Throughout the last two decades, cultural quarters have been used by many local councils across the UK as attempts to redevelop and revitalize declining urban centres. Cities have spent millions of pounds developing cultural quarter policies, justified by the prevailing rhetoric of culture revitalizing the local economy and the creation of a “cultural milieu” that stimulates creative industry activity. However, in many cases in the UK, visitor numbers remain lower than expected, and in some cases, flagship projects have been sold off or closed down. High rents force out small and freelance creative industry actors, and (non-commercial) artistic interventions are strictly policed. Forming part of the wider debate on the political circumscription of the creativity paradigm, this paper argues that cultural quarters have been viewed within a predominately economistic, dichotomous and simplistic framework. This paper argues that there is a need for a more practiced-based, subjective account of cultural quarters that goes beyond such a traditional framework to include more deleterious practices such as community impoverishment, precariousness and short-termism.