2.24 - Diversity and Specificity: The Spatial Contexts of Creativity of Porto Metropolitan Region, Portugal

Project Description

While the first, seminal works on urban creativity associate creative industries with traditional city-centres, the more recent literature on the subject recurrently refers suburbs, small towns or even semi-rural areas as attractive places of location for creative companies, creative people or both.

Diversity is then a major feature regarding the relationship between creativity and territory. While some creative industries have a characteristically urban profile, others prefer peripheral locations. Especially in Southern Europe, creativity often emerges in “old” industries (textiles, shoes, furniture) located in “semi-rural” landscapes. As creative professionals also pursue diverse residential preferences, urban creativity often generates a complex pattern of functional connections between nodal settlements that frequently encompass large urban areas. Several inter-dependent “dilemmas” emerge in this respect, between centrally located and scattered companies, between short and distant commute journeys, between new and old industries.

The project aims to address these dilemmas by focusing the complex spatial patterns associated with the location choices of both creative companies and their workers. The main research questions are: how specific patterns of functional intertwining coexist in diversified metropolitan areas? How they vary among diverse creative industries? How can a better knowledge of these patterns contribute to inform policies centred on urban creativity?

Specifically, the paper aims to address these questions in Porto Metropolitan Region, a noteworthy target territory for this purpose. Thriving to evolve from a traditionally industrial economy to a modern one endowed with a strong creative content, it comprises varied spatial settings, ranging from traditional city-centres of different sizes to suburban and ‘rural-urban’ areas. By identifying a typology of spatial patterns in the area, we aim to conclude about the need to inform territorial policies that smartly combine diversity and specificity.

Research Team
  • Isabel Breda-Vázquez
  • Carlos Oliveira
  • Fernanda Sousa
  • Diana Silva
Financial Support
  • FEUP
Stage of Progress
  • Started on january 2013.