Creative and Spatial Capital as Drivers of Economic Dynamism

Authors: Elizabeth Castillo*, Arizona State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Rural Geography, Tourism Geography
Keywords: spatial capital, capacity, capitals framework, integrated reporting, culture
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A fundamental goal of regional development is to produce social, environmental, and financial returns concurrently. To explain the dynamics of this production process, this mixed methods study examined a formal collaboration of 29 arts and cultural organizations in a historic urban park between 1999-2015. The purpose of the study was to understand how the backbone organization was able to grow its financial resources from $270,000 in 2003 to $5.5 million in 2015 to create a sustainable business model for ongoing operations. Using informed grounded theory design (Thornberg, 2012), the study collected quantitative and qualitative data, e.g., semi-structured interviews with 16 key informants and 600 pages of archival documents (e.g., meeting minutes, financial records, grant applications and reports to external stakeholders). Data were analyzed using a typology of 21 tangible and intangible forms of capital (Castillo, 2016). Results indicate a multi-level model of recursive resource transformation, i.e., input- mediator-output-input, where outputs developed at one level became new inputs at other levels (e.g., individual, organizational, network, community, field). Inputs included multiple forms of resources, particularly creative, social, and spatial capital. The case illuminates how strategic programming was used to activate latent forms of resources, subsequently creating new resources endogenously (political, cultural, reputational, and natural capital) to produce increasing financial returns. These findings are explained through a new theoretical framework, Resource Interdependence Theory, modeled on exchange processes found in nature. Mechanisms and processes that enabled simultaneous production of social, environmental, and financial returns are discussed, along with implications for sustainability and integrated reporting.

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