Roundtable I

Thursday 27 May, 18.30-20.00 hrs

Accommodating highly-skilled workers in European cities

Round table organiser: Professor Mari Vaattovaara, University of Helsinki



Knowledge and “creativity” is considered vital for developing new economic activities. In the ACRE project we have investigated how cities can foster new economic activity and be competitive, focusing on how they can attract creative and knowledge intensive workers and industries. In recent debates, according to some views, the talented workers have been considered as crucial actors that shape the economy, and their expectations on the city have been the centre of attention.

The round table aims to discuss what makes cities around Europe attractive for innovative talent. What factors are important in the city for the creative knowledge workers when choosing where to live and work? Are “soft” location factors relevant for attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers, as some scholars, notably Richard Florida has argued?

The round table discusses the research results from four different metropolitan regions involved in the ACRE project: Amsterdam, Dublin, Helsinki and Munich. The ACRE researchers shortly introduce the main findings of their research, and invited experts from the same cities reflect on the results from their own professional viewpoint. Together all participants will then discuss the differences and similarities of the expectations of creative knowledge workers across Europe. What drives the creative knowledge workers to settle in the city regions? How well equipped are the different cities to answer to the needs of the workers? Are the strengths and challenges of the cities similar or different across Europe? Also the implications of the ACRE research results will be discussed.


Participants in the round table:

Marco Bontje, assistant professor in urban geography at the Department of Geography,

Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam

Joke Van Antwerpen, director, The Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM)


Enda Murphy, researcher and lecturer, School of Geography, Planning and

Environmental Policy at University College Dublin
Jamie Cudden, research manager, Dublin City Council


Mari Vaattovaara, professor of urban geography, University of  Helsinki

Timo Cantell, professor of art management, Sibelius Academy / research manager,

City of Helsinki


Anne von Streit, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Geography, Ludwig-

Maximilians-University of Munich

LOP, to be confirmed