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Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - article


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Artikel voor conferentie Shrinkage in Europe 2011 - Universiteit van Amsterdam, OECD/COST Action. Auteurs: Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde

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Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - article

  1. 1. Shrinkage and culture as a tool tocounteract itYvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde – January 20111. Creative economy‘The creative economy’ has become a focus of local policies in ever more cities. Initially inspired bythe widely acknowledged, and subsequently often criticized, theory of Richard Florida (2000), policyis developed to uplift certain areas or boost the local economy. Attracting the ‘creative class’ hasbecome one of the vanguards of urban policy worldwide and the competition for the creative classhas become an ever more global one.According to UNCTAD (2008), the creative economy (or: creative industries) is one of the mostdynamic in the world and thus also considered to be of great opportunity for developing countries.Worldwide, (trans) national and local policy is made to uplift certain places or boost the economy(Zukin, 2010). However, Charles Landry (2007) argues there is no such thing as a recipe for citymaking. Berlin, for example, is often considered to be the #1 creative city in Europe. During a ‘talk ofthe town’ meeting in September 2010 in Amsterdam, representatives of Berlin were questioned onthe success and fail factors in creating and advertising a cultural climate that draws so many creativepeople from all over the world adding to the thriving local atmosphere. Berlin’s ‘lessons’ appeared tobe quite unsatisfying to the audience; representatives of Berlin’s local authority claim that Berlin’ssuccess story is more coincidental, than a result of a consciously planned policy action.When exploring the local creative class in Berlin, it appears they often earn their money elsewhere,so not adding to the local economy. Moreover, policy aimed at attracting the international corporaterepresentatives of the creative economy (around the Spree area for instance) is often also the deathsentence for the creative entrepreneurs (pioneers) already there.Florida’s follow-up research on the creative class (2005) indicates the flight of creativity, fuelling thecompetition for this globally footloose creative class. He predicts a new global competition for talent,which will reshape the world in the coming decades; a competition revolving around the nation’sability to mobilize, attract and retain human creative talent. Cities are challenged to obtain andperpetuate an eligible position in the global hierarchy to attract the creative class that is willing andable to travel and settle all over the world, such as the increasing number of Dutch architectsrelocating in China or dj/producers from all over the world to Berlin.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 1 of 10
  2. 2. 2. Creative economy – a must-haveSince the creative economy is considered to be a catalyst for local economy, it is quiteunderstandable every city wants a piece of the action. Attracting the creative class and boosting thecreative economy has become an almost indispensable part of urban policy in the western world,with fierce competition among cities on a regional level, but also on a (trans) national one. Amongthese competitors are several shrinking cities, for instance Essen, Liverpool and Manchester. Essenand Liverpool have both been ‘cultural capital of Europe’ (Essen in 2010, Liverpool in 2008).This poses a couple of different questions we will look into.- Why do cities turn to culture / the creative economy as a tool in opposing shrinkage.- What are their strategies; how is ‘culture’ used as a tool in policy and what are the checks and balances involved?