Creative workers have a tendency to co-locate in creative places, and their locational decision-making processes have been the topic of numerous studies. Yet, the vast majority of research has traditionally focused on the quintessential creative cities and metropolises. Much less is known about locational decision-making practices of creative workers in the ‘ordinary’ second and third tier cities. This paper aims to explore the mechanisms behind colocation in these smaller cities by looking at the influence and importance of place reputation on the attraction and retention of creative workers. Based upon 43 interviews with co-located Dutch creative entrepreneurs in such cities, we argue that in the absence of the metropolitan appeal, place reputation serves a multifaceted, yet essential role. First, tapping into the global creative city narrative provided creative and/or professional legitimation, as well as personal inspiration. Second, respondents commodified this reputation in their branding practices, which subsequently functioned as a pull-factor for other creative workers. Therefore, even though we observed many creatives do not utilise their local networks in their daily professional or creative work, place reputation afforded the development and sustainability of local buzz and knowledge exchange in cities where these networks did not organically occur.

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Creative Industries Journal
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)