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Supporting Rhode Island’s creative economy has long been an important part of the state’s self-image – the creation of arts districts in 1998 is only the most obvious example.
However, even more can be done by the towns and cities that want to attract more creative-sector businesses.
Pawtucket and Providence, both with urban cores that hold significant Industrial Revolution-era real estate ripe for redevelopment, have made names for themselves up and down the East Coast as being helpful to artists, not to mention cheap.
But the two cities have been engaged in their own form of friendly competition, as they specialize in offering different kinds of space to the creative types. Providence is known more for its live-work spaces, according the city administration, while Pawtucket has been a little more supportive of new businesses looking to set up shop.
Competition being the soul of innovation, this is all to the good, for the artists, and more importantly, the state. Now the other 37 municipalities should keep that in mind as they devise their own economic-development strategies. •