Recherche Carnets de chercheur Kulacha Sirikhan

Kulacha Sirikhan

Institutional Building in the Decentralized Territorial Policies Approach on Clustering of Creative Industries

The Cases of Île-de-France and Tokyo Metropolitan Area



In the last two decades, the number of cities that assigned themselves the mission to become “creative cities” has been increasing. This is closely linked to the rising of creative industries in the growth of the economy and it is a major trend in globalization too. The creative city concept emerged as a new urban model for those cities seeking to enhance their global ranking in the competitive league of global cities. Creative industries cover fashion, crafts, and design and high-tech industry (Scott, 2008). The rise of creative industries development has become integral part of the urban phenomenon (Scott, 2006). Government strategies have increasingly targeted promoting creative industries to upgrade their ranking in the competitve league of globla cities (Evans, 2005, 2009). The phenomenon of creative industries is seriously influenced by the concept of ‘creative class’ (Florida, 2002). Florida’s main point is to emphasize how to attract highly qualified ‘creative’ labor as a creative class who seek places and condition to nurture creativity by promoting urban amenities (van Dalm & Hospers, 2005). Creative industries are more likely to be characterized by the agglomeration of firms in particular business in a specific place named a ‘cluster.’ The role of the cluster is to accompany interpersonal relations along a market organization The positive outcomes of the spatial arrangement in building a set of institutions is bringing activities and businesses functioning in the same productive sector through information sharing within the cluster (Aubry, Blein, & Vivant, 2015; Maskell & Lorenzen, 2004; Porter & Christensen, 2000).

The cluster concept has been increasingly introduced into urban and regional policy agendas over the last two decades to enhance local and regional competitiveness, supporting entrepreneurship, and providing job opportunities (Huggins & Williams, 2011). The notion of cluster has been used when describing creative cities. According to Florida (2002), these policies combine ideas that intend to create attractive locations with many cultural amenities and a creative atmosphere. The creative milieu is more likely to be in an urban area with a long history and have developed diversity in its activities (Hall, 2000). Cities are essential as a machine in establishing a milieu to generate creativity which consists of hard and soft infrastructures (Landry, 2012). First, hard infrastructure is a built environment such as a street, an area, a development where the location of centers of cultural amenities and institutions - research institutes, universities, libraries, and museum and head offices are located. Second, soft infrastructure refers to an extensive network of social cohesion, connections and human interactions to encourage the flow of ideas at both individual and institution levels. The diversity and variation of activities create synergy within a network of firms. The cluster has a role in fostering the social network to tie the collective institution of social trust (Lorenzen, 2002) where social network requires a specific place endowed with a high density of communication among firms in related business. The location factor plays its role as a territory label in clustering that contains symbolic value (Scott, 1997). It becomes a crucible of cultural and economic interaction. The understanding of the local ecosystem in the emergence and development of clustering is important to encourage innovation.

The Emergence of the Clustering of Creative Industries in France and Japan

Paris and Tokyo hold five top positions in the Global Power City Index by The Institute for Urban Strategies of the Mori Memorial Foundation and achieve top ranking in the EY Global Talent in Global Cities 2015 study due to their cultural heritage and assets in high tech. The locus of creative industries is concentrated in big cities especially in the capital in Île-de-France and the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Both France and Japan are interesting to the cluster approach. Japan was the first that introduced a type of innovation spatial system called "Technopolis" in the early 1980s (Kondo, 2006). This policy was implemented in order to promote the advancement of high-tech industries in the regional development of industry, academy, and living amenities. It was terminated in 1998 due to its insufficiency in participating to a national urban strategy and because the bubble economy burst (Suzuki, 2004). Later on, two policies were introduced known as Knowledge Cluster Initiative, and Industrial Cluster Program in 2001, which provided an institutional arrangement in order to set up supports for the creation of start-ups, both tangible (finance, space, and facilities) and intangible (information, advisory services, and organization of networking events). These have had a strong and positive impact on innovation and firm performance (Nishimura & Okamuro, 2011). Despite the importance of creativity in innovative industrial development, creativity has become important elements for urban development. Since the economy collapsed in the 1990s, the movement of mass industrial production sites to lower cost counties caused an urban decline problem in many cities due to their losing economic vitality (Kakiuchi, 2014). Thanks to the positive effect of globalized expansion from the niche market, urban planning strategy has paid attention to the creative city concept with integration of local culture to increase the attractiveness of city.

