Creative (knowledge-intensive) occupations are now widely seen as a basis for urban economic prosperity. Yet the transitional pathways from a city’s current economy to a more creative economy are often difficult to discern or to navigate. Here we use a network perspective of occupational interdependencies to address questions of urban transitions to a creative economy. This perspective allows us to assess alternative pathways and to compare cities with regard to their progress along these pathways. We find that US urban areas follow a general trajectory towards a creative economy that requires them to increasingly specialise, not only in creative occupations, but also in non-creative ones – presumably because certain non-creative occupations complement the tasks performed by related creative occupations. This creates a pull towards non-creative occupations that becomes ever stronger as a city moves more towards a creative economy. All in all, cities with the most creative economies must undergo an overall diversification of specialised occupations, with a greater diversification rate for creative occupations, and maintain those creative specialisations despite the pull towards a non-creative economy.
- economic growth
- urban transitions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Urban Studies