The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City

An Approach to Cultural Policy in Vancouver
I. Introduction: building competitive advantage for the nascent Vancouver knowledge economy
(…) In a knowledge economy, the reasoning abilities of teenagers may be seen as a key component of the economy’s and society’s “intangible infrastructure”, i.e. as a key factor of competitiveness. Sophisticated cognitive abilities are in fact necessary both on the supply and demand sides: to produce knowledge-intensive goods and
services, and to use and enjoy them in a meaningful, satisfactory way. Measuring how such abilities are being developed by teenagers gives us an interesting view of
the future prospects of specific knowledge economies.
(…) Vancouver is a city that constantly pretends to be some other city, in spite of its unique ambience, quality of life, and social and ethnic diversity. But as identity is, in a sense, the backbone of the knowledge economy, a weak identity is therefore evidence of some form of structural fragility.

Paperby Pier Luigi Sacco, Bob Williams, Elvy Del Bianco
Published in 2007

II. The virtuous circle of cognitive competence
The onset of a fully developed knowledge economy calls for a real social strategy of investment in individual and collective human development. A radical change is
needed. The level of investment required is huge and relatively risky. In an economy that is based on knowledge, the really crucial infrastructure is to be found in the width of the mental space of people.
(…) It is important to stress the three different dimensions that enter a proper definition of wine tasting: cognitive (getting and processing relevant information), social (finding the right interaction context), and identitarian (relating to my own model of personal development and quality of life). These are, in fact, the three tenets of the knowledge economy, the three intangible assets that rule value creation: human/informational, social, and symbolic capital.
(…) Developing a richer menu of choice through access to cultural experiences amounts to expanding the individual sphere of positive freedom (i.e. the freedom to choose options that match our deepest inclinations and potentials) and thus to promote quality of life. This is confirmed by the recent literature on the topic that identifies clear positive correlations between access to cultural opportunities and reported subjective levels of happiness.

III. Creative industries
(…) More generally, however, one has to point out that the capacity for the creation of economic value in creative industries is to a good extent due to the extremely vital world of small, very small, or even single-person firms that restlessly generate new ideas and experimentations.

Read the whole paper clicking here.

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