Umeå: Co-creation and the City: A Study on Culture-led Growth and Participatory Approaches to Urban Development in the Planning of the European Capital of Culture 2014
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Umeå, Sweden, is going to be the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2014. How does this major event in the city affect the spatial planning? An official theme for Umeå2014 is ‘co-creation’, and this focus on participation is interesting since previous research has criticised other ECOCs for top-down processes when aiming to culturally rebrand the city. This study aims to analyse discussions about urban development, participation and culture-led growth in the light of the upcoming year as an ECOC.
This is a qualitative case study on Umeå, where eight semi-structured interviews are used as the main method of data collection. Data is analysed by implementing a thematic analysis, which is also driven by the use of concepts from the theoretical framework focusing on culture-led growth, place identity, participation, democracy and place marketing.
Results show that Umeå2014 is discussed as an arena for positioning the informants themselves and their organisations, as well as Umeå as a city. In several cases, informants discuss culture-led growth, as well as economic growth in general, as a future positive benefit from Umeå2014. The discourse about positioning and gaining from Umeå2014 could be seen as a way of accepting a current discourse on competitiveness as a driving force for growth, however this is problematised from a theoretical perspective in the discussion about the results.
The city is also characterized by a strong cultural identity since before Umeå2014, with the place being described as open, diverse and with a rich cultural life. The importance of culture for a democratic discussion about the city is also seen as something different and separated from the future cultural events during 2014. Several informants talk about a new climate and interest for dialogue about the city from the municipality's side; however Umeå2014 should not be seen as the main reason for this.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 60 p.
culture-led growth, place identity, participation in planning, urban development, European Capital of Culture, ECOC, Sweden
kulturdriven tillväxt, platsidentitet, medborgardialog, kulturhuvudstadsår, stadsutveckling, Umeå, Umeå2014
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83729OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-83729DiVA: diva2:676331
Master's Program in Spatial Planning and Development