Creative Class Creative City: Real Perspective or Utopia for the Few?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-10-41-51

V. Mart'yanov, Institute of Philosophy and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences (IF&L RAS, Ural Branch), 16, S. Kovalevskoi Str., Ekaterinburg, 620990, Russian Federation (

Acknowledgements. The article is prepared with financial support of the Russian Humanitarian Studies Foundation (project . 16-03-00714 “The Concept of Creative City in the Global and Russian Context: the Potential, Actors and Factors of Realization”). 

Abstract. The world experience explicitly shows that popular concepts of urban development in post-industrial societies coming from the ideology of creativeness are inapplicable not only universally to any urban entity in the world, but also to most of cities in the respective societies. This is due to: a) historical non-simultaneity of mankind’s development, when different societies solve distinctive problems of survival, accelerated modernizations, adaptation to post-industrialism, creative self-actualization, etc.; b) capitalist world system asymmetries that increase the class-based, economical and geographical polarization; c) narrowness of the world post-industrial economy segment and of the post-material values space; d) dependence of cities on networks and peripheries beyond agglomerations, regions, states. As a result, such concepts and proposed drivers of urban development as "urban city" (S. Sassen), "creative city" (Ch. Landry), "creative class" (R. Florida), "creative economy" (J. Howkins), "smart city" (A. Townsend, R. Hollands et al.), "gentrification" (D. Ley), "urban networked communities" (M. Castells), "symbolic positioning" and "cities branding" (by D. Vizgalov, K. Kiselev, M. Nazukina and other) uncover their nature as limited social utopias. Even in places where the level of urban economy capitalization enables to use potential drivers of development suggested by creative theories, their impact is usually in favour of distinct privileged urban minorities. Without any significant multiplicative economic effect, these theories use neoliberal rhetoric which helps to legitimate the decrease of social state, spatial segregation and reinforcement of different inequalities within a city. Thus they deprive urban dwellers of the conventional right to the city. As a result, creative city politics turns out to accumulate tensions and problems, and the creative class shows its accursed part – the precariat – as vulnerable at the labor market and politically dangerous class.

Keywords: creative city, creative class, urban network, gentrification, neoliberalism, post-industrial society, precariat, social utopia, inequality, world economy 


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For citation:
Mart'yanov V. Creative Class Creative City: Real Perspective or Utopia for the Few?. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 10, pp. 41-51.

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