A creative district is an area where there is a critical mass of creative talent, one that creates a sense of place that is attractive to other businesses including those that might not necessarily be labeled creative. Typically, these districts are found in lesser-developed and many times less desirable areas of a city or town.
Today, many towns and municipalities have efforts to grow their creative areas and in many instances to build them from scratch by attracting creative businesses. The growth of many creative districts has been the result of creative professionals being priced out of other areas and somehow finding themselves in close proximity. This could be a particular part of a town or many times an area a bit further down the road from a larger or more economically viable area.
The process is typically slow and seems to take off when a critical mass is reached. At this point a “sense of place” begins to be noticed and the creative district becomes a place where people want to be – an area that is vibrant and more often than not, socially diverse. Other businesses and residential developments begin to move into the area.
As the growth accelerates, rents and property values begin to rise and eventually many of the artists/creative people who initially transformed the area are priced out. As the area grows, it may or may not keep its sense of place as a creative or artistic hub and becomes what has been characterized as being “gentrified”.
The process of building a creative district is not unlike other experiences in economic development. For example, a car dealer may move to the outskirts of town because the land is more affordable and taxes are lower. Soon other car dealers locate nearby and before you know it you have a street lined with car dealers.
Read the rest of the article at ColoradoBiz Magazine: Putting the “Creative” in Creative Districts…and Keeping it There