25 January 2012

Bundling it all into time and place: District spatial quality for creative entrepreneurs with children


Annet Jantien Smit: Bundling it all into time and place: District spatial quality for creative entrepreneurs with children

On Thursday, January 26th, Annet Jantien Smit from consultancy Denkbeeld will hold a lunch seminar called "Bundling it all into time and place: District spatial quality for creative entrepreneurs with children”
Location: 5419.0237 (Kapteynborg, second floor) Time: 12:00 - 13:00 hrs. Coffee and tea will be provided.

Numerous Western world cities expend considerable effort to attract creative entrepreneurs and urban-oriented households to mixed-use neighborhoods, in part as a redevelopment strategy for formerly abandoned or neglected districts. Many studies suggest that creative entrepreneurs and workers favor an urban way of life (loft living, working on lab tops in cappuccino bars). Few studies, however, have explored whether creative entrepreneurs with families do actually take into account their time-space constraints as members of busy households into their choices of place to work. Several studies have shown that dual-earner couples with children face strong time-space constraints in their daily activity patterns. They combine paid work, household chores and child care on a daily basis. These parents combining ambitious career tracks with having children have been termed ``family gentrifiers,'' while many of them work in creative professions (Karsten, 2003, 2007). Consequently, an emergent subgroup of interest to creative city development is middle class families that deliberately choose for an urban residential location. However, because of different definitions of their research subjects, a connection between location theory of creative entrepreneurs and of family gentrifiers is hard to demonstrate. Therefore, this paper addresses the unexplored question whether personal time-space constraints influence firm location decisions of creative entrepreneurs with children.

I find that creative entrepreneurs with children make carefully weighed decisions on places to live and work within cities. Their choices for places to work are partly based on proximity to their homes, schools and childcare facilities, parks, and daily shops. Short distances to homes and such facilities are important because of their household situation with children. This finding applies in particular to creative entrepreneurs with children up to 12 years of age, both working from home and from in business premises. The latter were mostly living deliberately close-by their office in order to relax their daily schedules of combining their work with caring and household tasks. Thus, it seems that creative entrepreneurs do not only act as individuals, as creative class theory suggests (see eg. Florida, 2002). The data suggest that creative entrepreneurs also take into account their household dynamics in their location decisions of a place to work. Therefore, urban live-work districts that have creative entrepreneurs among its intended users should offer features for both daily work and private practices.

We hope to see all of you on Thursday,
The URSI Lunch Seminar Organising Committee