- How come shrinking cities assume they are able to take up competition with cities that seem to have a much better position in this? Do shrinking cities or shrinking regions stand a chance – and, if yes, why?Our article focuses on the issue of shrinkage and the strategy of shrinking cities to counteract this ondifferent levels, especially culture and creative economy. On meta-level we will focus on culture andcreative economy as a policy tool. However, we will use the case study of the Dutch city of Heerlen tobe able to give more specific answers on our questions. Other shrinking cities are used as reference.According to Landry (2007), the more creative city has an overall atmosphere that projects vistas ofchance encounter, possibility, can-do, surprise, the unexpected, the challenging and the clash of theugly and the beautiful. This city also attends to the quintessentially ordinary (though increasinglyextraordinary): affordable housing and ranges of housing choices at different prices; conveniencestores selling basic products like bread and tea near to the urban core; flourishing neighbourhoodswith strong identities; fast and frequent public transport; and gathering places and walkability. Tomake these possibilities come true requires civic creativity, because it involves using the regulationsand incentives regime to bend the market logic to bigger goals. The vast number of shops in Parisonly exists because they have been encouraged over time. (Landry, 2007)3. Shrinking cities using culture as a toolAfter the textile industry withered and other business departed, Manchester has tried to put itselfback on the map through cultural institutions and events. There is the Lowry Centre (theatre and artgalleries); the Imperial War Museum North (designed by Daniel Libeskind); a bid to host the OlympicGames (2000) and the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2002. Elsewhere in the city, derelictwarehouses and other buildings that are left empty have been bought up and converted to officesand loft apartments. The music scene in Manchester flourished and also found room in emptybuildings, in one of them the infamous club Hacienda was founded. Manchester became well knownfor its music scene, which helped shifting the negative image the city had. Along with the musicscene, several urban cultures emerged and flourished.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 2 of 10
  3. 3. Liverpool, geographically neighbouring Manchester, but historically in hefty competition with it, waswell known as port city and thus the logistical centre for the industry in the neighbouring areas. Itwas a city with a vast majority of cheap, unskilled employment. When the port became less viable, itappeared difficult to compensate the employment loss this with other business, and in the mid-Eighties, the city was bankrupt. The European Union has been subsidizing Liverpool since the mid-Nineties and as well as Manchester, Liverpool has turned to cultural institutions as to catalyze theurban economy. There is a branch of the Tate Gallery; its own Biennial; and 2008, Liverpool wascultural capital of Europe in 2008.Essen, part of the Ruhr Valley, where cities have grown around Germany’s huge industrialsettlements, has largely gone through the same development. Because Germany was betterprepared for the transformation in the industries, the shift towards the service sector proved to beeasier. However, Essen (and the rest of the Ruhr Valley) is still struggling with population loss. Largeindustrial plants have been reconverted in a heritage area with several museums, galleries, cafes andshops, and the Ruhr Valley as a whole was cultural capital in 2010.Shrinking cities clearly busy themselves with what Landry (2007) refers to as an emerging repertoireto use culture or arts in city development, recently broadened to include ‘creative quarters’ (usuallyrefurbished old industrial buildings in inner city fringe areas) and attracting big events. Since theseold industrial buildings, and space of any kind in that matter, is no problem and the need foreconomic regeneration is very much there, this seems to be a logical strategy.In the next section we discuss our case, the Dutch city of Heerlen, situated in the former mining areaParkstad Limburg. Heerlen used to be one of the wealthiest cities of the Netherlands, sinc it lies atthe heart of the former Dutch mining area. Around 1965 this economic base diminished along withthe associated industries. Heerlen characteristically shows many aspects of a shrinking city: after theclosure of the Dutch coalmines it has seen massive loss of employment, migration of its workingpopulation and an ageing population left behind. Just recently, Heerlen has started to promote itselfas a creative city. We examine the cultural profile of Heerlen and aim to compare this with otherexamples of shrinking cities that want to attract creative industry.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 3 of 10
