This chapter introduces the theme of the book by situating the narrative in an urban context. Through the lens of a ‘cultural turn’ perspective, potential city development avenues for the way ahead are discussed. High expectations are being made in relation to contemporary cities concerning how creativity can raise the imaginative capability among citizens and harness opportunities tied to what we in this book call ‘culture-driven growth’. The underlying assumption is that ordinary people can make the extraordinary happen if given the chance. Urban strategies, nowadays, are beginning to take on this challenge using increasingly sophisticated means by bringing forward ways of organizing that stimulates the sought-after values. In the international context is the European Capital of Culture initiative by the European Union a significant example of such strivings. In this chapter, we outline the characteristics of this large initiative and how these conditions became translated in one of the recent ECoCs – the City of Umeå in Sweden. This case is the centerpiece of our book and having been assessed by the European Union, it has now been forwarded by them as a role model for cities in the future that aspire to the title of European Capital of Culture. According to recent developments of ECoCs, the Umeå strategy of ‘co-creation’ based on the reciprocal dependency between the citizens and the city was formulated in a timely manner and attracted a lot of attention. This provided a good platform for our research project, which this book is based upon, through which we have investigated the pros and cons of such a strategy. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the analytic approach we pursued when conducting our study and how this is dealt with in the different chapters of the book.
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Nils Wåhlin, Maria Kapsali, Malin H. Näsholm and Tomas Blomquist
Darja Reuschke, Colin Mason, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham
This introductory chapter discusses the rationale for connecting entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, presents the objectives and key questions of this volume and provides an overview of the book chapters. Major economic and societal changes that have led to an increase in micro businesses and non-farm self-employment are outlined and literatures and concepts in entrepreneurship research and urban and neighbourhood studies that are useful for understanding these changes discussed. The chapter highlights the home as entrepreneurial space and the household as unit of analysis for entrepreneurship studies. It argues that cities are places of small-scale businesses of all sorts, including home-based or mobile online businesses, that they accommodate a considerable self-employed workforce and that therefore scholars, policymakers and practitioners have to look beyond central business districts, high streets and designated business areas to detect and promote entrepreneurship in cities.