Creative Industries and City Image: The Case of Eindhoven

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This master thesis examines the ways in which the creative cluster Strijp S can be used to shape the urban image of Eindhoven. This research was carried out using qualitative research methods to explore the phenomenon of creative clusters and their relationship to urban image formation. Based on relevant literature, the influence of the creative industries on various urban socio-economic factors has been analysed, such as economic growth, innovation and the appeal and the livability of a creative urban district within one of the largest cities in the Netherlands. In addition, two in-depth interviews were conducted with important pawns in the identity discussion of Eindhoven, namely the director of the city’s marketing agency and the project leader of the transformation project of Strijp S. The results indicate that Eindhoven always held on to its age-old identity marker that they owe to the Philips technology industry, but now wants to renew its image by incorporating design and knowledge into their urban image. In this way Eindhoven participates in the creative knowledge economy and radiates this by following the trend of creative clusters, of which Strijp S is the result. The purpose of the city’s marketing strategy is to fuel economic growth by recruiting creative, knowledge-based workers who provide innovative new products and services. Part of this strategy is to use Strijp S as an attractive attraction for these workers and other investors of the city, but Strijp S itself is not necessarily included in this strategy. With regard to the urban image, the ultimate goal of the Strijp S transformation is to make the outside world aware that Eindhoven is an interesting and progressive city that is ahead of many Dutch cities in terms of creativity and innovation. The ways in which Strijp S is used for the urban image of Eindhoven are therefore primarily directed to attracting international attention and recognition, with the ultimate prospect of better positioning itself in the global market of cities and the overarching knowledge economy.
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