Creative underclass? ©Keltie Colleen
The Journal of Urban Affairs just published a really interesting special issue on the creative underclass.
The creative class has been hailed extensively by urban scholars, planners and policy makers over the past decade, particularly for its supposed ability to have a positive effect on urban development. The almost mythical creatives are seen as relatively easy to ‘deploy’ in areas where regeneration is desired. Moreover, their individual situation is seen as the archetypical successful and desirable urban life.
But reality often deviates from the romanticized professional and private lives of these ‘creatives’ and the urban development mechanisms attributed to their presence in the city frequently have perverse outcomes.
For example, creative actors often work as freelance professionals. Something the creativity advocates hardly take into account is that this freelance situation often is some sort of disguised unemployment. The German book “Wir Nennen es Arbeit: Die Digitale Bohème oder Intelligentes Leben Jenseits der Festanstellung”(We Call it Work: The Digital Bohème or Intelligent Life Beyond the Permanent) beautifully deals with this topic in the case of Berlin, where many (aspiring) creatives migrate to, but many of them are not able to make a living with what they (want to) do…