Scholarly article on topic 'Urban Regeneration and More Opportunities for Artistic Expression and Cultural Consumption'

Urban Regeneration and More Opportunities for Artistic Expression and Cultural Consumption Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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{"Economic development" / "Development planning policy" / Culture / "Urban and regional economics" / "Cultural economics" / "Social capital"}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Maria Moldoveanu, Valeriu-Ioan Franc

Abstract Considered a set of artistic creations and events, cultural and creative industries, patrimony goods and tourist services, culture is not only an element of urban life framework, but also a dimension of sustainable development policy. At the same time, it is also the target of all urban revival strategies (X. Greffe, S. Pflieger). Fulfilling the culture functions depends on the local actors’ ability to manage the negative effects of globalisation and world economic crisis on urban development, as well as the existing tensions in towns and cities. Also, “culture territorialisation” takes place along with territory resizing – local entities are stimulated to set “vanguard” cultural policies and assume “the construction, the development, the maintenance and the management of cultural facilities”. The territory reform is one aspect of urban regeneration, which implies a set of strategies aiming at: renewing the economic base of towns and cities, redefining their image, rehabilitating city equipment, achieving the reconversion of deserted areas, raising the quality of urban dwellers’ life, ensuring their integration into a multifunctional context. The paper clarifies these aspects by research and a case study in the national domain.

Academic research paper on topic "Urban Regeneration and More Opportunities for Artistic Expression and Cultural Consumption"

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Procedía Economics and Finance 8 (2014) 490 - 496

1st International Conference 'Economic Scientific Research - Theoretical, Empirical and Practical

Approaches', ESPERA 2013

Urban regeneration and more opportunities for artistic expression

and cultural consumption

Maria Moldoveanua, Valeriu- Ioan Franca*

National Institute for Economic Research Costin C. Kiritescu, Calea 13 Septembrie, nr. 13, Bucharest, 050736, Romania

Abstract

Considered a set of artistic creations and events, cultural and creative industries, patrimony goods and tourist services, culture is not only an element of urban life framework, but also a dimension of sustainable development policy. At the same time, it is also the target of all urban revival strategies (X. Greffe, S. Pflieger).

Fulfilling the culture functions depends on the local actors' ability to manage the negative effects of globalisation and wor ld economic crisis on urban development, as well as the existing tensions in towns and cities.

Also, "culture territorialisation" takes place along with territory resizing - local entities are stimulated to set "vanguard" cultural policies and assume "the construction, the development, the maintenance and the management of cultural facilities". The territory reform is one aspect of urban regeneration, which implies a set of strategies aiming at: renewing the economic base of towns and cities, redefining their image, rehabilitating city equipment, achieving the reconversion of deserted areas, raising the quality of urban dwellers' life, ensuring their integration into a multifunctional context. The paper clarifies these aspects by research and a case study in the national domain.

© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Selection and peer-review under responsibilityoftheOrganizingCommitteeof ESPERA2013

Keywords: Economic development; Development planning policy; Culture; Urban and regional economics; Cultural economics; Social capital;

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0-40723.914.09. E-mail address: cide90@gmail.com

2212-5671 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of ESPERA 2013 doi: 10.1016/S2212-5671(14)00118-X

1. A policy of urban regeneration

The research conducted by town planners, architects, sociologists, anthropologist and others reveals the essential role of culture in organizing and reviving towns and cities.

Considered a set of artistic creations and events, cultural and creative industries, patrimony goods and tourist services, culture is not only an element of the urban life framework, but also a dimension of the sustainable development policy. At the same time, it is a target of all the urban revival strategies (X. Greffe, S. Pflieger).

Greffe and Pflieger - authors of La culture et le développement local (2005) - studied the experience of some metropolises which made significant investments in culture in order to keep their strengths (status), their competitiveness and attractiveness for further expansion or redefinition of their cultural image and identity.

For example, in 2004, the City of Yokohama, in Japan - one of the ten most populated cities in the world -announced its intention to become a city of arts, and consequently arranged the central area for organizing cultural and artistic events, created the National Park of Arts for exhibition and presentations of amateur artists, and organized French film festivals a.s.o.

For "art cities" (like Venice, Toledo, Krakow, etc.), the cultural patrimony and artistic resources are basic elements of their identity, continuity and development, and consequently their protection is a target related to sustainability to be achieved also by balanced management of tourist attraction.

Other cities (such as Baltimore and Nottingham) focused on changing their industrial/harbour patrimony into goods with a cultural/leisure finality, while some city administrations (e.g., Maghreb) understood that the city patrimony could become an important resource for urban development, for environment and for the community image (La culture et le développement local) provided that it had been preserved and valued.

