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Urban Strategies for Culture-Driven Growth

Co-Creating a European Capital of Culture Nils Wåhlin, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Sweden, Maria Kapsali, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, Malin H. Näsholm and Tomas Blomquist, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Sweden
Over the past three decades, the European Capital of Culture has grown into one of the most ambitious cultural programs in the world. Through the promotion of cultural diversity across the continent, the program fosters mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue among citizens, thereby increasing their sense of belonging to a community. This insightful book outlines potential avenues through which culture and creativity can raise the imaginative capability of citizens and harness opportunities tied to what the book calls ‘culture-driven growth’.
Extent: 208 pp
Hardback Price: $110.00 Web: $99.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78347 937 5
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  • Business and Management
  • Organisation Studies
  • Economics and Finance
  • Urban Economics
  • Geography
  • Cities and Urban Geography
  • Tourism
  • Urban and Regional Studies
  • Urban Studies
  • Planning
Over the past three decades, the European Capital of Culture has grown into one of the most ambitious cultural programs in the world. Through the promotion of cultural diversity across the continent, the program fosters mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue among citizens, thereby increasing their sense of belonging to a community. This insightful book outlines potential avenues through which culture and creativity can raise the imaginative capability of citizens and harness opportunities tied to what the book calls ‘culture-driven growth’.

Building on three years of observations, interviews and research the authors argue that a ‘strategy-as-practice’ perspective can reveal how strategy making is enabled or constrained by organizational and social practices. The authors reveal how the ‘sweet-spot’ of city regeneration occurs where urban and cultural planning are aligned. They then evaluate the practice of ‘co-creation’ within organizing bodies and investigate the extent to which its success depends on a fusion of top-down rules and bottom-up action.

Urban Strategies for Culture-Driven Growth will appeal to international scholars and students in organization studies, geography, city governance and planning, urban design and urban and regional development. Policymakers and planners will also find it to be a valuable resource.
‘This book provides an important contribution on the links between urban planning and other types of organizing work performed in the name of the “creative city”. Further, it also highlights the daunting challenges associated with attempting to realize highly ambitious ideals of decentralized co-creation, empowering a plethora of heterogeneous actors, in a manner that does not sell short democratic transparency and accountability.’
– Jonathan Metzger, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

‘A detailed, processual and ethnographic study of European Cities of Culture is overdue. This book fills an important gap in both scholarship and civic management. For any city authorities planning to bid for and stage future City of Culture programs it is an essential practical guide; for any researchers interested in the management of cities, those elusive, flexible objects of analysis, it will be an important contribution to their analytical toolbox. Lively and well researched, it is a must-read.’
– Stewart Clegg, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

‘Organizing Cultural Capital events has become the contemporary equivalent of Tennesse Valley Authority: every city wants to do it, and prescriptions how to do it proliferate. This book is unique in that it presents not only many different stories and points of view, providing a detailed description of everyday organizing, but also original theoretical insights together with useful practical recommendations.’
– Barbara Czarniawska, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

‘The authors set out to develop a framework that explains if and how co-creation can be used as “strategy-as-practice”. In doing so, they have produced a wonderful case study on co-creating a city’s living and public space, the next movement and cultural turn following the “creative class” studies in urban design. There are innovative uses of narrative analysis to provide multiple perspectives of the co-creative process. It contains valuable insights for anyone interested in urban design.’
– Hans Hansen, Texas Tech University, US

‘This book makes a very important contribution to the strategy-as-practice field as it proposes a thorough ethnography about how governments, academia, business, non-profits and citizens engage themselves in the strategic and collaborative process of planning. Drawing on a comprehensive and compelling notion of “action nets”, the book provides a fascinating interpretive explanation that will be inspiring for academics and practitioners. This timely volume raises a host of fascinating issues related to organizing and strategizing as “co-creative practices” and will be an invaluable resource across multiple domains and organizational research areas. Moreover, the book will convince you that “small is beautiful”!’
– Linda Rouleau, HEC Montréal, Canada
Contents: 1. Co-creation and the city PART I: THE PLANNERS’ VIEW 2. The planning process 3. The ‘cultural turn’ in urban design PART II: THE VIEW FROM THE ACTION NETS 4. The organizer’s view: exploring emergent project action nets 5. The insider-participant view: common dualities on urban design and program organization 6. The public view: analysis of the narratives in the local press 7. Building a milieu for city marketing and branding The vignette collection PART III: THE ACHIEVEMENT 8. Comparisons with other European Capitals of Culture 9. Co-creating cities: future challenges Index