A top-down creation of a cultural cluster for urban regeneration : The case of OCT Loft, Shenzhen

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Jung Won Sonn
  • Kelly Wanjing Chen
  • He Wang
  • Xiao Liu

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Journal / PublicationLand Use Policy
Online published23 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


Researchers of related topics agree that the large-scale top-down development of a creative cluster by a real estate developer may obstruct rather than facilitate creativity and creative entrepreneurialism. OCT Loft, a design industry park in Shenzhen, China, is being celebrated as an exception. Based on analyses of primary and secondary data, we find that the Loft’s success can be attributed to two factors. First, the choice of design as the target industry was appropriate. Design is a fast-growing industry and thus needs space for expansion. Second, the developer chose tenants with good reputations in the industry rather than those offering the highest rent. Both these factors are difficult to implement. First, a growing industry is hard to find in a city where urban regeneration is needed. Second, the majority of developers cannot pass up maximising rent for a good reputation as OCT did. Indeed, OCT was able to pursue the Loft’s creative success because giving a good impression to potential clients was expected to result in future opportunities that would raise profit further. In sum, a large-scale top-down development can facilitate creative entrepreneurialism but only when the developer is not hasty in demanding an immediate return on investment.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Creative industry cluster, Cultural industry cluster, Design industry, Overseas Chinese Town (OCT), Shenzhen, Urban regeneration