read towse’s chpts. 9-10
Culture counts. And today more than ever, it counts for cities, the powerhouses of the contemporary society. Culture is a full-fledged economic sector that – as any other – generates impacts on the urban environment, ranging from direct and indirect expenditure to employment generation. Cultural industries are typically labor-intensive; their organization model is rather the network interaction of micro and small producers than the supply-chain hierarchy of Fordist industries. Moreover, cultural production is highly contextual and idiosyncratic. For these reasons, city centers are privileged spaces for cultural production and consumption (Scott 2001, Heilbrun 1992).
Cities provide ideal workspace for artists and cultural managers; and the local economy comes to thrive of it, establishing a symbiotic relation with culture. Firstly, culture generates substantial “intangible” or non-pecuniary economic effects. It has a soft function of animation and enhancement of the quality of life, which is an increasingly important element of a city’s competitiveness. It stimulates human creativity, and the capacity to innovate. New symbolic meanings and values become inputs to innovative production concepts and processes. A city can market itself as an ideal location for people and firms, and a preferred cultural destination for tourists; its unique, original cultural mix can become a recognizable brand (New York’s loft living, Berlin’s underground art, the Bristol sound, etc.).
Furthermore, culture may contribute to a more balanced and sustainable urban development. Culture is part and parcel of urban revitalization projects in degraded urban areas throughout the developed world. It provides a formidable opportunity for personal development and social interaction among weaker groups, and gives to “excluded” individuals a chance to their own start businesses or to catch up socially.
The relation between a community and its culture extends to concerns of safety and social harmony. In an age in which societies tend to become multicultural, identities and ways of life confront one another. In the multi-cultural city, culture can be a lever that stimulates pride, personal development, and self-fulfillment for minorities, and at the same time it can be a common language, a bridge between different groups. For this reason cultural development and planning are regarded as valuable strategies to accelerate processes of urban growth or regeneration. Cities invest in cultural facilities and events, and in the preservation of their historical heritage, to make their transition to a post-industrial economy based on advanced services, sustainable functional mixes, and a high quality of the urban environment.
This means that policymakers and elected politicians have to get the whole picture of the relevance of culture as an economic asset for the city, see where the problems are, and in which ways the synergies between cultural development and local economy can be activated and boosted.
So- here are the questions for your consideration:
Do you agree with the above-outlined premise? That is, do you consider culture as a primary factor and driver of economic development in urban and cultural centers- i.e., cities? Why or why not? You don’t have to agree with this underlying premise. If you don’t, please explain why. If you do, tell me why. Support your position with a strong rationale and reference to appropriate research.
Imagine yourself as the leader of a city- the manager, mayor, an administrator, etc. To what extent, if any, would you rely on culture as an economic driver for your community and the communities? What would you do? What are your policies? How would this look? Explain. Paint us a picture. And again, please provide a rationale of why you would choose certain actions and/or policies. Be creative. But, ground your responses in the concepts of the course.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Fully address the questions / topic at hand.
Adhere to length limitations of 300 words this week).
Be sure to support your position with a strong rationale. Reference the Towse book, or any other research, and be sure to provide a citation so readers can source that info.