A Micro-Tale of Two Cities, and their Creative Corridors

By Matt Van Hoven 

The term “Creative Corridor” refers to a geographic region of indeterminate size where creative business occurs. At least, that’s the perception we got when reading up on it. Most recently, two major US communities have used this label in efforts to regain the creative types that for one reason or another have gone elsewhere.

Detroit and Louisiana aren’t exactly beacons of creative light these days &#151 at least not the kind that amounts to business development. Detroit is losing more of the auto industry and Louisiana is still recovering from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The end result for both: brain drain.


In early 2008 the Federal government provided Detroit Renaissance (which provides leadership to accelerate the economic transformation
of Detroit and Southeast Michigan) $282,000 toward enticing creative business and people to the area.

Detroit’s creative corridor is the area between downtown and New Center Detroit.

The story is basically the same for Louisiana. Its creative corridor surrounds Interstate 10 (the southern most east-west highway in the country), which was ravaged by Katrina. As with Detroit, a group in Louisiana called The Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF), seeks to bring creative business and people back to the region.

To help them, BRAF invited GSD&M Idea City to pitch their ideas to Louisiana’s decision makers.

We see a dilemma in the effort to bring people back to both these cities. Neither has the business infrastructure to support people moving back. It’s a case of which comes first: the business or the people?

What do you think: can Detroit and Louisiana regrow their creative corridors sans the fundamental pieces? Which cities do you think are the most creative and which have the best campaigns/environment for creative business and people? Tell us, in the comments section.

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