The territorial network approach also is to be found in French strategies (Sagot-Duvauroux, 2014) through the implementation of two significant policies. First, the French government initiated a nation-wide cluster policy through competitiveness clusters (Pôle de Compétitivité) in 2004, to enhance economic development. Second, the territorial development contracts (Contrats de Développement Territorial, or CDTs) are significant innovation mechanisms in order to partially support competitiveness clusters by the distribution of responsibility to local authorities. CDTs prompt the collaboration of municipal governments as inter-municipal governments like a self-organized institution to determine the objectives assigned to a given territory. The development of to competitiveness clusters across the Ile-de-France aims to attract high tech industries, creative workers, academic institutions to transform Paris into a knowledge metropolis. The major CDTs committed to competitiveness cluster include:

  • CDT Paris-Saclay territoire sud: the innovative science and technology cluster
  • CDT Territoire de la Culture et de la Création: the media and digital création cluster
  • CDT Est-Ensemble la fabrique du Grand Paris: the craft hub of Pantin Métiers d’art cluster

These major CDTs are proposed as examples to promote competitiveness clusters in terms of urban development plans which prioritize urbanism, housing, transportation infrastructure, and public amenities.

Decentralized Governance: Institutional Responses to Increase Localized Competitiveness

Despite the benefits of the creative city strategy, it has challenged governance. Regarding urban planning strategies, creative cities require a creative infrastructure to increase face-to-face interaction among creative producers. The outcome of cluster agglomeration is creative labor seeking activities in communities. This also encourages urban migration causing demographic change and gentrification related to an endogenous creative class in the framework of a similar massive, worldwide trend in creative cities. This trend has favored conflicts, neglect, and reduced inter-relationships between urban groups (Peck, 2005). Second, given that the clustering in creative industries focuses on seeking for cooperation and partnerships, this may cause struggles between governance institutions, as well as dilemmas and tensions between different administrations. To solve these problems, a city-region governance with specific purposes has been introduced to increase local competitiveness and secure operation efficiency (Scott, 2013). It requires creative and flexible program design (Rodden & Wibbels, 2019). The promotion of decentralized governance allows all three governance institutions government, the private sector, and civil society organizations to be more flexible and efficient as innovative governance (Cheema, Rondinelli, & Dc, 2008).

The implementation of CDTs is characterized by the decentralization process which draws on the responsibilities of local actors especially on an inter-municipal scale. Similarly, in Japan, the decentralization reform in political and administration systems transferred authority to local governments for providing urban service, urban infrastructure, and the institutional framework. The local governance structure shifted from the hierarchy approach to the self-organized spatial network. Meanwhile, financial investment is still partly granted by the central government’s allocation and subsidies.

Research Scope and Methodology

In order to understand the functioning of governance institutions in the process of implementing cluster competitiveness, this study focuses on the cases of “Territoire de la culture et de la creation” of Plaine Commune in Île-de-France and “Creative city Yokohama” in Tokyo Metropolitan Area. These two case studies are best practice examples in clustering creative industries in Western and Eastern global cities. Paris and Tokyo are privileged as global cities for they host a dense network of creative industries (Sassen, 2001). Moreover, very few comparison studies between France and Japan in terms of creative industries and urban development have been carried out so far. The comparative case study approach can benefit the study in international competitiveness because it provides analyses embedded in different contexts that might not have emerged through the analysis of a single case.

Yokohama City shifted from its historical industrial port city image into a large modernized, creative city with the creative core district established along the waterfront areas by utilizing numerous historical buildings, warehouses, and spaces. Yokohama is a remarkable case in terms of employing art and culture beside socially inclusive politics in community development to facilitate the clustering of creative industries. Similar to the brownfield development project in Île-de-France, the Territoire de la culture et de la creation of Plaine Commune is highlighted as the first CDT that was set up by the multi-level governance approach. The proposed methodology is to explore historical background, the challenge, and institutional structures through documents reviewing and interview arrangements with members participating in government-supported clusters such as competitiveness clusters and CDTs.


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Keywords: creative industries, cluster, city competitiveness, institutional building, decentralization, urban governance