  4. 4. 4. Heerlen, shrinkage and cultureIn this section we present data on demography, policy on culture and creative industry in Heerlen.4.a. DemographyThe following facts are abstracted from the “key figures Heerlen 2009”. Demographically Heerlen isshrinking, as may be seen in table 1 below. We find fewer persons in categories 0-19 year and 20-44year. The number of persons in categories 45-65+ is rising sharply. The total population has declinedwith 4664 persons in the periode 1990-2009. Age 1990 1995 2000 2005 2009 % 2009 0-19 year 20801 20712 20315 19220 17372 19.4 % 20-44 year 38025 37570 34404 31449 28419 31.8 % 45-64 year 21398 22662 24323 25638 26792 30 % 65 + year 13825 15270 15966 16278 16802 18.8 % Total 94049 96214 95144 92585 89385 100 %Figure 1 – Heerlen population development 1990-2009The population structure regarding native/immigrant persons in 2009 is presented in table 2.Residents in Heerlen are mainly native and western immigrants; only 7.7% are non-westernimmigrants. Other Non Dutch German Belgium western western 72.5% 10.3% 1.4% 8% 7,7%Figure 2 – Heerlen population on natives/immigrantsThe local workforce consists of 60201 persons in 2009. In table 3 we give the data on various kind ofunemployment. NWW stands for persons that are not working and not searching for work. WWBstands for anyone who is unemployed. Notice that unemployment is decreasing rapidly. 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Workforce 62394 61741 61032 60361 60201 NWW 6886 6993 5715 4919 4626 WWB 4363 4416 3948 3735 3532Figure 3 – Heerlen workforce and unemploymentShrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 4 of 10
  5. 5. Heerlen has a relatively low-income population, as may be seen in tabel 4 (in Euro and %) < 950 950 – 1300 1300-1900 1900-3150 3150 > Unknown 10% 16% 23% 26% 12% 15%Table 4 – Heerlen population & incomeWe conclude that Heerlen shows many aspects of a shrinking city, including aging, low-income andunemployment, the last of which is decreasing.4.b. Culture and creative industryTNO (2005) has examined the options for an enhancement of creative economy (creative industry) inthe socalled Southern Tripool, consisting of Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen and Heerlen. Given the factthat traditional economy (based on industry) is diminishing in the south of Limburg, what are thepossibilities for an alternative economy based on culture and creativity? In 2004 the creative industryin these cities offer 4057 jobs, or 2.3% of the total economy. In the Netherlands as a whole, thecreative economy accounts for 2.9%. The Tripool creative industry accounts for 163 ml Euro, or 1.9%of the total economic value in the regions. The number of businesses in the creative industry inTripool seems to grow much faster than the number of jobs (3.9% vs. 0.7% on annual basis).As TNO (2004) pointed out, the slow rated growth of jobs in the Tripool creative industry is notevenly shared among the three cities. Due to the clustering of media- and entertainment businessesin Sittard-Geleen the number of creative jobs rose to 8.9% there, while Maastricht (0%) and Heerlen(-3.6%) did not benefit.In Heerlen 962 persons had jobs in 2004 in the creative industry, which ranks the city third, afterMaastricht and Sittard-Geleen. Strong aspects of culture and creative industry in Heerlen are themany theatres, stages and musea, including the number of events and festivals in the city and inParkstad. However, Heerlen does not have a clear focus of creative industry. TNO concludes that theTripool creative industry is too small and fragile in structure and scale as an alternative for thetraditional economy and industry. Even so, there are interesting options within the Tripool forclustering of program, which may have positive effects on economy, culture, society and urban policyfor the three cities combined.Heerlen has taken the results as a starting point for its policy on creative industry. In the remainderof this section we briefly discuss the aspects of cultural infrastructure, young urban culture, creativeentrepeneurship and businesses, Heerlen as cultural city for visitors, and, finally, culture and citizenparticipation.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 5 of 10
