Excerpts from Edge Cities: Competitive and Collaborative Creative Economy Strategies for Surrey. White Paper for the Surrey Economic Summit September 18, 2008 Catherine Murray, PHd Professor and co-director Centre for Policy Studies in Culture and Communities Simon Fraser University
As a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2008 (and the only one of the three edge cities in this study to win such a designation), Surrey is poised with strong potential for achieving recognition as an inclusive, sustainable and creative centre of scientific, artistic and technological innovation with flourishing economic and cultural sector and talented and diverse citizens. Its festivals, visual and performing arts, museums, cuisine, design, architecture and sport stand a the cusp of making Surrey a great place to create, visit, study, work and live.
A new regionalism may be emerging, but it is based on a competitive assessment of strengths and weaknesses, new thinking about service standards, and a rejection of a cookie-cutter creative city strategy, instead seeking to define 'authenticity' (i.e., unique, local differentiation) in creative city visions.
In the past ten years, Surrey has spent $67 million on cultural and recreational facilities (now worth triple that value) but only a relatively small amount (some $12 million or 4% of the total $298 million, including parks) went to culture.
2 of 4 recommendations:2. A separate office of cultural planning should be established with increased staffing levels and cultural granting programs instated, drawing from other edge City models. Cultural Planning interests should be integrated horizontally in all planning processes of the City.
3. To become a more attractive place for cultural creatives to work and live, planning for live/work space initiatives, including subsidized artist housing (expanding the current three sites of social/non market co-op housing in Surrey), studio space and zoning flexibility should be considered.
- 'Bedroom' post-suburban or edge cities adjacent to Canada's major metropolitan areas (Mississauga, Laval and Surrey) face special challenges and opportunities as engines of creativity in the transition to the 'Creative Economy.'
- Edge cities may be endowed with potential comparative advantage, including lower rental rates to attract artists who wish to reside and work there and (usually) excess manufacturing space stock at more affordable rates, well suited to rehearsal, storage and creative inputs such as large scale set design.
- Edge Cities are beneficiaries of unrestrained gentrification at the core, as artists are forced out of the original districts and arts organizations strain to keep afloat.
- Some studies of these migrant creators and organizations paint a picture of mid-career artists who seek greater artistic security and stability in live/work space over the buzz of the urban core and precarious nature of the night time economy (Bye 2006)