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The role of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factors for accommodating creative knowledge: insights from Dublin's ‘creative class’

Enda Murphy, Declan Redmond


The idea of the creative knowledge city has received considerable attention in the last number of years, not only in the academic literature but also from urban policymakers. Much of the attention has centred on the ‘creative class’ thesis and its relevance for regional economic growth. By taking the thesis at face value, this paper empirically analyses the extent to which Dublin’s creative knowledge workers conform or otherwise to the characteristics of the ‘creative class’. Thus, we investigate the satisfaction of Dublin’s creative knowledge workers with the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factors associated with the city’s living environment. We also analyse the most important reasons attracting creative knowledge workers to the Dublin region. In addition, the paper also explores the mobility of Dublin’s creative knowledge workers within the context of locational and workplace mobility. The results show that workers within the creative knowledge class are attracted to Dublin on the basis of classic factors: employment availability, family and birthplace. ‘Soft’ factors play an important role in the decision-making process of only a small minority of workers.

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