  6. 6. 4.c. Cultural infrastructureTheatre, Film, Cultural events and Art, Architecture Cultural Heritage, Media Community arts,Music festival Design Amateurs, CultureLiterature & educationo Theater o International o Stadsgalerij o Openbare Bibliotheek o ’t Patronaat Heerlen Breakdance Event o Vitruvianum o Rijckheyt o Spinaziebliko Nieuwe o Cultura Nova o Signe o Thermenmuseum o Platform Nor o Booch? o (Smederij) o Kasteel Hoensbroek Amateurkunsto Filmhuis o Taptoe o Ateliers o Nederlands Mijnmuseum o Muziekschool De Spiegel o Dag van de Kempkensw o Heemkundeverenigingen o School of Hipo Literair Amateurkunsten eg o Radio Parkstad Hop café o Pemitochi o Galeries o Uitkranten o HeeArto Glaspaleis o Euriadefestival o St. o Uit in Parkstad o Crosstowno Jazz on the o Charlemagne Music Atelierbehe Limburg Roof Festival er o Cultuurscoutso Charles o Streetlife o Platform Parkstad Hennen o Smederijfestival Koeltoer o Verenigingen: Concours o Het Grote o Harmonieo Platform Verlangen fanfare (13) Koeltoer o Bluesfestival o Drum- fluit- eno Parkstad o Kunstenaars tamboerkorps Popstad Atelierroute en (8) o Carnavalsoptochten o Koren (20) o Oranjefeesten o Toneel & dans (7) o Folklore (5)Figure 5 – Heerlen, cultural infrastructure 2009 (from: Heerlen bloeit op 2009)Figure 5 shows a clear strength in the number and quality of cultural organizations and events inHeerlen. It appears to be able to attract persons of all ages and tastes. TNO supports this observationin their examination of Tripool and the position of Heerlen (TNO 2005).4.d. Urban cultureHeerlen promotes itself with young urban culture, community arts and streetwise festivals (2009).We observe that this cultural policy on young people only partly reflects the cultural capital alreadyavailable, and is hard to motivate based on the look and feel of the city and on the number of youngresidents or young visitors (with the exception of the International Breakdance Event IBE). During ourinterview with Lex Smeets (alderman of spatial planning, housing and culture) he acknowledged thatthe focus on young people is fragile, mainly because they turn their back on the city to studyelsewhere (educational migration). He is an advocate of young people leaving and exploring theworld. However, one of his goals is to get those young people back to Heerlen so the city can profitof their expanded knowledge and experience.At least in one study on educational migration the aim of getting young people to return after studyis shown to be incorrect. Van den Berg (2010) has done research on the educational migration ofyoung people of the region Eastern Zeeuws Vlaanderen and shows that 9 out of 10 of the peopleleaving the region do not expect to return to their hometown(s) in the near future. In essence, thisaccounts for the socalled braindrain phenomenon. More significantly, young people settling in otherShrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 6 of 10
  7. 7. regions than Eastern Zeeuws Vlaanderen after their studies, frequently mention economic aspects(i.e. job opportunities) as a reason to do so. In shrinking regions with a declining job market youngpeople tend to leave without ever coming back, rather than to settle or return after their studies.Whereas economic reasons are pivotal for settlement and relocation decisions, the look and feel of acity and its image is important for city’s visitors. Programming, achitecture, urban texture and designof public spaces are basic building blocs for Heerlen to match the tale with reality. For instance,Roombeek in the city of Enschede attracts many visitors due to a strong urban structure, strikingarchitecture and a clear and readable public space, combined with events, festivals and musea.4.e. Creative entrepeneurshipHeerlen also aims to stimulate the creative industry by promoting entrepeneurship and creativebusinesses and by facilitating artists and businesses with workspace and cultural-economicmeetingplaces (Actieplan Creatieve Industry, 2009). Although many aspects of this plan have beendecided on and have already been implemented, it is hard to tell whether or not the results arecontributing to the creative industry. Heerlen does not monitor the desired effects, simply becausesuch effects have not yet been selected or made operational for monitoring. We strongly adviceHeerlen to develop and implement a policy monitor for the creative industry.4.f. Cultural tourismAttracting visitors to Heerlen (and Parkstad) is another objective of the cultural policy of Heerlen.Tourism is directly contributing to the local economy. A good example is Kasteel Hoensbroek.According to the National Musea Organization the Hoensbroek Castle, which ranks at place 23 ofDutch museums in 2010, with more than 145,000 visitors. As a castle is by far the best visited one inthe Netherlands. Van der Steen (2011) discusses the many touristic and recreational projects inParkstad, and notices that it provides jobs for 20.000 people and adds 1 bln Euro in revenue to theregional economy. Not all touristic attractions are part of the cultural industries, though. Forexample, Gaiapark, Snowworld and IKEA do attract large masses