Here’s a juicy quote from the USA’s Creative Industries expert Richard Florida, ideal for when some suit at your local Council says that the Cultural (consumption) Quarter and the Creative (production) Quarter should both be located together in the city centre…

“If there is one thing we have learned in our focus groups with knowledge workers, it is the one thing they don’t want is a massive nightlife scene soaked in booze.”

An interesting March 2002 Comedia report is now online, Releasing the Cultural Potential of Cities. Some juicy quotes…

“… the [annual growth rate of total] creative employment is 15 percent in the English City-regions” [Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol].

“… the areas where the [UK’s] Core Cities are excelling [in creative production] are those which lie to a great extent outside the arena of public cultural policy and investment.”

“Few national or regional cultural agencies recognise the special characteristics or potential of Core Cities and City-regions, and have no policy towards them and no vehicle for dialogue with them.”

“…intelligent voices in London are saying that excessive concentration of resources and capacity may lead to a damaging overheating of the city’s economy, whilst starving the seedbeds and networks which have traditionally fed the capital’s creativity.” “[Already] London no longer has the space or funding to compete when it comes to the digital arts.”

French Critical Theory; not quite as critical as you might have imagined. Slightly unfair to Foucault, as he did reject many of his earlier extreme Maoist positions in his final years.

Interesting to see the Modernist look in architecture becoming intertwined with a new environmental mood; imagine the classic Modernist “box on a slope” house but done by a 15th-century Japanese; all bamboo, rope and wooden pilings. And speaking of a pleasing new/old blend; there’s a lovely-looking & beautifully-written new site, on the places and folklore of Mercia, the powerful Saxon kingdom from which the present West Midlands grew.

Manchester’s new Urbis building/expo gets a mauling in the editorial of the latest issue of Blueprint

“If Urbis was seriously ‘of the city’ it would stay open later than 6pm, and its enormous ground floor would consist of more than a cafe, two business-to-business suites and a shop selling £5 exhibition tickets and expensive gifts. It would also reverse its policy of employing actors, in a poor attempt at versimilitude, to roam around in the guise of homeless people and buskers.”

…and Birmingham City Council are already having to spend over £500,000 to bail out the newly opened (and poorly received) ThinkTank museum/expo at Millenium Point. Just more evidence that it’s probably the small unsung projects like SUSTRANS and NOF-Digitize which will be the lasting legacy of the Millenium/Lottery billions, not the fat white-elephants of civic pomp.

It seems Adobe have triumphed in the Illustrator vs. Freehand tussle; not one employer in the Corps Business Skill Survey 2002 felt using Freehand was a vital skill, while 54 percent want Illustrator users. Only 23 percent thought Dreamweaver was vital. Photoshop and Flash came top of the pile.