Techavimol, Pawana and John Walsh, “Creative Industries and Urban Structure: Seoul and Bangkok,” paper presented at the 4th International Colloquium on Business and Management (Bangkok: January, 2011).
As states look to move towards the knowledge-based economy as a means of prolonging competitive advantages first obtained from labour-intensive, export-oriented manufacturing, the role of creative industries becomes increasingly important. These industries are variously defined and may be problematic in terms of their actual contribution to the overall economy but, nevertheless, facilitating their smooth functioning is held to be one of the state’s principal economic roles in the years ahead. This requires the creation of a form or forms of infrastructure that will support the creative industries and the fostering of links between them and the education system and labour market, such that the latter produce what is required by the former. The city in East Asia which has most consciously and actively pursued the means of causing the growth of creative industries is Seoul. This has necessitated the creation and implementation of a wide range of policies, in addition to affecting the physical growth of the city. As the authorities of Thailand’s city Bangkok look to the next round of growth beyond the East Asian Economic Model, the example of Seoul burns brightly. Yet there are various problems in following the Seoul example, ranging from the nature of the education system, the inability of metropolitan authorities to separate politics from planning decisions and the persistence of the value of low-labour cost manufacturing operations. This paper evaluates the nature of the Seoul model and the implications this has for the recreation of Bangkok in an environment in which the entire city may have to be abandoned to the elements.