of people, but they can hardly beseen as aspects of cultural or creative industry. In contrast, one can make an argument that theseand other touristic attractions obscure the desired urban cultural profile of Heerlen, although thisshould be examined in more detail.4.f. Culture and citizen participationCulture is also used as a tool for empowering local residents in Heerlen. With three ‘culture brokers’and lots of attention for art projects in neighborhoods (Art in the Neighborhood Projects), Heerlenattempts to make a difference in promoting and facilitating community art. For instance, in theproject “Women make Heerlen shine” the city has been flooded with statues in public spaces. Theoverall effect: Heerlen residents show more pride of their city.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 7 of 10
  8. 8. Concluding, Heerlen makes a brave attempt to stimulate culture and creative industry, neverthelessits main objective is only partly about culture, creative entrepeneurs or artists. As Lex Smeetsadmitted, the most important aspect of the cultural policy concerns the economy and especially thelabour market, which is quite an understandable goal, especially for a shrinking city as Heerlen.5. Economy and cultural industry in HeerlenFrom what we have seen above, it is obvious that culture in shrinking cities (at least in our examples)is used mainly as a tool to boost or regenerate the local economy. For Heerlen, it is a strategy linkedto mainly economic goals in terms of employment, tourism and (re) creating job opportunities foryoung people. This implies that Heerlen is not focused on boosting and /or attracting a specificcultural sector, as is for instance the case in Eindhoven (design sector and technology sector). Themunicipality says to be aiming at a specific economic sector for attracting new companies. They areaiming at companies involved in sustainability. Near Heerlen is a very large production company ofsolar cells. This is the kind of business that interests them. In order to attract these companies,Heerlen is closely cooperating with Eindhoven Brainport for example. This is very necessary, sincethere is an international competition going on with countries such as China.On the field of the creative city, Heerlen does not consider itself fit to compete with cities likeEindhoven, or any other ‘creative’ city for that matter – we were told Heerlen aims to rely on its ownstrengths and does not want to enter into a competition with other cities. The municipality facilitatesand subsidises local initiatives and stimulates plans from local entrepreneurs by being creative with(among others) permits, subsidies and user agreements.However, this counteracts the fact they do want to hold, to attract and win back young, well-educated people to the city; these people eventually have to come from some place else. Moreover,a large part of Heerlen’s strategy concerning attracting or winning back these people is not very clearcut and well-developed. The unique selling points that would attract these people are not well-defined nor is it clear which kind of people they are aiming at. It seems to us, that in order to attractyoung people and thus to stand out from the rest, a more clarified profile of the city and what thecity has to offer (and is looking for) would probably also give more promising results.Heerlen and Parkstad Limburg have agreed upon the fact Heerlen is ‘the heart of Parkstad Limburg’.The main ambition of the regional partnership is to restrain shrinkage. Their strategy to do so is tocooperate closely with each other with Heerlen operating as the centre of the region. This has beenestablished in the housing and future plans of Parkstad Limbug. As centre of the region, Heerlen willbe the place where cultural activities are concentrated, implying that Heerlen is also the place whereeconomic growth is concentrated. In turn this means Heerlen is indeed competing, but on a regionallevel and in an agreed upon form.In essence, the city of Heerlen is countering shrinkage at the expense of the surroundingmunicipalities within Parkstad Limburg, that are cooperating and supporting this strategy. This goesfor population growth as well as for economic and cultural activities. Parkstad Limburg hasacknowledged this position by donating Heerlen a substantial amount of budget aimed atstrenghtening the cultural sector.Shrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 8 of 10
