Disrupting universities in the creative economy: Crowded ecologies; quintuple helixes and third spaces




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Peer reviewed


In the post-millennium, and increasingly in the post-recession period, digital has become a fashionable byword for economic growth and digital economy seen as an economic panacea, exemplified to some extent by London’s fascination with Tech City and Shoreditch with their paradigmatic roots in Florida’s (2001) Creative City. It is not that digital media as a collection of web-based services and activities has limited economic worth but that the fascination with digital over other creative and professional forms have eclipsed more meaningful debate about what impact digital activities have on an economy (see Potts and Cunningham, 2010), and what role they play in boosting local wealth, skills, social mobility, and equality.

In this session, a city view is adopted on the creative economy. In particular, a review of creative cities as ‘crowded ecologies’ is presented, and changing stakeholder roles discussed in the context of changes in political economies. Against this backdrop, the modern role of universities in terms of skill development, new ideas and sites of innovation, are evaluated in a contemporary context. Reviewing some of the interesting stakeholders, projects, and business models, which have emerged in creative cities internationally, which replicate university roles (e.g. in Copenhagen and Berlin), it is argued that universities must now disrupt their own role in the creative economy and move beyond triple helix models to create quintuple helixes and third spaces (Soja, 1996), which create new relational and investment environments.



Creative Cities


Granger, R.C. (2018) Disrupting universities in the creative economy: Crowded ecologies; quintuple helixes and third spaces. Creativity, Knowledge, Cities. AHRC /University of West of England, Bristol, May 2018.


Research Institute

Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)
Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA)