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Designers, musicians, actors, artists and other creative professionals are a catalyst for growth – creating new businesses, enhancing existing ones and attracting new residents with their performances, designs, murals and other contributions to urban vibrancy. An investment in a city’s creative economy is an investment in its long-term growth and vitality.
New York City is a testament to this virtuous cycle. Recent employment growth has been driven by creative industries, including a 53 percent jump in film & television, 33 percent in architecture, 26 percent in the performing arts, 24 percent in advertising and 24 percent in visual arts. A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future found that employment in New York’s creative economy – consisting of ten industries (advertising, film and television, broadcasting, publishing, architecture, design, music, visual arts, performing arts and independent artists, writers and performers) and 25 occupations – grew by 13 percent over the last decade, from 260,770 to 295,755. Over this period, New York’s share of national creative sector jobs grew from 7.1 percent to 8.6 percent.
Moreover, the city’s creative sector has propelled its recent tech boom, with New York ad-, media-, art-, fashion-, design- and music-tech companies all achieving considerable success over the last decade. From Doubleclick and AppNexus to Buzzfeed and Gawker, from Artsy and Electric Objects to Gilt and Warby Parker, from Etsy and MakerBot to Next Big Sound and Genius—in nearly every creative field, the leaders in e-commerce, data analytics, social media and other tech enabled innovations have launched their companies in New York. These companies have leveraged New York’s pipeline of creative talent to build global enterprises.
Too often, however, the creative sector is a victim of its own success. Gravitating to affordable neighborhoods, creative professionals have become an emblem of gentrification, attracting interest in a new area while ultimately pricing themselves out. From SoHo to Chelsea, the East Village to Williamsburg, in cities like New York this is a recurring theme.