The Spatial Mobility of the ‘Creative Class’: A European Perspective


The main aim of this article is to test Richard Florida’s hypothesis regarding the spatial mobility of the ‘creative class’ and the role of soft factors in their decisions concerning their place of residence. Empirical data from 11 European cities suggest that the European ‘creative class’ is not as mobile as Florida suggests. Cultural and institutional constraints contribute to lower mobility rates in Europe. In the article the role of ‘personal trajectories’, completely disregarded until now, is highlighted. On the basis of empirical research data, the role of soft location factors in the decisions of creative workers does not seem to be as relevant as has been implied by Florida and others. These factors play only a marginal role in attracting members of the creative class to a city. On the other hand, they do indeed play an important role in retaining them once they have relocated. This provides some support for policies aimed at bringing about the type of conditions characteristic of creative cities.