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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17834

Title: The Creative Advantage of Diverse City-regions: Local Context and Social Networks
Authors: Spencer, Gregory Martin
Advisor: Gertler, Meric S.
Department: Geography
Keywords: Economic Geography
Issue Date: 28-Sep-2009
Abstract: Local diversity is often credited with being a driver of creative economic activity. Comparative research on this topic is often however highly structural in nature and does little to address questions of agency. This work seeks to link the traditional regional science approach to questions of potential advantages of local diversity with a more bottom-up view of the creative process. From a theoretical perspective this involves incorporating the social psychology literature on the creative process as well as concepts from social network analysis with more aggregated spatial notions of creativity and diversity. More specifically, it addresses how different knowledge is connected through social interaction and how this fuels the creation of new ideas and ultimately creative economic activity. A number of empirical innovations are made in order to test these theoretical constructs beginning with an agent-model/simulation which illuminates how social networks form and evolve over space and time. These artificial networks suggest how agents embedded in diverse local contexts have a creative advantage by possessing greater access to a variety of knowledge. Subsequent statistical analysis of large secondary datasets seeks to provide external validity to the agent-model. The first demonstrates a strong relationship between local diversity and the concentration of creative economic activities across 140 Canadian city-regions. A key implication of this finding is that local diversity is more closely associated with certain types of economic activity, rather than overall economic performance. The second statistical analysis uses the Canadian General Social Survey to compare the social network characteristics of individuals. This analysis shows that people engaged in creative industries and occupations tend to have larger, more dynamic, and more diverse sets of social relations than any other category of worker. The dissertation concludes with a model that suggests policy interventions should focus on developing local environments that provide the necessary conditions in which creative activity can thrive, rather than attempting to intervene directly in the creative process itself.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17834
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geography - Doctoral theses

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