Artists-accompanied urban regeneration: Insights and lessons from Utrecht and Rotterdam

Martin Zebracki & Lévi Smulders

Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie (Journal of Economic and Social Geography) 103(5): 615–623

Publication date: 2011


Urban regeneration in Dutch cities is increasingly accompanied by the cultural sector in general and by artists in particular. This paper presents comparative case studies on current artists-accompanied urban regeneration initiated by housing corporations in Utrecht and Rotterdam. On the basis of discourse analysis on the voices of decisive actors, it explores the rationale behind artists-accompanied urban regeneration and the sociospatial implications thereof. It empirically indicates that housing corporations are more inclined to deploy artists in urban regeneration when there are sufficient vacant buildings. It also illustrates that more decentralised housing corporations have a stronger and more long-term commitment to urban regeneration. The latter includes a greater commitment to interventions by artists within urban public space.

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