Culture as an Engine of Local Development Processes: System-Wide Cultural Districts II: Prototype Cases

Building upon the companion paper in this issue, this essay analyses five case studies that can be taken as prototypes of the system-wide cultural district culture-led developmental model. The research targets five cities in Europe and the U.S.: Valencia, Austin, Newcastle/Gateshead, Linz, and Denver. Each presents specific characteristics but also some deep, structural common traits. The case studies are compared and their future viability is evaluated in terms of the factors presented in the companion piece.

Article by PIER LUIGI SACCO, GUIDO FERILLI, GIORGIO TAVANO BLESSI, MASSIMILIANO NUCCIO
Published in Growth and Change Vol. 44 No. 4 (December 2013), pp. 571–588

From the Conclusions (excerpt)
(…) The five case studies are very different from one another, and yet share commonalities. Is there any lesson that can be drawn by comparing them? In spite of the differences in terms of their environments, economies, and cultures, a powerful common trait that runs throughout their developmental narratives is that in order for growth to occur, the local social dynamics of the production and transmission of knowledge must cease to be sector specific and become system wide. In this sense, the five cases can be considered exemplars of a common SWCD logic. The developmental cycle can be sparked either from the top-down or from the bottom-up, depending on the specific context, even if some top-down rationalisation must intervene in the early stages to make it systematic and structurally coherent. Another common feature is the development of public–private partnerships of various kinds. In the European context, these tend to support public actions, but not to supersede it, whereas in the U.S., public action typically operates as a catalyst for private initiatives, which in the advanced stages assume a leadership role.(…).

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