative clusters are similar as Beijing 798, entitled by numbers. What’s more, there are more than one hundred old plants have been renewed as creative clusters. Although the retooling of factories as creative industries “has clear effects upon the texture of the urban landscape” (Neilson, 2008: 42), there are still some questions need to be further studied: are these factories suitable to be transformed into creative clusters? Is it the best way to build a creative cluster on the basis of a deserted plant? Is building creative clusters the best way to promote creative industries? Could a satisfying return be got from building this kind of creative clusters? Admittedly, it is necessary for us to learn from other cities’ experience at the very start, but more significantly we should identify our own advantages in the through knowledge accumulation and innovative thinking (Keane, 2008:35) instead of just copying the successful models and neglecting whether it is suitable or not.
Keane, Michael (2008) ‘Creative Clusters: Out of Nowhere?’, Urban China 33: 34-35.
Neilson, Brett (2008) ‘Labour, Migration, Creative Industries, Risk’, Urban China 33: 42-43.

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