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Culture, space and economy are intermeshed in complex ways. This paper reports on findings from a larger empirical research project commissioned to investigate the symbiotic relationship between culturally animated urban street scenes and economic vitality. Grounded in empirical qualitative research focussing on recent place quality enhancement schemes in the North East of England, the central aim of this paper is to make the case that everyday cultural activity and economically vibrant places can go hand-in-hand. The research did not seek to quantify economic benefits of investments in the cultural animation of urban space, but interpretive analysis suggests that place quality regeneration strategies can enhance the economic performance and vitality of places. Based on the argument that cultural production of space and economic development are not, and therefore should not be viewed as, competing objectives, the paper puts forward a range of good practice pointers for policymakers and practitioners embarking on place quality enhancement schemes.
Key words: street scene, cultural animation, economic vitality, place quality, public space and urban regeneration