Using recent scholarship on the great value creative capital provides to postindustrial economies (Florida, 220; Lloyd, 2006; Markusen & Schrock, 2006) as her starting point, Currid explores the exact mechanism by which the creative industries operate and thrive in New York. Subsequent to 80 in-depth interviews with cultural producers and gatekeepers found primarily through snowballing, Currid determined that “being there” matters in material ways. Attendance at nighttime and industry events increases opportunities for collaboration with other artists, obtaining work, and establishing support systems.
Social network further provides artists with “peer review,” “flexible career paths,” additional forums for selling their artwork, and straight-up inspiration. Finally, locating in New York offers easier access to others, media promotion outlets, and association with the New York brand.
Currid notes the system’s darker side comprises an overemphasis on socialization, corruption in the approbation and promotion process, a skewed expectation of success subsequent to media presence, a too-close link between creativity and commerce, and the increased expectation of advanced degrees among artists.
Her recommendations are of the stand-aside variety: allow cultural producers to form their own creative spaces, create pro-cultural nightlife zones, provide low-cost housing in creative communities as sanctuaries in likely-to-gentrify neighborhoods (Currid doesn’t say this here, but artists are directly linked with the gentrification of their chosen neighborhoods), and support the cultural economy as a whole both through pro-work grantmaking and punishing industry transgressions.