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Creative City Index

We like to think of Adelaide as a creative city – this was put to the test by initiating our own Creative City Index and benchmarking ourselves against some of the most dynamic cities in the world. The results indicate the culture of metropolitan Adelaide is shifting positively. There is a clear change of mood evidenced by the emerging start-up culture.

City of Adelaide recently joined forces with the Department for State Development and the City of Playford to apply the Creative City Index to greater Adelaide. Note that this research applies to all of metropolitan Adelaide, not just the City of Adelaide area.

The Index is a measurement tool that seeks to understand the key drivers of creativity within a city and works on the principle that creativity is a pre-condition for innovation to occur. It’s been delivered in 16 cities around the world so far and has provided benefits to each city.

International authority on urban change, Charles Landry, and his team conducted this extensive research across greater Adelaide. Charles has been a regular visitor to Adelaide and was invited as a cities expert in the State Government’s Thinker in Residence program in 2003.

The Creative City Index research was conducted through late 2013 and involved 10 workshops, over 400 surveys and conversations. These were targeted to those involved in creative industries, government and other fields from right across greater metropolitan Adelaide. 

The Creative City Index for Adelaide research involved:

Measurement of the City’s successes, challenges and opportunities against 10 domains;

  • Political & public framework
  • Distinctiveness, diversity, vitality and expression
  • Openness, trust, tolerance & accessibility
  • Entrepreneurship, exploration & innovation
  • Strategic leadership, agility & vision
  • Talent & learning landscape
  • Communication, connectivity & networking
  • The place & place-making
  • Liveability & well-being
  • Professionalism & effectiveness


  • Benchmarking against the 16 other Cities participating in the Index. These include Bilbao, Helsinki, Canberra, Perth, Oulu (a leading European high tech centre where the mobile phone was invented), Freiburg (Europe’s most ‘green’ city), Ghent, Taipei, San Sebastian, Cardiff, Seville, Coimbra, Gijón and Aviles.
  • Exploration of two or three central issues (such as how younger professionals view the prospects of Adelaide in relation to their own ambitions or how the culture of public or private sector organisations supports or constrains creativity).

Unique to the process undertaken in Adelaide, in March 2014 there was a follow-up survey to test the findings. This follow up was undertaken with those who completed the original survey or participated in a workshop. People were asked to review the full report and agree or disagree with the scores for each domain. There was overwhelming support for the findings and the opportunities identified.

Some Key Findings

Adelaide has some unique constraints and opportunities. Adelaide’s relative isolation from the other markets and small population means there is less critical mass in the local market, which poses particular challenges.

Adelaide’s key strengths were in the area of liveability and well-being.

Three key opportunities have been identified:

  • Creative eco system – to think holistically and laterally across greater Adelaide
  • Connecting opportunities – fostering inspired connections as a new form of power for the city
  • Global thinking – To ensure Adelaide is part of global conversations between cities.

The key opportunities are not about creating new projects, but rather about building on existing activities. Council has considered these results in formulating its Strategic Plan [INSERT link to Strategic Plan]

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