The role of culture in urban regeneration policies: research notes drawn from Porto’s case
Instituto de Sociologia - Universidade do Porto
Last modified: May 16, 2007
Presentation date: 06/12/2007 2:30 PM in ISCTE-II B201
Inherently cultural, cities have always been, throughout History, privileged spaces of knowledge, creativeness, innovation and artistic effervescence. In the last few decades, following the profound economic, social and political transformations that continuously characterize cities, urban culture has gained renewed importance, especially in developed countries, as a central element in interurban competition.
Relying on the economic convertibility of symbolic capital, contemporary urban policies chose culture as one of their most important touchstones. The main goal is to assure that conversion, by attracting new residents and tourists – especially the more affluent ones – and by reinforcing cities’ overall attractiveness towards all types of investment fluxes.
The complex set of connections between urban policies and urban culture is precisely what we wish to explore with this paper. Focusing on Porto’s case, we analyse the major guidelines of dominant tendencies in urban planning and management and reflect on the role of culture in local urban regeneration policies.
At the same time, we stand out the recent changes in Porto’s cultural scene and explore the actual or potential role of new cultural projects and new cultural intermediaries in the development of urban regeneration projects, in order to assess the scope and consequences of the interpenetration of these two fundamental dimensions of contemporary city life.