Culture-Led Regeneration as a Strategy for City-Branding: Can the ‘Museumisation’ of the City be Sustainable in the Long Term?

    • Nice November 2018
    • Presentation speakers
      • Claudia Anzani, Independent Researcher, London, UK


    As a consequence of globalisation, competitiveness among cities has rapidly grown. Cities around the world are increasingly using culture to brand (or re-brand) themselves: some cities – particularly newly built ones – might aim at building their own identity, others might want to renew and improve a possibly decadent image. An increasing number of cities – even the ones that have always been relatively indifferent to the arts – are developing an interest in culture-led regeneration, often repeating the same patterns: large sums of money have been invested in the construction of iconic buildings designed by famous names of western architecture, and entire ‘cultural districts’ are currently under development. Such investments are primarily motivated by economic stagnation and the desire to diversify the urban economy by attracting tourists and foreign investments, placing considerable economic demands on ‘culture’. Focusing on issues recurring in the academic debate, this paper critically analyses and compares different approaches to culture-led regeneration, seeking to evaluate their outcome in social and economic terms, as well as their sustainability. The examples chosen are cities which, without having an established reputation as vibrant cultural centers, have however attempted to improve their international profile and rejuvenate their economy by investing in the construction of new cultural facilities in order to rebrand themselves as cultural hubs.