So, what does a creative economy strategic report for a city look like? One example is Creative New York, now a few years old (December 2005), published by the Center for an Urban Future, a public policy organization focused on the well being of New York City’s low-income and working class. Being that this is an implementation-oriented site, let’s cut right to their recommendations on what NYC should do to grow its creative sector.
Create a centralized coordinating body modeled after Creative London. Creative London is a steering group of leaders in the public and private sectors of the creative community. However, the Creative London website is no longer functional – investigative journalism underway. Comment below if you know anything!
Establish an Industry Desk for Creative Industries at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. This is the liaison between the city government and the creative leadership group, ensuring some level of accountability and government investment within its economic development plans.
Begin to address affordability issues facing individual artists and creative enterprises. This is one of the most effective ways to attract creatives, and the most difficult. Suggestions includie clustering new buildings for creatives in targeted districts, and encouraging the inclusion of space for artists or creative firms in new developments. That’s not going to make much impact though. What needs to be done is redefining the American Dream (or myth, that we need big homes) for emerging generations and provide more efficiencies like at Cubix Yerba Buena in San Francisco, as well as those being crowdsourced in Washington DC at the Bearden Arts Building.
More flexible support from the philanthropic community. The recommendation here is a little vague, but the idea is that programs should be set up to fund creative districts that support the creative community as a whole, rather than seeking funds for specific, isolated, esoteric arts projects.
Expand market access for locally-made creative products. Emphasize locally-made products, such as through further support of the ‘Made in New York’ trademark. What’s lacking are both virtual and physical destinations where these products can be centralized, nor is there a plan to do so.
Help creative individuals and enterprises get access to business assistance services. There are programs to help artists, and programs to help small businesses, but rarely is the assistance integrated. However, examples and details on how to do so aren’t provided.
Improve access to health insurance and other work supports for creative workers and enterprises. This is beyond just a creatives issue.
Begin to address the creative core’s workforce development needs. A training program to prepare people to transition to the creative economy. No details or examples however.
It’s a start. One suggestion is to establish a creatives social network to better understand what the creatives themselves feel is needed to grow their economy, and that’ll be soon underway in Washington DC via CreativesDC.