City Dispatch: Buenos Aires

City Dispatch: Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, home of Tango, Queen Máxima -of Netherlands-, Evita and Pope Francis; is a world-class metropolis with an eclectic and vibrant rhythm. Including its surroundings, the City of Buenos Aires -AKA: ‘The Capital’- is the richest city in Argentina, and the second most populated metropolitan area in South America, hosting around 15 million citizens.




Matias Figliozzi

As any big city, Buenos Aires has a rich cultural life, always convulsed with festivals, street art, milongas, film sets, numerous bookstores and the highest concentration of theaters in the world. The City’s architecture and abundant coffee-shops makes it feel pretty European, which is why it was historically known as the “Paris of South America”.

Culturally, Buenos Aires was forged by massive waves of European immigrants starting in the mid-19th century attracted by the promise of a dream of prosperity. Thus, the majority of porteños (as we call ourselves) have European origins, with Italian, Spanish and German roots; even though since the second half of the 20th century new immigrants came from other countries such as neighboring Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Perú and Chile. As a result, Buenos aires identity mixes latin american passion (and unpunctuality!) with spanish late dinners and Italian behavior. When you come to this side of the world, long late nightlife and friendly conversations become the norm, as well as amazing steaks and wine.

"In Buenos Aires entrepreneurship is blossoming. Only in the past six years, over 10,000 entrepreneurs went through oficial fostering programs, and new business are being opened every day."

This cross-road of diverse backgrounds, people, histories and ethnicities, plus our recurrent political and economic crisis, conceived the distinctive creative and adaptive personality of locals.

Buenos Aires is part of a group of cities that reinvented themselves to overcome crisis, like the Colombian Medellin, the Brazilians Recife, Sao Paulo and Rio, as well as the Chilean Santiago; communities where citizens did not hesitate appeal to their entrepreneurial spirit to seek solutions to situations that seemed to have no way out by conventional means.

In Buenos Aires entrepreneurship is blossoming. Only in the past six years, over 10,000 entrepreneurs went through oficial fostering programs, and new business are being opened every day.

Classic drivers of growth such as manufacturing are being progressively replaced by creative industries and entrepreneurship, whose raw material is the capacity to create and innovate, consolidating the city as a post-industrial economy.

In recent years, the Buenos Aires’ City Government has been extremely active in the promotion and development of the local creative economy (recognized by UNESCO in 2005). At the heart of public Policies lies the Districts’ Plan, a creative clusters’ development programme, which combines urban planning with creative business incubation, tax benefits and investment. Creative districts have been implemented in postponed city areas including the technology, design, arts and audiovisual production clusters representing 3.000 hectares and supporting 150.000 jobs.

The impact of this investment is already showing its effect on the City’s current and future configuration. The creative industries represents around 10% of city’s GDP and is growing at a rate higher than It’s general economy. Most projecting sectors are the Fashion Industry (with many new talented designers), the ICT sector, VideoGames, the traditional films and entertainment industry, as well as the publishing industry.

However, like all cities in the latin american region, Buenos Aires has its share of inequality and infrastructure headaches. But is making strides towards becoming more efficient, cleaner, more innovative, and yes, looking forward to squeeze all that talent.

Matias Figliozzi is Economist and entrepreneur, from a traditional Argentine family of artists, movie directors and actresses. He Is dedicated to public policies and innovation development and is advisor in business and creative economy.

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