Culture as a rocket fuel for urban regeneration

A ROCK webinar

22nd November 2019

The last ROCK webinar of 2019 will look at culture-led regeneration practices in European cities.

In recent years, culture-led regeneration has gained popularity as a means of reversing urban decline by re-branding cities. Culture is used as a development strategy in many European cities, especially those where de-industrialisation hit harder. Culture can also become a means to attract capital, to improve the image of the city, and to promote unity and cooperation. Without necessarily building flagship cultural venues, cities are betting on culture and use it to re-brand themselves. This webinar will discuss well-known examples of cities using culture for urban regeneration purposes and examine some of the consequences of culture-led urban regeneration.

Liverpool (ROCK role model city): the European Capital of Culture title awarded to Liverpool in 2008 led to a massive investment in culture and events. The national and international reputation of the city continues to be influenced by this title a decade on. Commissioned by Liverpool City Council, Impacts 08 was a joint research initiative of the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, which from 2005-2010 evaluated the social, cultural, economic and environmental effects of Liverpool’s hosting the European Capital of Culture title in 2008. The research proved how, since its hosting of the title in 2008, Liverpool has asserted its cultural renaissance. Dr Beatriz Garcia, who directed the research, will present the case.

Nantes suffered from deindustrialisation in the 1980s, especially the Island of Nantes, when the shipyards were abandoned. The brownfield led to a decline in social cohesion and sense of belonging. Since the early 1990s, local policy-makers have been pioneers in using culture (and later creative industries) as a driver for territorial change and growth. The Island of Nantes is now host to a vivid creative ecosystem. Coordinated by the urban redevelopment agency in charge of the island of Nantes, SAMOA, who will present the case, the creative cluster aims to build bridges with higher education and research, leading a network of actors and partners involved in scientific and technological culture, and structure and lead the creative enterprises network.

We will also discuss the role of culture in sustainable city planning and how can culture policies contribute to more just, sustainable and healthy cities. Many urban networks and organisations are already responding to the need for sustainable city planning, for example the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability which develops novel research that builds on urban planning and policy, social inequality, and development studies. What then is the role of culture? Culture is a means to support a city vision which is intelligent, citizen-centred, socially-just and environmentally sustainable. This part of the webinar will learn from the case studies and cities who are convening culture and environment through city planning and development.

You can already register here and watch this space for more information. 

Author: Houpert Cecile - EUROCITIES