What makes a city successful today? Over the past few decades, artists—and more broadly, clusters of creative people—have become central to narratives of urban revitalization and civic growth in cities around the world.

In many locales, artists in search of cheap rent constitute the vanguard wedge of gentrification. Yet the so-called creative class includes whole categories of knowledge workers enjoying far less precarious conditions than artists, and it is their affluence that continually displaces both working-class residents and artists alike. In the creative city, the branding of subcultural movements, the translation of the gritty into the quaint, and the professionalization of the arts combine to produce a user-friendly social interface dressed in the trappings of former bohemian artistic milieus.
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