Urban identity strategies through large scale events: culture-led urban regeneration in the Italian context
Silvia Mazzucotelli Salice
Department of Sociology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuor
Last modified: May 16, 2007
Presentation date: 06/12/2007 2:30 PM in ISCTE-II B201
Promoting an appealing image of the city is, today, a main topic in the agenda of urban managers. Globalization and time-space compression have changed the rules of economic competition and have developed a new social hierarchy of places. The interest accorded to image-building depends on the need for attracting global flows in order to promote local development. The key element for developing such image is the presence of cultural stimula. This emphasis on culture owes much to recent debates on the relationship between culture, creativity and the city: urban regeneration agendas point out that cities should focus on promoting creativity, and on attracting people, not least through their cultural offer.
This paper focuses on policies supporting urban effervescences and image-building processes. Although they include a vast amount of interventions, from physical planning to the organization of events, the paper concentrates on large scale events as tool of urban identity strategies. Genoa and Turin are recent Italian examples of culture-led urban regeneration through large scale events. In both cases the event is part of a portfolio of initiatives (level of practices) within a process aimed at developing the territory and it contributes to the accomplishment of a previously formulated strategic plan (level of policies).
The study carried out in this paper, through the analysis of these two large scale events, underlines the relationship between cultural resources (cultural heritage and immaterial know-how), strategic intent of politics (re-define city image), operational initiatives (festivals, concerts, exhibitions etc) and the socio-economic growth of the territory (upgrade the city in the social hierarchy of places).