The emergence of a creative sector is one of the features of both a structural change of the world economy and society as well as the process of advancing metropolitanisation. Metropolitan areas are among those where this sector develops especially dynamically, and is turning into one of the most important markers of their competitiveness. The identification of mutual interdependencies between the process of accommodating creative knowledge and a competitiveness of metropolitan regions within the enlarged European Union has become a subject of an international research project called ACRE, implemented within the EU Sixth Framework Programme. The project's central question is: What are the conditions (in particular, the role of so-called 'soft' factors) for stimulating creative urban processes? The paper presents: a) an outline of the above mentioned project in the context of R. Florida's concept of a creative class and a creative city; b) preliminary results of the project on the example of the Poznan metropolitan region; c) challenges and implications for urban policy. The case of Poznan illustrates a character and typical features of creative processes in post-communist metropolises of East-Central Europe.
Keywords: competitiveness, urban policy, post-communist transition, Poznan, ACRE project, creative sector, metropolitan areas, Poland, creative cities, urban management