Becoming a Creative City: The Role of Policy in the Case of Sofia

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Abstract:

Since 1990, Sofia has re-invented itself without help or hindrance from policy. Its path had little to do with planning and much to do with an Aristotelian-Habermasian model, under which civic energy and habits, once awoken, spread beyond issues of governance and infused the entire daily lives of citizens. Sofia's creation out of chaos trajectory neatly illustrates Trnqvist's and Andersson's major prerequisite for a creative milieu structural instability (i.e. uncertainty about the future). This means that the very manner (actor-based), in which Sofia re-invented itself, predetermined the strong possibility that a creative city would emerge in the end. The policy that has impacted Sofia effectively has been that at the national-level. The introduction of a Currency Board regime in 1997 ensured financial stability. A decade of government tax cuts has produced the lowest taxation burden in the EU. Low taxation and a secure financial environment have impacted all Sofia's creative industries, allowing them to expand, invest and plan. The resilience of Sofia as a creative city is now to be tested in the cold winds of the global financial crisis.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2148/benv.35.2.189

Publication date: June 24, 2009

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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