So what Makes a Neighborhood Creative?


According to Richard Florida, innovation and creativity are the basic engines of economic development in cities, regions, and nations. With this in mind, Florida asks, “What makes some places more innovative than others, and how do certain neighborhoods come to specialize in different types of creativity?”

In seeking the answer to this question, Greg Spencer, a professor at the University of Toronto offers some wisdom in his work as to what exactly characterizes a creative neighborhood. According to Spencer, a creative neighborhood is located on the edge of a city’s downtown core, it has neighborhood anchors such as music venues and art organizations, it has a wealth of public transportation, walking paths, and bike trails, it has a high population density that serves in neighborly collaboration, and it has dense and authentic local restaurants.

tinker street exterior

What’s even more interesting is that, as Spencer notes, creative workers are more likely to live in, or near the neighborhoods in which they work. They live near and participate in the goings on of their neighborhoods by frequenting the local cafés, restaurants, and bars, while also engaging these cultural mixers with their ideas and through building collaborative relationships with their neighbors. Spencer points out that this adds to the social vibrancy of the creative neighborhoods and possibilities for social interactions that are less available in places that have been industrialized.


We see the urban neighborhoods of Indianapolis as being full of creative potential, and full of the neighborhood anchors necessary in realizing this potential. We see our neighborhoods as landscapes that are friendly toward education, the arts, and creative collaborations. So the next time you sit down for a conversation in a local coffee shop, the next time you browse through an art gallery, or the next time you catch a show at your favorite local venue, know that you’re becoming part of what makes our city a place of innovation.

To read more about the work of Richard Florida, and Greg Spencer click here.