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Creativity and urban governance

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Patsy Healey OBE


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This article explores the relationship between 'creativity' and 'Innovation', and the forms and practices of 'governance' in an urban context. It examines, in particular, the 'double' creativity of governance, both in terms of its potential to foster creativity in social and economic dynamics and to creatively transform its own capacities. It argues that there is no simple equation between the characteristics of a 'creative city' and a 'creative' mode of urban governance. Instead, the article advocates a multi-level approach to the dimensions of urban governance through which to identify qualities of governance activity, which, in specific contexts, have the potential to encourage creativity and innovation. The article first develops three meanings of creativity and outlines the way these are related to governance activity. A three-level approach to the interacting dimensions of governance is then presented, linking episodes, processes and cultures. This approach is then developed into an evaluative framework through which the creative potentialities of emergent properties of governance practices in specific situations can be explored. In conclusion, the article comments on the kinds of governance infrastructures which may have the capacity to release imaginative and innovative activities in city regions, the kinds of interventions which may help to transform such capacity and the imaginative resources and mobilising power which may help successful innovations to spread from experiment to 'mainstream'.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Healey P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Policy Studies

Year: 2004

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

Pages: 87-102

ISSN (print): 0144-2872

ISSN (electronic): 1470-1006

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/0144287042000262189


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