Creative Destruction? Creative firms, workers and residential gentrification

02 August 2023

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Dr Tasos Kitsos, 

Dr Tasos Kitsos

Research Fellow at City REDI at the University of Birmingham

Dr Tasos Kitsos is an economist specialising in re...

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Dr Max Nathan, 

Dr Max Nathan

Associate Professor, Applied Urban Sciences, UCL

Dr Max Nathan is Associate Professor in Applied Ur...

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​Dr Diana Gutierrez Posada

​Dr Diana Gutierrez Posada

Research Fellow at City REDI at the University of Birmingham

Dr Diana Gutierrez Posada became a member of City-...

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A new study by Tasos Kitsos, Max Nathan, and Diana Gutierrez-Posada finds only a minor influence of creative firms and workers on neighborhood gentrification in England and Wales between 2001-2011. Meanwhile, the Creative Industries continue to be a key driver of economic growth, with creative clusters being particularly productive targets for investment and support.

Looking at over 80,000 neighborhoods, the authors uncover a negligible 0.2% higher probability of gentrification from a 10 percentage point increase in local creative businesses. The effect is slightly larger at 0.2% for creative workers, but still small. Most of the impacts are concentrated in major cities and very creative neighborhoods.

The paper argues that creative actors play a limited role in displacing poorer residents, contrary to some claims. But their imprint grows in specific urban contexts.

Policy makers should continue to invest in the creative industries, particularly in creative clusters, as key drivers of economic growth. On top of this, the study recommends policy interventions to respond to the limited impact of gentrification. For example, planning rules to mitigate impacts in hotspots, as well as employment training to help disadvantaged residents access creative jobs.

Please note: This discussion paper, which has not been externally peer-reviewed, combines a range of microdata at the Census Output Area level


Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash