Creative Districts and the San Ysidro – Tijuana Border

A Creative District is a defined geographic area, a place, where different creative communities interact, share ideas, and find mutual inspiration.  This physical space enables creative people to get together, to cluster, share resources, collaborate, use their environment to express their ideas and generate new value.  The diversity of culture, disciplines, trades, and abilities make the space more attractive to more talent, more social capital, more visitors, entertainment, and commerce.  So, imagine a Binational Creative District, with complementary capabilities and remarkably diverse cultures.  Imagine a place that fuses this diversity and creates a new one. 

According to Charles Landry a distinguished international adviser on the future of cities and best known for popularizing the Creative City concept, for a creative space to evolve it requires the built environment to integrate the right infrastructure that will facilitate the flow of ideas and innovation, this includes buildings, streets and public spaces. This environment, a district, attracts talent, it nurtures it and mobilizes creative organizations, and the creative class often drives urban development and innovation.

Creative Districts go beyond the arts and culture, it includes the creative economy (design, music, digital media) and a large creative class (entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers). They have an embedded culture of creativity, openness, and diversity.  Creative Districts are hubs of economic activity, enhancing the area as an alluring place to live, visit and conduct business, and develop the Creative Industries.  This industries in a more general sense are defined as having their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent which have a potential for job and wealth creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.  

As an economic development strategy, the creative industries are particularly important for wealth and job creation around the world.  In 2015 the cultural and creative industries including advertising, architecture, fashion, publishing, and software development generated more than $2.25 trillion dollars and employed nearly 30 million people worldwide, according to UNESCO. According to the National Foundation for the Arts in the United States the arts and cultural sector contributed $804.2 billion or 4.3 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, and in California it was $185.5 billion representing 7.0% of the state´s GDP with an annual growth rate of 7.8%. 

The San Ysidro and Tijuana communities linked to the Ports of Entry, are in a unique position to develop a world class Creative District, as it is a geographic space where many creative activities converge, from medical services, to arts and crafts, food and even software development organizations coexist.   The complimentary capabilities and perspectives of creative professionals from both sides of the border, can be particularly beneficial for Creative Industries such as digital media and film, digital animation, video games, music, fashion, and other design related activities including software development.   This micro-economic border zone is a very dynamic space, with enormous flow of people and goods, and even now has many of the elements of a Creative District, all we have to do is harness this creativeness and integrate it with the built environment, to make it a more stimulating, memorable, joyful, secure, accessible and connected space.  

The BFusion Strategy presents an opportunity to bring together the creative communities, to share ideas and initiatives on how to transform the built environment linked to the port of entry, that will facilitate interactions of creative industries and generate new value.   This collaboration tool is a springboard for collective action, from promoting more walkable paths and plazas, public art, and the beautification of the surrounding areas, as well as more secure and healthy spaces.  Imagine transforming Plaza Viva Tijuana into a Creative Industries hub, with workshops, classrooms, exhibition spaces, meeting, and conference rooms, together with cafes, galleries, and craft breweries among other amenities.   If you share this vision and would like to be part of the transformation, join the BFusion Strategy and signup here.

Grange Park in Toronto

Post Written By Flavio Olivieri, May 2020

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