Anyone participating in the development of spaces and places and meaningful engagements within the communities they build into might be interested in the principles and phenomenon of creative clusters, and their benefits.
Creative clusters are basically a scene made up of primary makers/creators along with small, specialised secondary and tertiary enterprises that support them (often highly individualised businesses in their own right). Clusters and scenes set the character and tone of a place.
Poets, authors, painters, photographers, playwrights, sculptors, jewellery-makers, costume designers, filmmakers, et al are historically sensitive to rising rents and need specialised spaces to work in. Preserving and encouraging inner city creative scenes where these people can work ensures that our urban centres feature something more than cashed up, high-tech startups, digital agencies and sleek architecture firms.
The consequence of erasing urban makers and creators from ‘the mix’ is erosion of creative clusters which then leads to, decimation—if not annihilation—of the original vibe, attitude and character that made a place so interesting and appealing to begin with.
The famed twelve-storey Chelsea Hotel, opened in 1884, within cooee of New York City’s then bohemian Greenwich Village and theatre district, is a prime example of a developer purposefully ensuring creative practitioners had a place to work, connect and rub shoulders with others in. Writers, artists, filmmakers, rockers, composers, poets, actors, dancers, designers, choreographers, curators, critics—creators of all kinds—produced an abundance of iconic works behind those three-feet deep, red brick walls. The Chelsea is now recognised as a city landmark and a crucible for creativity.