Zoe Catherine


Creative City vs Creative Town: Are Creative City policies a sustainable route of development in the town of Drogheda, Co. Louth?

Creative city theorists repeatedly place the creative industries at the core of urban development, wherein urban and economic progress is accelerated by innovating through creative and cultural policies and their application.

This thesis explores the current cultural policy of County Louth regarding culture led development, and notes the similarities and differences to international Creative City policy through comparative analysis. In an effort to determine if Creative City methods and culture led development are sustainable on small city/town scale, a case study was conducted on the town of Drogheda, Co. Louth (DRAWDA Trail, St. Laurence Gate). The sustainability of creative led initiatives centres around fostering and developing local arts and community creativity, as literature finds they are the foundation of creative industries. 

Developed by UNESCO and World Bank, the Creative Cities framework is designed to help cities enhance their creative industries by implementing a set of guided principles to create a working creative city model for sustainable economic development and growth. As a result, urban development policy and planning centred around the creative industries as tools of urban development have become more common in cities around the world, and in Ireland on both a national and regional scale. 

However, many of these policies and academic research refer exclusively to large metropolitan areas. While there are academic studies available on this subject, they mainly consider cities in the USA, Canada and Australia.

This research contributes to the existing literature on the relationship between the creative industries and small cities/towns, and the effect they have on the towns development in an Irish context.

The case study of Drogheda adopts five dimensions of analysis previously used in the study of small cities (governance, national and built environment, social and symbolic capital, economic activities and cultural facilities and connectivity), and investigates various cultural activities and spaces in the town to ascertain the contribution they make to the local economy and community. The research found that policies employed in the town through cultural activities and local enterprise indicate a strong basis of development in the town.

Image: Boann Mural- Photo Credit, Love Drogheda Twitter, 2021.