Creative Industries in the Smart City: Overview of a Liability in Emerging Economies

Creative Industries in the Smart City: Overview of a Liability in Emerging Economies

Cristobal Collignon de Alba (University of Colima, Mexico), Jürgen Haberleithner (University of Colima, Mexico) and Maricela Mireya Reyes López (University of Colima, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7030-1.ch068
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In this overview, the authors consider the political dimension of creativity on the Smart Cities. The subject is approached on a disambiguation between the concepts of creativity and innovation in which the role of the market is crucial. The main arguments depart from Realism and its international perspective, in an effort to explain the reasons why governments would consider fostering potentially disruptive creativity on their societies. The authors take the discussion to power institutions that could be considered as non-democratic or less prone to political and social change, as some countries in East Asia and Latin America seem to be. The final remarks signal that a framework for the development for Smart Cities loaded with western values and appreciation for creativity, are unlikely to take hold on the societies aforementioned. Special frameworks of reference based on different sets of values must be drawn to fit with local institutions of power and social control.
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The political, economic, social and cultural differences between cities in the world pose a great challenge to a unique idea of the concept of Smart City. Often related to positive neoliberal values like

  • Open trade,

  • Market competition,

  • Internet access or free flow of ideas,

  • Use of technologies and communications,

  • Reduction of toil in favor of leisure among many others,

therefore the Smart City ideal would appeal to many as a capitalist crucible of worlds and a reasonable new stage of development for humanity. Some of these values are also shared by other systems of governance in different degrees and also with different connotations and ontological interpretations.

In this chapter, the authors will present some ideas specifically for the Creative industries and their relation to power and politics. First, the background on the research that predates this book will be very generally addressed on the topics of creativity and its study, international relations and economy in order to introduce some theory for policy making. Then the emphasis will be on the disambiguation of the often interchangeably used concepts of Creativity, Innovation and, somehow fallen into oblivion, Ingenuity. This would allow us to present afterwards in a graph how the elements of Market, Sociocultural environments and Creative outputs interact and overlap. The case will be made on the proposal that given this distribution, the perceived value in the market and the need from governments to control the agency of talents, will drive the creative industries to an innovative approach rather that a creative one.

Finally, the authors will consider the idea of creative industries as a liability in both English language meanings:

  • 1.

    As a hindrance for someone or somebody, and/or

  • 2.

    A responsibility.

From the perspective of the authors, both of these understandings befall more in the public sphere that in the private for the case of the creative industries in the Smart city.

Much of this work draws on empirical evidence and observation by personal work and study at the People’s Republic of China, in Mexico and in Japan. However intended on a first attempt to make specific cases on each country, the chapter will try to remain as theoretical as possible therefore losing detail but adding to scope. Also, the authors consider that criticism, new ideas and interpretations of what is being treated is welcome for academic discussion.



A lot has been said and researched on Creativity. For the purpose of this chapter we will focus on the capacity of creativity to be disruptive, like a strong destructive wind that Schumpeter conceived all the way back to the first half of the convulsive XXth century, in between the Second World War in 1943. On this take, Schumpeter presents the rationale drawn from Marxist thought in which the bases for the economic cycles and creativity would be understood until today. For him the whole capitalist movement had a reason to be based not in equilibrium or in Walrasian model, or in a Paretto efficient or others as described by prof. Joseph Stiglitz on the 2010 edition of the book (Schumpeter, 2010) This reason was economic change:

Capitalism, then, is by nature a form of method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. And this evolutionary character of the capitalist process is not merely due to the fact that economic life goes on in a social an natural environment which changes and by its changes alters the data of economic action; this fact is important and these changes (wars, revolutions and so on) often condition industrial change, buy they are not its prime movers. (Schumpeter, 2010, p. 74)

And he goes on:

The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumer’s goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates. (Schumpeter, 2010, p.74)

Creative destruction was presented as a gale, a powerful wind that blows away everything in a given time:

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