Cultural Strategies And Urban Regional Regeneration

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Cultural Strategies And Urban Regional Regeneration

  1. 1. CULTURAL STRATEGIES AND URBAN-REGIONAL REGENERATION John Lovering School of City and Regional Planning Cardiff University
  2. 2. The prehistory of cultural regeneration <ul><li>C20th Urbanism- the tradition of exploring the connections: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Benjamin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gramsci </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Munford </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Peter Hall </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The C21st notion of urban culture as something that policy makers can – and should - induce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Richard Florida ‘The Creative Class’ </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The academic background: the ‘rediscovery’ of culture <ul><li>The ‘cultural turn’ in the social sciences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture/civil society as the medium of economic interdependencies (Granovetter, etc. A.J.Scott/UCLA school..) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural specificity and the varieties of capitalism (Albrecht, David Coates…) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The idea of a late C20th ‘new phase’ of capitalist development centred on the commodification of space (H.Lefebvre) and of signs (F.Jameson) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The new policy orthodoxy favouring the cultural industries <ul><li>The early 1990s: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the notion that advanced (western) economies are driven by ‘symbolic analysts’ (Robert Reich), i.e. the ‘cultural industries’ broadly interpreted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The idea of ‘global’ cities as ‘post-industrial’ (Sassen, Castells, Tony Travers – London) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The mid 1990s: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the fashion for the ‘weightless’ economy (Geoff Mulgan, Tony Giddens) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The early 2000s: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the idea that ‘cultural industries’ in particular are particularly important and should receive special favours from policy makers (taken up by Blair government, CEC, and theorised by R.Florida) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The Consultants move in on the act.. <ul><li>The new policy formula: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture = Cultural Industries = the new ‘Creative Class’ = Innovation, dynamics, pluralism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So… ‘urban regeneration’ should mean measures that include promoting ‘Cultural Industries’ </li></ul>
  6. 6. The new cultural instrumentalism <ul><ul><li>‘’ the use of culture as an instrument for achieving wider social and economic goals is nowhere more apparent than in cities’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>R.Griffiths (2006) Evidence from the competition to select the European Capital of Culture 2008 European Planning Studies 14 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The new global urban policy discursive orthodoxy <ul><ul><li>The rhetoric of urban renaissance’ cities are back’ (Michael Parkinson) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cool, relaxed, creative,= prosperous, competitive (Richard Florida) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The British Government agrees
  9. 9. The new ‘culturalist’ sophistry (the world according to Richard Florida ….
  10. 10. The governance dimension: proliferation of urban policy makers <ul><ul><li>The ‘New Regionalism’ blurs into the new ‘City-regionalism’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sc ott, Storper, Soja, etc: there are ‘300+ city regions’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And the related rise of the Urban-Regional Service Class </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Together give rise to a a fashion for global ‘benchmarking’ – comparison of simple statistics for urban policy </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Consultants, and their clients, love making up lists…
  12. 13. ‘ Culture-led regeneration’ and ‘symbolic policy’
  13. 14. The economic effects <ul><li>Experience has been ambivalent: e.g.: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion of arts festivals: short term tourist boom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion of ‘arts districts’ – main effect a real estate boom (Barcelona, London, Dublin..) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many ‘displacement effects’ (from indigenous to imported/commodified culture, and from local to imported artists/performers) (the Galata project? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. The labour market effects <ul><li>Culture-led development is not automatically beneficial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ cultural industries ’tend to be even more elitist in employment terms than industries in general </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. London ethnic minority pop = 40%, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.Ms in cultural industries =11% </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 16. The social effects <ul><ul><li>Encouraging ‘cultural industries’ can often merely accelerate Gentrification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Globalisation of modes of consumption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘Starbucks’ phenomenon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exacerbating social divisions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(A paticularly hideous example: April 2006: The Rolling Stones play China = rock n’ roll for the rich </li></ul></ul>
  16. 17. The paradoxical cultural effects <ul><li>The ambivalence of instrumentalist policies for culture </li></ul><ul><li>Who chooses them? </li></ul><ul><li>What groups are involved in networks? </li></ul><ul><li>Where does the investment come from? </li></ul><ul><li>Common hazards: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of identikit ‘portable’ indicators of ‘culture’ (festivals, modern art galleries, promotional advertising etc – ‘what the other cities have got we must have too’ </li></ul>
  17. 18. Some other aspects of the emphasis on urban cultural strategy <ul><ul><li>A fetish for the Visual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neoliberalism and The Spectacle (Debord inverted) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Remaking Cities for the Gaze </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Daniel Bahrenbohm’s 2006 Reith Lectures) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A magnet for municipal politicians, marketers, the articulate arts/culture ‘community’, convergence with tourism and real estate interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>= ‘boosterism’ </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Nevertheless, its' global
  19. 21. Famous (UK) successes.. Manchester
  20. 22. Cultural icons of urban regeneration - London
  21. 23. Much exaggerated - Bilbao
  22. 24. Dubious - Cardiff
  23. 25. Where becoming ‘European Capital of Culture’ encourages property-development driven regeneration: Liverpool
