Measuring creativity of a city

Charles Landry

The final thing I will talk about: Bilbao asked us a question three years ago. They said: "We know we are very innovative but we are not sure we are creative. Could you measure the pulse of the city?"

How we worked that out? With my colleague Jonathan Hyams we have developed what we call Creative City Index. And we looked at all the measuring devices that people have like the Economist intelligence unit and so on. I came up with a system where you have an internal self perception of the city. You mix up with the external perception which is different. You look at all the people who left the city - who do not like the city anymore or had to leave because they could not fulfill their ambitions - and then we give it a score. 

But the key thing is not the score: "Are you number one?" But: "Are you doing better than you would expect the city of your type? Are you punching above you weight?" That's always what we are looking for. 

And the domains we look at are always integrated. So we look at the political framework. We look at the level of distinctiveness expression. We look at the level of openness. We look at the entrepreneurial skills set of the city: both entrepreneurial and in terms of commerce; and we look at the strategic agility, the learning landscape, the communication capacity, the sense of place, the professionalism, the livability and so on. 

You can see these are very broad dimensions, but in our view that encapsulates the ecology of a city - the total ecology of the city and its potential creativity.

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Charles Landry

Charles Landry

Director in Comedia in London, United Kingdom

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