Chapter 16: Experiencing spatial design
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A central feature of the experience economy is that places are designed for experience. Place is a commodity for consumption and it is designed to stimulate growth (Urry, 1995). There is an attempt to boost cities and regions in development strategies’ investment in cultural events and institutions while multinational firms construct dazzling brandscapes to provide an entertaining and seductive environment for selling their products. The touristic gaze is no longer reserved for spectacular or extraordinary space-times, but has become part of an experience-seeking everyday life. Indeed, the central arguments for an economy of experiences were prefigured by Lash and Urry (1994, p. 259) who almost 20 years ago argued that in post-Fordist capitalism, touristic forms of cultural consumption disseminate into the spheres of everyday life. Towns, cities and municipalities, challenged by population decrease and lack of commercial production, look to ‘the experience economy’ for revenue and potential attraction of citizens and visitors. The reinvention, rebuilding and rebranding of places (Nyseth, 2009) has become a (perceived) necessity in culturally driven urban and regional development. Florida’s work (2002, 2005) on creative labour and urban competition has been particularly influential. Places are articulated as being in competition with each other for visitors, financial investment, residency and tourists.

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