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