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Wrap up of the course

Sum up of the course on cultural diversity and the city
What have we learned about the relationship between culture diversity, cultural heritage, and cities in this course? Of course, cultural heritage and culture diversity can be an asset for urban centres. They can attract more visitors, more tourists, more businesses. They can be a factor for development. However, they can also be a problem, a challenge. Cities have to come to term with diverse populations, with their different heritage. And also, sometimes urban transformations– for instance, new building projects or the reorganisation of entire neighbourhoods– can damage the past heritage, both tangible and intangible. We hope you have travelled with us around the world in looking at the different examples.
We looked, for instance, at cases in Europe like Bristol and how it came to terms with its difficult slave trade past. We looked at the case of Cologne and its migration-related heritage, its religious diversity, and how it has reinvented itself. We have turned, however, to classical of what we call diversity metropoles like London, Paris, and New York. For instance, for London and Paris, it has been difficult to combine the national-level policies and the local city policies in terms of promoting cultural heritage and cultural diversity. The case of New York City is completely different, as it has embraced from the very beginning culture diversity, heritage as its landmark, is its main point, for projecting the city’s image in the world.
Looking at non-European cases, we looked at Mumbai and how it has reinvented itself after colonialism and how it has actually exploited in a positive way the colonial heritage. And we looked also at Johannesburg, a difficult city, a post-apartheid major urban centre, that had to deal with very high socioeconomic inequalities, and for which culture diversity has become an asset. You will also remember that we looked at heritage labels and city networks. Do you remember what these were about? Now, heritage labels are certifications. They’re usually given by international organisations, such as UNESCO. And they help give visibility and recognition to a city for its heritage. Such labels, when assigned to a city, can attract further public and private investment.
And they also encourage the city to further invest and exploit its culture diversity, heritage. What are city networks then? City networks are obviously networks of cities. But they are very important for medium-sized cities and towns that they can then come together, discuss common challenges, engage in common projects, learn know-how, acquire expertise, and actually be in the forefront of cultural diversity heritage policies and practises at the international level. How do cities, however, use cultural diversity heritage to create their own narrative and project themselves as global cultural and financial centres? Take the example of the Katara cultural village in Doha that we have seen and how it was used as a particular project that would project Doha in the world.
Take another example, the recent recognition of the Berber culture in Morocco and how Rabat has used it to recreate itself as a cultural and not just administrative capital. Other examples abound which show also how cultural diversity heritage is transferred between countries and between continents. This is the case of Mumbai and Bollywood that has used the cinema industry to project itself to the world. Another example of this type is the martial arts cinema that has developed in Hong Kong, and also with its own strategy has somehow challenged the dominance of Hollywood. These examples show how cultural diversity heritage has an importance socioeconomic value.
And actually, the creative and cultural industries can become an asset for the development of a city and for projecting the city’s geopolitical, financial, and cultural profile in the world.

Congratulations for completing this course! It is now time to recap some of the key lessons we have learned over the past three weeks. Watch this video, which goes through the main points we have highlighted in this course.

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Check out other courses from our programme Explore Culture and Heritage. It examines the concept of ‘culture’ by exploring practices, at local, national and transnational level. It contains a course on ‘Cultural Heritage and the City’ and another one on ‘Cultures and Identities in Europe’.

Please also share your thoughts about what you have learned over these three weeks in the comments

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Cultural Diversity and the City

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