How Art could save the City?

A brief by Elise Baudelet, junior expert in territorial marketing at CAAC

“Places of Art can get us away from fear, and when we are less afraid, we are less bad.”(1) What if places of art also make our cities less frightening and better to live?

Art is part of the re-appropriation of a place by its residents. For instance, street art is a good illustration of citizens reinvesting public spaces. It makes them closer to the citizens and gives a soul to an aseptic district. Cultural areas provide a competitive advantage by creating a unique urban environment. From historic to modern constructions, artistic buildings allow a city to differentiate.

Among the good practice of Atlantic Arc cities, we can highlight Bristol with the street art movement initiated by Banksy, Bilbao and the impressive Guggenheim museum or Avilés with the Niemeyer CenterLisbon has become a world example of Street Art giving another dimension of the town. As well, Coordinator, Tamara Guirao, is recording a gallery of street art in Rennes, a graphic activity that changes the image of the city.

Urban heritage, unique cultural venues or cultural events also increase place dynamism, revitalize an area, and boost tourism. The Edinburgh International Festival or the Angoulême International Comics Festival have widened the attractiveness of the city. Both events are the busiest moment of the year for these cities and give them an international dimension.

Allowing creativity, enhancing citizens’ pride and generating positive financial outcomes are additional benefits. Places that are culturally active offer better urban environment to live and work and so to invest, so art is not limited to generate tourism but also entices private investors.

Lastly, the development of creative places is often an opportunity for collaboration between public and private sectors both locally and internationally. Cultural exchanges and transnational cooperation are often facilitated through artistic aims. Different European projects are working on this issue such as Cultur*at, IMAGINA ATLANTICA or KNOW CITIES, facilitated by CAAC, representing the creativity and the cultural identity of the Atlantic Arc Cities.

(1) Jean-Luc Lagarce, Du Luxe et de l’impuissance – Les solitaires intempestifs, 1994 

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