Publication Details

Brennan - Horley, C. & Gibson, C. R. (2009). Where is creativity in the city? Integrating qualitative and GIS methods. Progress in Human Geography, 41 2595-2614.


This paper discusses a new blend of methods developed to answer the question of where creativity is in the city. Experimentation with new methods was required because of empirical short- comings with existing creative city research techniques; but also to respond to increasingly important questions of where nascent economic activities occur outside the formal sector, and governmental spheres of planning and economic development policy. In response we discuss here how qualitative methods can be used to address such concerns, based on experiences from an empirical project charged with the task of documenting creative activity in Darwinöa small city in Australia's tropical north. Diverse creative practitioners were interviewed about their interactions with the cityöand hard-copy maps were used as anchoring devices around spatially orientated interview questions. Results from this interview ^mapping process were accumulated and analysed in a geographical information system (GIS). Digital maps produced by this method revealed patterns of concentration and imagined `epicentres' of creativity in Darwin, and showed how types of sites and spaces of the city are imagined as `creative' in different ways. Qualitative mapping of creativity enabled the teasing out of contradictory and divergent stories of the location of creativity in the urban landscape. The opportunities which such methods present for researchers interested in how economic activities are `lived' by workers, situated in social networks, and reproduced in everyday, material, spaces of the city are described.



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