Creative Clusters and Media Cities
This paper will begin by asking some of the fundamental differences between the urban ideologies of ‘creative cluster’ and ‘media clusters’ now well embedded in local economic development strategies around the globe. I look back at the demolishing of the UK’s first creative industries development service (CIDS) in Manchester soon after the announcement of the relocation of BBC North in Salford. Despite the transference of the narrative of the ‘creative economy’ to frame the new ‘MediaCity’ development, it stifled participation from a well engaged local creative community and a well-developed local creative industries development strategy.
Media clusters capped under terms such as ‘smart cities’ and ‘hackable cities’ are popular amongst technocratic governments for it offers quantifiable measurements to innovation, community participation rates and efficient governance. This has seen a new breed of media clusters mushroomed in cities like Shanghai – co-working spaces, hacker space, fablabs. Framed within the creative economy urban narrative, I try to understand how these new temporary interventions originated by the communities could potentially further gentrification processes in the city.
These two versions of media clusters development (top down and bottom up) framed in the master narrative of ‘creative economy’ contribute equally to cultural gentrification in cities. Although they try to address the question of ‘rights to the cities’ through their different approaches, it seems to me that media clusters development remains to be tokenistic in addressing the element of ‘creative clusters as public goods’.