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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 4: The organizer’s view: exploring emergent project action nets

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


This chapter explores the implementation of the ECoC program, but in a different way than the conventional program-portfolio management. In the Umeå ECoC program most of the projects originated from local community activities, they emerged in response to the program calls and they fulfilled a set of goals designed during planning. Our approach was to look how the local activities clustered around narrative themes that formed the whole program. These ‘thematic configurations’ of local activity are the action nets, and each one of them translates and carries a part of the program story that converge into a larger master-story. In order to find the action nets we look into the narratives and find common patterns of criteria using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA).

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