La géographie de la classe créative : Le cas des aires urbaines françaises

Abstract : The geography of the creative class: The case of French urban areas The creative class approach (Florida, 2002b) focuses on the major economic role of creative skills in a knowledge-based economy. The ability to be creative, to produce new ideas, new symbols, or innovations became a permanent economic activity for firms and individuals. The creative class gathers individuals that own creative occupations. Such individuals are crucial for firms because they generate innovation, new knowledge and new ideas. The originality of such a class is to jointly consider creative individuals in fields such as the arts, science and engineering, and to define them as key resources of firms' comparative advantage and survival. This approach took a fresh look on socio-economic determinants that underpin innovation and local development. It raised an issue of great importance for cities: creative people are highly mobile and following Lucas (1988), cities have to attract, retain, organise and generate the creative class to attain the virtuous path of economic competitiveness. In order to draw creative people, cities have to supply a competitive people's climate founded on tolerance and openness to diversity and low entry barriers to new comers and new ideas (Florida, 2005b). Tolerance, cultural and socialisation opportunities such as "third places" (Oldenburg, 1991) shape this people's climate and build up factors leading to creative people location in cities. In turn, creative people attract or create firms because firms have to locate near of their essential productive resources. In spite of much criticism, this original approach of local development has been implemented in public policies (Florida et al, 2002; Florida and Stolarick, 2006). Moreover, the creative class approach has been adapted in Europe. Particularly, the geography of the creative class and the identification of its determining factors have been studied in European cities through the international research project Technology, Talent, and Tolerance in European Cities. However, these questions have not been investigated in French cities. This is why this article proposes the first overview of creative people location in France. Additionally, it produces the Tolerance-Amenities-Opportunities model (TAO model) in order to identify factors that shape creative class geography. TAO accounts for Tolerance, Amenities and Opportunities. According to several authors (Andersen and Lorenzen, 2006; Fritsch, 2007; Clifton, 2008; Hansen, 2008; Boschma and Fritsch, 2009), such factors are the main dimensions of creative people location in Europe. Mapping the creative class in France allows us to observe that creative people mainly concentrate in the largest cities. Moreover, TAO model's results show that the creative class is co-located in cities that gather large artistic communities. Globally, geographies of creative class and tolerance overlap in France. These findings converge with previous work carried out in the United States and in Europe.
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Sébastien Chantelot. La géographie de la classe créative : Le cas des aires urbaines françaises. Revue canadienne de science régionale, 2010, 33 (3), pp.89-108. ⟨10..⟩. ⟨halshs-00844579⟩

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