Category Archives: Rethinking Cities

Understanding Cultural Geography as a Pseudo-Diffusion Process: The Case of the Veneto Region

In this paper, we study the cultural geography of the Veneto Region on the basis of a pseudo-diffusion approach to the analysis of the inherent semantic spatial data. We find somewhat surprising results, and, in particular, that Venice, indisputably the Region’s cultural hub in terms of concentration of activities and facilities, global visibility and attraction of resources, plays a marginal role in determining the momentum of cultural initiative at the regional level as of 2007 data. Continue reading Understanding Cultural Geography as a Pseudo-Diffusion Process: The Case of the Veneto Region

Culture driven policies and revaluation of local cultural assets: A tale of two cities, Otaru and Yubari

Management of cultural heritage is an issue that is attracting increasing attention worldwide, as emphasis shifts from pure conservation issues to issues of future sustainability of heritage sites. Experience seems to suggest that it is difficult to preserve heritage sites without embedding them into a cultural vital social and economic environment, whereas at the same time there is the risk that, by putting excessive focus on the economic dimension, they are turned into theme parks with gradual loss of authenticity and progressive disintegration of their cultural and historical value. This paper tackles these issues through a comparative study of two Japanese heritage cities, Otaru and Yubari, both in the Hokkaido Island of the Japanese archipelago. Continue reading Culture driven policies and revaluation of local cultural assets: A tale of two cities, Otaru and Yubari

Understanding culture-led local development: A critique of alternative theoretical explanations

In this paper we carry out a meta-analytic review of the literature on culture-led local development models.We identify and discuss three typical fallacies characterising mono-causal culture-led development schemes: instrumentalism, over-engineering, and parochialism. Continue reading Understanding culture-led local development: A critique of alternative theoretical explanations

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

Culture as an Engine of Local Development Processes: System-Wide Cultural Districts I: Theory

Building on the early works of Alfred Marshall, analyses of local economies have emphasized the spatial function of clusters and industrial districts in terms of external economies of localization and agglomeration. Recent literature has emphasized the importance of culture and the complementarities between culture and local tangible and intangible assets. This paper aims to provide an analytical foundation for these processes with a view to developing tools for policy design, analysis and evaluation. By “system-wide cultural districts,” we refer to a new approach to local development where cultural production and participation present significant strategic complementarities with other production chains. Continue reading Culture as an Engine of Local Development Processes: System-Wide Cultural Districts I: Theory

Culture 3.0: A new perspective for the EU 2014-2020 structural funds programming

In spite of the multiplication of successful examples of culture-led local and regional development across Europe and elsewhere (e.g. Sacco et al., 2008, 2009), there is a widespread perception that the role and potential of culture in the overall European long-term competitiveness strategy is still seriously underrecognized (CSES, 2010). This reflects in the difficulty to bring cultural policy issues at the top ranks of the broader policy agenda, and consequently explains why the share of structural funds devoted to culture badly fails to match the share of cultural and creative sectors in total EU value added. Continue reading Culture 3.0: A new perspective for the EU 2014-2020 structural funds programming

The Social Viability of Culture-led Urban Transformation Processes: Evidence from the Bicocca District, Milan

This paper investigates the relationships between cultural activities/investments and urban transformation processes, with reference to the transformation of the Bicocca district in the metropolitan core of Milan. Continue reading The Social Viability of Culture-led Urban Transformation Processes: Evidence from the Bicocca District, Milan

The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City

An Approach to Cultural Policy in Vancouver
I. Introduction: building competitive advantage for the nascent Vancouver knowledge economy
(…) In a knowledge economy, the reasoning abilities of teenagers may be seen as a key component of the economy’s and society’s “intangible infrastructure”, i.e. as a key factor of competitiveness. Sophisticated cognitive abilities are in fact necessary both on the supply and demand sides: to produce knowledge-intensive goods and
services, and to use and enjoy them in a meaningful, satisfactory way. Measuring how such abilities are being developed by teenagers gives us an interesting view of
the future prospects of specific knowledge economies. Continue reading The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City

European Culture Capitals and Local Development Strategies: Comparing the Genoa and Lille 2004 Cases

European capitals of culture have become a case study of primary inter-est for those concerned with the assessment of the long-run impact of systematic cultural policies. Starting from the first edition 1985, highly diverse cities have been chosen for this program, each one carrying its own socio-economic background, its endowment of cultural capital and so on. Consequently, different cities have chosen and implemented very different models of culture capitals, thereby generating different local impacts both in a short- and long-run perspective. The two cities nominated for 2004, Genoa and Lille, provide the basis for an interesting comparative study in that they have opted for very different models. Continue reading European Culture Capitals and Local Development Strategies: Comparing the Genoa and Lille 2004 Cases