  9. 9. 6. ConclusionsIn short, cities turn to culture and the creative economy as a tool for urban and economicregeneration in order to oppose shrinkage. Ways of doing this are by organising cultural events,invoking cultural institutions and providing for space for (local) creative industry. Fostering tourismseems to be an important strategy, trans nationally supported by initiatives such as the EuropeanCultural Capital in some of our examples. Shrinking cities rather not compete with ‘real’ creativecities and more often than not lack a specific creative sector to promote. Exception on this rule in ourexamples is Manchester, which is well-known for its thriving music and club scene, although it doesnot seem to make use of this in urban strategies.The main USP of shrinking cities is, as Lex Smeets poses: Space – there is more than enough of thataround here. Space that is easily accessible for temporary use such as events, urban farming orconversion of industrial use to cultural use. This USP is simultaneously the most importantcompetitive advantage shrinking cities have on non-shrinking cities and the reason why they arepartially able to compete with other cities on hosting events such as the International Break-danceEvent or the Commonwealth Games.In many other respects shrinking cities, including Heerlen, do not stand a very good chance incompeting. However, as we have argued in this article, that is also not their main goal. The strategyof using culture as a tool is inherently fuelled by an intrinsic economic need and also operated assuch. Advertising Heerlen as a ‘creative city’ in a (trans) national way is not aimed at and also notconsidered to be a successful strategy by local government. Culture is primarily one of the tools tocounteract shrinkage and boost local economy. Culture is not defined as or restricted to a specificsector of the creative economy, but in a much broader sense: for Heerlen is considered in a broadsense – it is tourism, cultural institutions and local events, as well as civil participation on aneighbourhood level. The aim is two-sided: to strengthen the commitment of the current populationon the one hand, and to boost local economy and attract new people and economic activity on theother.ReferencesBENSCHOP, J. (2009) Wonen tussen de anderen. Een portret van kunststad Berlijn. Amsterdam:Athenaeum, Polak & van GennipBERG, van den, E.(2010) Braindrain vanuit Zeeuws-Vlaanderen? Onderzoek naar het migratiepatroonen motief van hoogopgeleide jongeren afkomstig uit Oost Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. University of Utrecht:Master Thesis Geowetenschappen.CASTELLS, M. (1996) The information age: economy, society and culture. Volume 1. The rise of thenetwork society. Cambridge, Oxford: Blackwell PublishersFLORIDA, R. (2002) The rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic BooksShrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 9 of 10
  10. 10. FLORIDA, R. (2005) The Flight of the Creative Class. The New Global Competition for Talent. NewYork: HarperCollinsLANDRY, C. (2000) The creative city. London: EarthscanLANDRY, C. (2007) The art of city making. London: EarthscanSCOTT, A.J. (1997) The cultural economy of cities International journal of urban and regionalresearch, vol.21, p.323-339SCOTT, A.J. (2000) Regions and the world economy. The coming shape of global production,competition and political order. Oxford: Oxford University PressSTEEN, van der, P. (2011) Hoe de Parkstad een pretparkstad wordt. From: NRC Handelsblad 29januari 2011.INCTAD (2008) Creative Economy Report 2008. The challenge towards assessing the creativeeconomy: towards Informed policy-making. New York: United NationsWIRTH, L. (1957) Urbanism as a way of life. Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit (Reprint: Hatt, P.K. &Reiss, A.J. (ed.) (1957) Cities and society. New York .46-63)OSWALT, P. (ed) (2005) Shrinking Cities. Volume 1 – International Research. Ostfildern-Ruit: HanjeCantzOSWALT, P. (ed) (2006) Shrinking Cities. Volume 2 – Interventions. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hanje CantzZUKIN, S. (1995) The culture of cities. Oxford: BlackwellZUKIN, S. (2010) Naked City. The death and life of authentic urban places. New York: OxfordUniversity PressActieplan Creatieve industrie in Heerlen 2009 – 2012. Gemeente Heerlen 2009.Stadsvisie 2026. Gemeente Heerlen 2009.ContactsYvonne Rijpers, YSKOV, Phone +31 614 999 056 Email Adress Pieter deHoochstraat 26B 3024 CS RotterdamMark Verhijde Interim programmamanager en adviseur stedelijke ontwikkeling, Phone +31 652 653005 Email Adress Westenbergstraat 8, 7415 CP DeventerShrinkage and culture as a tool to counteract it - Yvonne Rijpers & Mark Verhijde (2011) p. 10 of 10