Nations, Cities and Organizations
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Chapter 11: Cultural Capital, Local Identities and Ethnic Diversity: A Study of Amsterdam Cultural Tourism Trends
Patrizia Riganti 11.1 INTRODUCTION Cities started as places of economic exchange, with the market at their core. They developed around places of physical communication such as the sea, rivers and main roads. Since their beginning, therefore, cities have been the place of cultural exchange, and in more recent centuries they have transformed themselves into melting pots of diverse, individual or group identities that have been assimilated and transformed into striking new city identities. Economies of scales have trigged cities’ continuous expansion, making them the place where talents and creativity were fostered and major innovations took place, this made possible by the diverse stock of natural and manmade resources and, more importantly, by cities’ human capital. Our globalised world imposes new challenges to the development of cities, which at times struggle to reinvent their identity in the face of an ever changing world, where both individual and group identities are in continuous, dynamic evolution. Culture, in both its tangible and intangible forms, has a huge stake in identity formation, but is more and more becoming a contested concept. Cultural heritage plays a strategic role in the sustainable development of cities: it strengthens social identities and attracts investments in the form of urban regeneration, often linked to tourism flows. For these reasons, it constitutes an important economic asset and its preservation and sound management is one of the prerequisites for any development aiming to benefit present generations whilst accounting for future ones (WCED, 1987). Cultural heritage summarizes people’s identities and shapes communities’...
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