Hobson's choice? Constraints on accessing spaces of creative production



Champion K (2010) Hobson's choice? Constraints on accessing spaces of creative production. Creative Industries Journal, 3 (1), pp. 11-28.

Successful creative production is often documented to occur in urban areas that are more likely to be diverse, a source of human capital and the site of dense interactions. These accounts chart how, historically, creative industries have clustered in areas where space was once cheap in the city centre fringe and inner city areas, often leading to the development of a creative milieu, and thereby stimulating further creative production. Historical accounts of the development of creative areas demonstrate the crucial role of accessible low-cost business premises. This article reports on the findings of a case study that investigated the location decisions of firms in selected creative industry sectors in Greater Manchester. The study found that, while creative activity remains highly concentrated in the city centre, creative space there is being squeezed and some creative production is decentralizing in order to access cheaper premises. The article argues that the location choices of creative industry firms are being constrained by the extensive city centre regeneration, with the most vulnerable firms, notably the smallest and youngest, facing a Hobson{\textquoteright}s choice of being able to access low-cost premises only in the periphery. This disrupts the delicate balance needed to sustain production and begs the broader question as to how the creative economy fits into the existing urban fabric, alongside the competing demands placed on space within a transforming industrial conurbation.

creative industries; gentrification; industrial location; economic restructuring; Greater Manchester; urban regeneration

Creative Industries Journal: Volume 3, Issue 1

FundersUniversity of Abertay
Publication date31/12/2010
Publication date online03/01/2014

People (1)


Dr Katherine Champion

Dr Katherine Champion

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture