Joining the dots with Creative Cities across central Europe

A transnational network of creative industry clusters in five major central European cities generates a positive climate that boosts their visibility and attracts investment. Exchanges of know-how promote entrepreneurial skills and competitiveness and the development of decayed urban areas into thriving creative districts.

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" It is important to bring ‘creatives’ together and thanks to Creative Cities, Genoa Film Festival could connect with Leipzig. We now want to create an efficient network to exchange movie directors and writers working in the audio-visual sector. "

Antonella Sica, Genova Film Festival Director, Italy

Creative industries have enormous, but often unrecognised potential to support cities in facing the challenges of global competition, convincing investors and creating more and better jobs. CREATIVE CITIES fosters this potential by making European cities aware of the benefits creative industries can bring and supports the development of suitable policies or instruments. The barriers for creative industry actors can be high, ranging from low capital endowment and poor networking to insufficient external visibility. The project identifies the resources and know-how needed, and provides comparable transnational data on the impact of creative industries on economic growth.

The project has brought together the central European cities of Gdansk, Genoa, Leipzig, Ljubljana and Péc and has been fostering the exchange of best practice experiences in the fields of creativity and innovation. The project partners first analysed their local creative industry sectors, working with the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The assessment served as the basis for proposing actions to improve conditions for the creative industry and professionals.

Local focus leads to urban renewal

A fundamental step in the project was to organise local working groups, which brought together people who work in a creative field. Numerous discussions with these clusters led to the development of an action plan to be implemented at the European level. The plan outlines how to improve public policies in order to strengthen cooperation between businesses and other economic sectors, to boost skills and to support entrepreneurs and start-ups. The diversity of the proposed actions has enabled all participating cities to benefit from the plan’s ambition to not only present innovative ideas, but also to deal with current problems and generate new knowledge and approaches.

Current studies are exploring ways to encourage creative industries to settle in their cities’ decayed urban areas. The partners believe that appropriately planned cultural districts could be the motors of urban renewal. One key result of the project is a set of guidelines and recommendations for other cities interested in developing “creative districts” and boosting the potential of their creative industry.

Defining creative industries in a transnational context

Beyond actions at the local level, the project also looks at how joint marketing and dissemination activities could be carried out and ways of reinforcing transnational cooperation. The project has created a positive climate around creatives in the participating cities, and its partners are currently involved in the organisation of a transnational cluster, which connects all local clusters. The long-term goal is to help the creative industries in these regions to align with the global situation and become efficient participants in the European market. The project makes it possible to strengthen European cooperation and to structure the cluster along European value chains.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Creative Cities - Development and Promotion of Creative Industry Potentials in Central European Cities” is EUR 2 555 268, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 2 051 722 from the Operational Programme “CENTRAL EUROPE” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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