  24. 26. The central dilemma <ul><li>City planners have few real economic powers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yet they increasingly have to act as if they do – urban-regional policy autonomy (a central component of the global neo-liberal policy orthodoxy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So: they are under pressure to focus efforts of high-visibility activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy is influenced by the Urban Service Class – including many ‘cultural layers’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing is more high visibility than ‘culture’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>= hence the slippage towards ‘ boosterism ’ </li></ul></ul>
  25. 27. Common consequences <ul><li>Diversion of public resources , esp. via planning, to activities which in reality have </li></ul><ul><li>Minor economic significance </li></ul><ul><li>Limited and uneven employment effects </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Ambivalent impact in terms of social inclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(equality of ‘respect’ - Richard Sennett) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Have high visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Are supported by and satisfy the most articulate and media-savvy elites (the ‘Begolu Bourgeoisie’?) </li></ul><ul><li>And converge with real estate interests – the key drivers of C21st urban regeneration </li></ul>
  26. 28. An alternative conceptualisation of the Cultural Industries <ul><li>Layer 1: everyday commodified popular culture (the ‘play economy’) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determinants: Private corporations, market regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Layer 2: ‘Formal arts and culture’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determinants: Publicly subsidised facilities and organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Layer 3: Related to Boosterism/Property development (typical examples: new sports stadia, casinos, galleries, conference centres…) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determinants: Speculators assessments, boosterist coalitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(J.Lovering (2006) Capital City University of Wales Press) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 29. So, cultural strategies and urban regeneration, rethinking the theory <ul><li>Much hype: causal directions ambiguous </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Florida– do ‘tolerant cities’ attract creative people and ‘cultural industries’ or is it the other way round? – Florida’s theory begs the real questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The economics of urban cultural strategies: in reality is mostly about enabling real estate development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(e.g. London-Olympics 2012) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The politics of urban cultural strategies: in reality tend to be mainly ‘symbolic’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to demonstrate visibly that the authorities are ‘ performing regeneration ‘ </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. The cultural ironies of ‘culture-led regeneration’ <ul><ul><li>Much (most?) culture-led urban regeneration is neither cultural nor about ‘regeneration’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But it is a globally convenient title for the (partisan) commodification of space and place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>=The ‘Starbuckisation’ of the planet? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. London’s Canary Wharf – a US-style office paradise; but very ‘suburban’ at street level.. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 32. The ‘new culturalist’ economic analysis – an American bias? <ul><li>. .. few have doubted* that the fundamentals of the US model – its enterprise culture, lightly regulated labour market competition between states and regions, world class science … openness to migrants .. provide the best strongest position for competitiveness over the next generation’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Florida and Tingali (2004) Europe in the Creative Age </li></ul></ul><ul><li>* actually, many doubt it </li></ul><ul><li>The analysis also often exaggerates the importance of private Service Sector industries in cities … </li></ul>
  30. 33. What the consultants never tell you: most of the new jobs in UK cities have come from the public sector
  31. 34. In reality its not so simple: even London still has nearly 300,000 in manufacturing
  32. 35. Concluding thoughts: The European Capital of Culture <ul><ul><ul><li>1: How to win it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasise social inclusion, and ‘the expression of local identity’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Liverpool: ‘ magnet for transatlantic migration’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bristol ‘ the world in one city’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(= same as London’s Olympic bid discourse) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Promise to ‘build bridges between communities’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Produce much publicity displaying happy diversity (ethnic, gender, age etc) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 36. 2: but don’t expect too much from it <ul><ul><ul><li>I:‘ Culture; here is narrowly defined (by whom?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ There is little sign.. of culture being viewed as a medium for collective emanciptaion, of culture s a file oppositional of struggle and resistance, of culture as a source of identities’ (Griffiths 2006) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>II: little recognition that the main economic impact of ‘culture-led regeneration’ is usually from </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(1) commodifying place (e.g. image and tourism) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(2) real estate - gentrification </li></ul></ul></ul>
  34. 37. Worrying signs in Istanbul <ul><li>Becoming European Capital of Culture 2010 will (according to www.istanbul2010.org) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boost ‘urban renewal’ and ‘create jobs’ (2/14) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boost tourist visitors and ‘the brand’ (6/14) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make Istanbullis more ‘art conscious and ‘proud of their city’ (2/14) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate Istanbul's ‘European significance’ (2/14) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Implications? Don’t hope for too much (unless you are a hotelier or real estate agent) </li></ul>
  35. 38. Summary: not ‘culture-led regeneration’ but an explicit cultural strategy <ul><ul><li>Panglossian claims (a la Richard Florida) are usually based on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Little evidence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Muddled causalities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>US-centric visions of urbanism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neo-liberal assumptions about urban development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2: A cultural strategy should be just that – have explicit cultural goals, not be a disguised ‘real estate/tourism’ strategy </li></ul></ul>

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