Fulfilling the culture functions depends on the local actors' ability to manage the negative effects of globalisation and world economic crisis on urban development, as well as the existing tensions in towns and cities (e.g., speculations in city/land resources, fragmentation of territories, new housing areas on the outskirts, which in relation to sustainability means more water and energy consumption, less biodiversity and soil degradation).

Almost all big cities of Europe witnessed this trend and all cities weakened by crisis had to mobilize their internal resources, especially cultural resources, to find new ways/solutions for sustainable development. At the same time, the territories that lost several dynamic activities necessary for economic, energy, and technological reasons had to resize their structure and to identify other development sources.

Globalisation, as a process consisting in increasing interdependence between national states and in expanding cross-border links in the economic, social and cultural life, causes several phenomena - global, as the World Bank defines them - among which poverty, unemployment, environment degradation a.s.o. require global solutions. OECD members, for example, frequently discuss about these phenomena and together identify positive experience and good practice in order to prevent economic, social and environmental risk associated to globalisation. The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation manages a large quantity of statistical data, case studies and research works, models of territorial and local development, programmes for sustainable development by stimulating cultural activities and creativeness.

Besides traditional cultural goods (e.g., patrimony, plastic arts) of cultural industries (e.g., books, phonograms), of creative economy (e.g., design, IT, architecture), the local culture products represent a "new stake" of urban development, contributing to a higher quality of life in a quarter, town, area, to increasing employment, to personal development of the dwellers, to the stimulation of the talent and competence of a community.

Local culture bears the mark of the territory where it is created/produced, but, at the same time, it projects the local image and becomes a component of identity.

The territorial context and the structure of urban entities determine not only the economy and the targets of political activity but also the local public policies, including the cultural ones, their targets and contents.

Globalisation makes national states decentralize, transfer certain responsibilities and decision-making from a central level to local administrative units.

Also, "culture territorialisation" takes place along with territory resizing - local entities are stimulated to set "vanguard" cultural policies and assume "the construction, the development, the maintenance and the management of cultural facilities". According to Sandra Breux et al., "culture territorialisation" is an important variable of change.

In Political resizing and public municipal cultural policies, S. Breux, J.-P. Collin and E. Négrier consider that the territorial reform causes changes/reorientation in public policies, including cultural policies for increasing local independence, establishing identity and guaranteeing the acquired rights: "Territorialisation express the emergence of a new process by which territories become a central actor in today's cultural policies".

The territory reform is one aspect of urban regeneration, which implies a set of strategies aiming at: renewing the economic base of towns and cities, redefining their image, rehabilitating city equipment, achieving the reconversion of deserted areas, raising the quality of urban dwellers' life, ensuring their integration into a multifunctional context. The paper clarifies these aspects by research and a case study in the national domain.

In an exploratory research project regarding urban regeneration and its impact on environment and society, coordinated by an architect, Prof. Adrian Spirescu, we read: "Today, in the whole world, people make industrial buildings functional again, and many of them become cultural centres", while the reconversion of industrial "wrecks" aims at their harmonious integration into an urban context, often by cultural activities.

1.2. Urban regeneration by functional (re)conversion

For contemporary researchers, urban regeneration means, on one hand, creative (intelligent) interventions in the existing built environment - as a premise of sustainable development and preservation of community values and, on the other hand, diversification of commercial, industrial or public service areas to be used as "nonconventional spaces" for cultural creation and production .

Sometimes, (re)conversion implies the restoration of older or newer buildings of renowned historical or aesthetic or/and architectural value, other times, reconversion is functional and consists in remodelling a structure (expansion, new partitions, etc.) or recovering deserted areas, the so-called "industrial brownfields" (French: friches), i.e., "areas previously used but now abandoned" that are being recovered and integrated into an urban context. "Friches" and "brownfields" are partial synonyms, which - according to Chirita and Pu§ca§ - mean "any declining activity leaving behind non-functional areas".

They are either post-industrial platforms, called "brown zones", or post-communist sites, labeled as "grey zones", with a great potential of regeneration of the urban environment.

They are found in many parts of the world, according to the authors of Progettare per il patrimonio industriale (Torino, 2008): "Most sites providing evidence of the industrial past are abandoned and, over time, they decay" (p. 94).

The elements of industrial patrimony express the identity of those places, the memory of buildings related to some profession (mines, vineyards, railway stations a.s.o.); therefore, their conservation is not only an action taken to preserve the past, but a social endeavour that facilitates the understanding and the interpretation of the culture of a community.

The history of buildings, the shape of constructions, of the free/natural zones in the vicinity, the productive unity are closely linked to the history of a locality, to "the spirit" of the residential environment, to the history of the people involved in industrial work; therefore, conservation and saving of patrimony from degradation (i.e., industrial work constructions) are a necessary endeavour for urban regeneration and local identity consolidation.

