Recent theories on regional creative capacity often focus on urban regions without taking into account rural regions. In addition, the application of such analyses to rural regions may lead to misrepresentation or misunderstanding of rural creative capacity. Against this background, the aim of the present study is to integrate the existing literature on different components of creative capacity, namely, knowledge, innovation, entrepreneurship and networks, in order to build a more comprehensive framework for rural creative capacity and its evaluation. In the light of the perspective from the empirical literature review on the evaluation of creative capacity in rural regions, various empirical measurements seem to misrepresent or underestimate the creative capacity of rural regions. Therefore, there is a clear need to use the locality in relation to its dynamics, i.e. tacit knowledge, cultural heritage and social and physical environment as the main and basic measurement unit for creative capacity analysis. 2010 Taylor & Francis.