chapter  8
21 Pages

Urban Policies for the Creative Industries: A European Comparison

ByKülliki Tafel- Viia, Andres Viia, Erik Terk and Silja Lassur

Recognizing that cultural and creative fields are important for the economic vitality of

cities together with the wider socioeconomic changes have forced cities to rethink their

responsibilities and change their policy perspectives. Since the 1980s, the development

of creative industries (CI) can be recognized in local-level policies (Hesmondhalgh &

Pratt, 2005). The approaches to CI and related practices spread over the borders of

(European) cities and countries, which allows us to explain these kinds of developments

as certain type of phenomenon of European economic, social and cultural homogenization

(Delanty & Rumford 2005; Rascaroli & O’Donovan, 2010). Some authors underline that

the broad diffusion of the UK approach to CI (Creative Industries Mapping Document,

1998) has brought homogeneous type of developments into policymaking (Costa et al.,

2008; Prince, 2010) and emphasize the influence of policy transfer mechanisms on CI pol-

icies. Despite these kinds of developments, the conceptualization of CI policies has been

still rather weak until now. Several studies have concentrated on international comparisons

of CI policies (Kovacs et al., 2007; Foord, 2008; Evans, 2009), but the problems in com-

paring and the lack of comparable data in terms of both qualitative parameters (Taylor,

2006; Foord, 2008; Evans, 2009; Chapain & Comunian, 2010) and quantitative parameters

(Allin, 2000; Creigh-Tyte, 2005; KEA, 2006; Baycan-Levent, 2010; Chapain & Comu-

nian, 2010) have been repeatedly recognized. Also the empirical bases used have been

rather narrow. In most of these cases, attempts tend to be limited to indicating a resem-

blance to the UK model (Birch, 2008; Flew & Cunningham, 2010) or the Scandinavian

model (Birch, 2008; Power, 2009). Such generalizations of CI policy practices are insuffi-

cient and of little use to policymakers making grounded policy choices; their weak expla-

nations also contribute little to building CI policy theory. This forces the authors to argue

that there is a shortage of knowledge about the parameters applicable for research exer-

cises that focus on generalizing the CI policy practices of cities. Because of the path-

dependent character of CI policy-links to a particular urban environment and the

peculiarities of the local cultural affairs and cultural initiatives-this raises the question

about whether there can be a limited number of CI policy alternatives used to characterize

CI policies in different (European) cities. This topic enters into the discussions on

Europeanization and policy convergence in the field of CI by raising the question, as to

whether the developments towards a single model of European CI policy can be recog-

nized, or whether a distinct post-socialistic or Baltic approach is apparent.