As the European Landscape Convention of 2000 shows, the rehabilitated and/or industrial landscape, integrated into the historical, architectural-cultural patrimony of urban localities is an economic and territorial resource helping to improve the quality of life of town dwellers.

According to our legislation, the industrial landscape includes natural and/or urban territories preserving essential components of the production process of one or more industrial businesses ready to be converted into or defined as cultural landscape (Law 6/2008, Art. 3). This stipulation illustrates the quasi-unanimous recognition of the cultural valences of the industrial landscape.

In the study on the "reconversion effects" of brownfields, Delia A. Mirea considers that "the industrial landscape resulted from the space and time dynamics of industry, industrialization, urban expansion diversification, urban functions..."

The definition of this concept given by historians, sociologists, geographers, architects a.s.o. points out the functionalist dimension, which explains the recognition of several opportunities offered by industrial structures "for urban regeneration produced by building rehabilitation and reconversion. " - in fact, successful projects for the

reconversion of the industrial landscape.

The experience of many European countries proves the success of the projects of urban regeneration by rehabilitation and reconversion of industrial sites. In the study on the reconversion effects, Delia A. Mirea presents the best experiences such as:

• The Venetian Arsenal (Venice, Italy)

• Fiat Lingotto (Turin, Italy)

• The Central Plant of Sant Just (Desvern, Spain)

and selected from the Romanian initiatives the reconversion that are representative of the urban development potential for the City of Bucharest.

Each type of reconversion is illustrated by productive units that marked the history of the industrialization of the capital city of Romania. For example:

• Abandoned industrial units: the Assan Mill, the Rahova Brewery, the Filaret Electric Plant or demolished: the Vulcan Works (2011), the Laromet Works (2011), the Timpuri Noi Works (2011), which caused real "urban waste". Most of the above-mentioned are classified as historical monuments representative of the universal, national and local cultural heritage (like the Assan Mill).

• Reconverted units:

- changed into residential areas: the Olmazu Mill into the Central Park Residential Area; the Suveica Factory into Rose Garden; the Select Factory into In City;

- changed into commercial units: the Stela Soap Factory into Kaufland Colentina; the Belvedere Cigarette Factory into Bricostore Orhideea.

Other industrial buildings ere transformed into office buildings (e.g., APACA), hotels (the Glucose Factory), green areas (the Tonolla Brick Factory), multipurpose units - commercial, services, recreational (the Romanian Chemical Plant, Semanatoarea), etc.

But there are some industrial areas transformed into cultural areas, such as the Customs Warehouse in Calea Rahovei into the Ark (a cultural and recreational area), Frigocom into learning facilities (the Spiru Haret University), the Turbomecanica Plant into a multipurpose area, Turbohalle - Arts & Entertainment (for cultural events).

The reconversion of industrial ruins into cultural, leisure, education areas contributes to the emancipation of that quarter, zone or locality.

First, such a (reconversion) project implies rehabilitation, restoration and re-arrangement of the buildings -taking into account the economic cost required by the size or the architecture of the initial buildings. The very definition of "brownfields" refers to territories, buildings, facilities used before by the industry (or trade or army), deteriorated over time or sub-used and/or abandoned, which require consolidation and/or transformation to be used again or to be preserved for their (historical, aesthetic or architectural) value.

Second, these areas out of service are found in less favoured quarters or zones, mostly inhabited by marginal social groups lacking in public services necessary for a normal life or activity, which requires the rehabilitation of the proximity areas and their functional equipping. Gradually, these "urban places" beco me more animated, people communicate more and productively, and the circulation of information, cultural and symbolic resources is more fluent and cultural areas are more accessible; they can help people develop amateur artistic skills - music, theatre, handicraft, etc. - thus enabling the talented or gifted ones to become "actors of their own development".

Over time, the image of the quarter or the town and the quality of life improve. Therefore, cultural brownfields produce - according to X. Greffe - "a new urban territory"

But not all zones out of service may undergo functional reconversion. Some - for technical reasons (e.g., Anghel Saligny's silos), others - for economic, town-planning, ecological reasons, etc.

The reconversion of an industrial plant into an area for cultural activities or entertainment does not mean quick salvation. Turning such an area into a museum - as a symbolic term for specific endeavours - is not a sine qua non solution. To change the industrial heritage into an active resource of urban regeneration, the project should be consistent with the history and the identity of the town/quarter, be closely linked to the life of the quarter dwellers and, at the same time, contribute to the economic revival of the locality.

An example is the Petrila Project. The Association of the Romanian Students and Ph. D. Students in France organized in 2012 the Petrila Workshop of Postindustrial Urban Regeneration , attended by students and

professionals from Paris, Brussels, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timiçoara. The projects provide support for the local community of this miners' town "to use the real value of the industrial heritage of the area" (o.u.).

