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The creative capital as a factor of competitiveness of Polish cities: conditions and importance in regional development

Time period: 2010-2015
Financing: Ministry of Science and Higher Education
EUROREG research team: Grzegorz Gorzelak (project manager), Katarzyna Wojnar

The main aim of this thesis has been an analysis of the creative potential of Polish cities, in particular the identification of creative capital and the analysis of its relation to the competitiveness of Polish cities in national and European scale. This phenomenon has been analyzed in the context of the attractiveness of Polish cities for representatives of the creative class. The rationale investigating this problem is the importance of creative capital cities as a factor of competitiveness in the knowledge economy and the related development challenges facing Polish cities. The explanatory theory in this thesis is the concept of creative capital proposed by Richard Florida. Based on this theory specific hypotheses have been formulated and then tested at various stages of the study. A number of critical remarks concerning the direction of cause-and-effect relationships postulated by the concept of creative capital can be find in respective literature. Taking these into consideration the research model and methodology have been designed. By using a variety of techniques, tools and data sources it became possible to address these concerns in the context of Polish cities. The research process created an opportunity to test the theory in the new economic, geographic and social context, and the results are the voice in the global debate over the significance and range of the tested theory. The results show that the creative potential of Polish cities understood as a part of the creative class among working-age population can be described as relatively weak. While the average share of the creative class among the working age population is 25.7%, the median is only 19%. Analysis of the structure of the creative class and its spatial concentration in Polish cities unambiguously confirms the dominance of Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow, which form a kind of creative class triangle in Poland. It ca therefore be presumed that these are the main hubs of movement of creative capital and knowledge. The city with the highest creative potential in Poland with 52.9% share of the creative class in working age population is Warsaw. Structure of the creative class in the capital city shows dominance of creative professional. This can mean that the capital has the ability to absorb external knowledge and commercialize it. This happens probably because of attractive jobs in the corporate and administrative sectors, which might pull out manpower out of more creative professions. Analyzing the relationship of the creative class and the competitiveness of Polish cities it’s possible to say that the component that determines its high and significant correlation with the components of competitiveness is the creative professionals. This may mean that the potential of the most creative workers (super-creative core) is not fully activated in the economic and social processes taking place in the Polish cities, and is based primarily on a group of professionals who work rather within standardized procedures. On the basis of the qualitative analysis the relationship between the creative capital of Polish cities and their attractiveness can be described as causal. The results of quantitative and qualitative analyses clearly confirm that from the individual perspective the attractiveness of a particular city is mainly related to the labor market. The three most important priorities when it comes to locational choices of profession and employment by creative people a pleasant working conditions, the ability to self-development and interest, while the wage level is of secondary importance. Factors which are most important in creating favorable conditions for the use of creative capital and attract the Polish cities singled out during the factor analysis are quality of life and the range of leisure opportunities. This relation is evidenced by the presence of statistically significant positive correlation between the variable factors of creative capital and leisure offer (moderate), and quality of life (strong). Factors reflecting the urban lifestyle, such as cultural amenities (the relative number of premier theater), gastronomy and cafes are important, but only in case of creative professionals. Attractiveness of the city in the context of lifestyle is reflected by work environment quality, as well as livability of the city, including how residents perceive each other, satisfy their needs, spend their free time and participate in consumption.