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Creating Space

final conference Creative City Challenge

Creative City Challenge


Groningen and Delft University of Technology co-operate with other partner cities and organizations in the European (Interreg) project called Creative City Challenge (CCC). The project kicked off at the end of 2009 with a meeting in Hamburg, and will be concluded with a manifestation in the Ebbinge Quarter of Groningen on 20 September 2012. Besides leading partner Hamburg and the Municipality of Groningen (the initiator of the CCC), Oldenburg, Bremen and Newcastle are also partners in the project, along with other cities of note. These are all places with which Groningen has nurtured special relationships in the framework of its internationalization ambitions.

The CCC project is oriented to the enhancement of the innovative capabilities of these urban regions, by means of a transnational exchange of expertise and experience with knowledge clusters, creative hotspots and incubators, creative zones and area development. In the context of creative hotspots and incubators in Groningen, one can think of the Puddingfabriek, the Mediacentrale and, of course, Het Paleis in the Ebbinge Quarter, which also accommodates the Open Lab Ebbinge (OLE) whose construction started in 2011. In some other partner cities, the accent in the project lay more explicitly on entrepreneurship in the creative industry or on network development, rather than on clusters/hubs and areas.

The creative city and innovation capacity presuppose one another. In the enhancement of the innovative capacity of the city and surroundings, the concept of the creative city is being increasingly appreciated, as well as the role of the creative industries within this evolution. This also applies to the role of the urban-regional climate in attracting and retaining talent and knowledge workers (‘braingain’): Groningen as City of Talent.

Accordingly, the Dutch partners have received a so-called CETSI contribution from the state as a consequence of the goals of the Spatial Planning Memo (urban networks and economic core regions).

In 2009, CCC was allocated the appellation of pilot project of the European Year for Creativity and Innovation. This exceptional position was prolonged into 2010 with the introduction of the ‘European Creativity and Innovation Day’. The patron of this day, 11 May, is the chairman of Parliament, currently Martin Schulz.

In broad contours, the project has three kinds of activity, in which one of the partners acts as the mainspring:

* Entrepreneurship, including the creative sector in particular (leadpartner: Dundee)

* Network development of companies and organizations (leadpartner: Bremen)

* Cluster and zone development (leadpartner: Groningen).

TU Delft/OTB are oriented to the scientific checks of these aspects.

In the project, special attention is devoted to collaboration and exchange between entrepreneurs, governmental instances and education. This triangle for innovation is also occasionally referred to as the ‘triple helix’. And this is also the point of departure of Dutch top-sector policy, in which the creative industry is regarded as being one of those top sectors.

Seeking win-win collaboration with related projects in the north of the Netherlands and north-west Germany, as is currently occurring with E-clic (broadband project of the University of Groningen) and Smart Cities (wireless Groningen), is of essential importance. In this context, one can think of (serious) gaming via broadband, for example. With the new EU policy guidance lines, this has led to the Hanze University of Applied Science being allocated the DANS project: Digital Agenda North Sea Region. All three above-mentioned projects are represented in this overarching one.

In Hamburg, our leading partner city, policy for the creative city and the creative industry fulfils a crucial role. In 2010, a blueprint for the creative city of Hamburg was drawn up by Klaus Overmeyer of Urban Catalyst. In Groningen, Klaus Overmeyer functioned as the keynote speaker at the CCC/Mooi Nederland manifestation in the Ebbinge Quarter in June 2010, which dealt with the temporary use of space. Professor Overmeyer is a member of the jury for the previously mentioned competition concerning the Suikerunie grounds.

More information on the Creative City Challenge (CCC) and DANS can be obtained at:

Midterm Report 2011

North Sea Region