In May 2013, the second stage of the Workshop focused on the architecture and landscape heritage of the area and on scenarios of functional reconversion of the Petrila Mine buildings as alternatives to the full demolition of the Valea Jiului mining area.

The issue concerning the shut-down of the Petrila Mine is part of the project for closing non-profitable mines, funded by the World Bank.

The participants in the "Petrila experiment" consider that neither cultural reconversion nor full demolition of industrial facilities out of service is not the best way to achieve the sustainable development of the area and benefit the local people, but the easiest solution.

2. Urban regeneration by more opportunities for artistic expression and cultural consumption

In most cities and towns, especially in low urbanized areas - our country is an example (according to the NIS, between 1990 and 2011, the urbanisation level increased only by 0.6%) - but also in great urban agglomerations, the areas provided for cultural activities are scarce, both for the public and for cultural organizers and creators. The existing ones are not accessible to many people (because of the distance or the price), and, as some analyses reveal (e.g., those of CCCDC), their endowment with cultural equipment does not meet the requirements.

In these circumstances, nonconventional zones for artistic expression and cultural consumption are created as alternatives to the conventional ones, generally owned by public cultural institutions (e.g. museums, libraries, theatres, show rooms, concert halls); they are called "leisure areas", "areas of living and creative expression", "mixed areas", "areas for the community's socialization and expression", "areas for entertainment, relaxation and cultural consumption", "postmodern areas of cultural infrastructures", "urban nightscapes", and sometimes, in an inspired way, "sensescapes" (for sensations suggested by sound and/or light, similar to those experienced in architecture). An example of such a cultural area is found in the central part of Bucharest - a zone dedicated to relaxation, but also an "artistic pub", where people can watch a movie, read books, visit painting exhibitions, enjoy music or discuss with friend while drinking tea or coffee. The authors of this concept (Alchemia) are three enthusiastic and competent youths - belonging to the architecture or art critique domains - who, for launching this project under the logo "Smart & Friendly", organized in a villa a "magic" place, with many design details and original equipment, because the atmosphere of cultural events is as important as the messages received by the participants.

Ambience, in general, and everything happening in an unconventional space determines a proactive response to the local cultural environment.

Alternative cultural areas allow for smart artistic experiments and stimulate the culture producers' creativeness and the imagination of the public.

For example, the "Intact Space" in Sibiu witnessed, among other cultural interference events, the release of a film called "The man with the camera. A global reconstruction", 2007, by Perry Bard (based on Dziga Vertov's film "The man with a camera").

P. Bard shot a "crowd-sourced" movie that associates the classic features with digital technologies. On a screen divided into two parts, one can watch the cited film and the film based on a script reinvented and completed every day by the audience, which never ends.

"The man with a camera. A global reconstruction" was shown at many international festivals (Toronto, Moscow, Amsterdam a.s.o.) in museums and art galleries in the USA, Australia, the UK, won prizes and was appreciated for its experimental character.

Several decades ago, René Berger pointed out the originat character of the artistic message: "the message is never completed (o.u.), neither when emitted, nor during broadcasting, nor when received (...), the spectator should not accept a standard reception by a criterion valid for all, because everyone is entitled to involve in art existence, just as art is entitled to involve in everybody's life".

The development of non-conventional cultural spaces helps us to diversify the types of cultural creation and production, as well as the practice regarding the cultural consumption and the involvement in culture.

The CCCDC research project, called "An analysis of urban culture in Bucharest 2010", reveals the meth ods by which cultural consumption moves from a formal area, subject to strict rules (specific to conventional spaces), to an informal area (alternative spaces for showing cultural messages).

The main types of alternative spaces are the following:

• Cultural "places" (spaces) produced by reconversion of industrial facilities out of use or of the above-mentioned industrial ruins.

• Non-conventional spaces of culture production and consumption resulted from the tendency to include art in everyday life and from any association with its image; they express the interest of the economic agents (owners of hotels and restaurants, bankers, town-planners, managers of public areas, etc.) to enable art exhibition and access to culture, as themselves benefit in a way or other from the art image; anyhow, a common opinion in that "art always connotes quality" (o.u.).

• Alternative spaces of cultural suprastructure set up by negotiation among economic agents and artists, agents, bands, orchestras, directors a.s.o. for cooperation that benefit them and the public. There are managers of bars, clubs, restaurants, tea rooms, terraces, cafes, similar to those in the historical centre of Bucharest, which, in the CCCDC researchers' opinion act as real cultural entrepreneurs, interested in organizing in their spaces miniconcerts, theatre shows, plastic arts exhibition, video shows and dance performances. They are eager to attract new groups of consumers, to turn them into constant customers, to have a better image and, by raising awareness and quality of services, to be more competitive, to stimulate consumption and implicitly, the revival of their quarter or town. As one economic agent from the historical centre said for the CCCDC survey: "It is more value that we attach to Bucharest".

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