Amenities , subcultures , and entrepreneurship

An influential stream of research notes the importance of the culture and attractiveness of a place in creating a supportive environment where competition, creativity, and entrepreneurship can flourish. However, what specific kind of culture is attractive and actually needed remains both unknown and controversial. While several scholars have stressed the general importance of diversity and a vibrant cultural life, this paper attempts to introduce a new and complementary perspective that puts the role of subcultural scenes at the center of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Social and economic innovations have always been pushed forward by the pioneering subgroup of “creative destructors” that share values and beliefs that are different from the establishment. Thus, we believe that, instead of culture as a whole, it might be more promising to take a closer look at subcultures and their influence on urban creative and entrepreneurial scenes. We test this hypothesis by deploying exploratory factor analysis to compare the impact of different measures of subcultural amenities compared with the traditional measures used to reflect “mainstream” culture on start-up rates in the 69 largest cities in Germany. Our findings confirm the main hypothesis posited in this paper that the co-presence of subcultural amenities is positively associated with entrepreneurship. By contrast, mainstream culture has no significant impact on local start-up rates. These findings make an important contribution to the recent controversy within the regional study literature and provide insights and guidance for thought leaders in policy and urban planning.

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