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Culture in urban spaces, today

Arturo Rodriguez Morato argues that cities use culture as a tool to generate urban regeneration and calls for an integration of cultural diversity
Let me mention some of the most significant ways in which culture becomes prominent in cities nowadays. On the one hand, there is the very common processes of urban regeneration. In the last decades, artistic activity has been promoted as a way to produce urban regeneration of run down neighbourhoods and for the promotion of historical city centres. And there are many, many examples of this around the world, because this is something that has been replicated, has started in the United States, and then in Europe, but then was replicated in many places in Europe and now in Latin America and Asia, etc. On the other hand, in big cities, there is maximum concentration of cultural and creative industries.
It’s where we can find a more extensive and strong art market or music industry or fashion or publishing– publicity, the media– and tourism. Tourism is a particularly important part of this set, because tourism is connected to all the cultural activity. To the heritage in Europe, this is very, very important. And many industries depend on tourism, apart from cultural industries– from airlines to restaurants or hotels. Finally, it is important to perhaps to mention also the cultural diversity.
Big cities characterised by concentrating cultural diversity is the place where they concentrate the most. And for these cities, this constitutes a challenge, because it poses difficulties for social integration, and an asset at the same time. The city provides a space for the expression of ethnic cultures and also for inter-ethnic conflicts, and adds similarly creative activity can be used politically to achieve just the opposite of conflict, a case social cohesion and integration. There are many cultural policy programmes that have been implemented in recent times with this same goal, especially in European cities.
These programmes– in Barcelona, again, we have some good examples of these, include exhibitions showing and recognising ethnically specific cultural expressions, or programmes integrating ethnically market cultural elements in traditional festivities of the city. Generally speaking in the cultural dynamism and cultural creativity of cities, cultural diversity plays a crucial role. This is the most visible in cities like London or New York, the biggest cities, where creators of many different ethnic backgrounds make crucial contributions to the global attraction as cultural capitals.

Arturo Rodriguez Morato, from the University of Barcelona, discusses the impact of culture on cities.

He starts by explaining how culture became a tool for urban regeneration. He also emphasizes the importance cultural diversity for cities and argues that cultural policies have a major role to play in social cohesion.

Share your thoughts:

Although tourism is portrayed as a tool for urban development, the inhabitants of main touristic cities often view it as an inconvenience. What is your view? Is tourism a good or a bad thing for a city? What are the necessary conditions for tourism to have a positive impact on local citizens?

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Cultures and Identities in Europe

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