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Urban Strategies for Culture-Driven Growth

Co-creating a European Capital of Culture

Nils Wåhlin, Maria Kapsali, Malin H. Näsholm and Tomas Blomquist

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’.
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Chapter 2: The planning process

Nils Wåhlin, Maria Kapsali, Malin H. Näsholm and Tomas Blomquist


We illustrate the planning process during which program planning was done in parallel and at points in collaboration with the urban design development. A stakeholder and time-phase mapping was used because our main focus was to analyse the decision-making on the goals, objectives and main activities of the program and how they were captured in a very prolonged process of negotiation between the stakeholders. We apply the ‘strategy-as-practice’ perspective through a narrative lens where we analysed the process upon which the program was formulated when in certain times the city’s strategic ideas were translated into a master plan. In every phase we looked at a point of translation. The point of translation is a key passage where multiple perspectives and tensions shift the narrative plot and the values and aims in the narratives. Our analysis of these three translation points demonstrates how people involved perceived the initiative and the role of culture as a development choice.

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