The intra-urban residential and workplace locations of small business owners

Darja Reuschke, Donald Houston

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The notion that buzz, creativity, diversity, openness and a sense of bohemia in cities are important to attract creative workers and entrepreneurs has grown in prominence both in academic literatures and in city economic development strategies. However, there is a disjuncture in the literature and dearth of evidence as to whether entrepreneurs seek bohemian (open, diverse) places in which to live or to locate their business. This study explores the kinds of neighborhood small business owners, in particular entrepreneurial small business owners, live and work in, and the extent to which their intra-urban locational patterns diverge from the general working population. Survey data of small business owners in Edinburgh (UK) uniquely capturing both business location and the residential location of the business owner, and Census data covering all workers with workplaces in Edinburgh are used. Findings support the attraction of some entrepreneurs to bohemian neighborhoods both as places to live and as places to work. Equally, however, findings stress the importance of a diversity of neighborhood types, including attractive suburban neighborhoods, due to business cycle and personal life course effects making non-bohemian neighborhoods also attractive to small business owners.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Early online date22 Jun 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 22 Jun 2020


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