Iconic Planning distresses. From archistar’ projects to public art installations in post-industrial cities

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Since the widely publicized revitalization success story of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, local administrations, especially in post-industrial cities, have been scrambling to create their own flagship cultural projects: arts, public art and signature architectures have been advocated as positive contributors to urban restructuring and regeneration As a consequence of this cultural turn in urban regeneration, thousands of pages have been written to prove or falsify this common and widely-held belief. This article doesn’t align itself with either point of view but it addresses the role of flagship regeneration projects in radically rearticulating the meaning of place and space in the so-called post-industrial cities. Drawing extensively from interviews conducted with experts, practitioners, artists, and administrators, either in Europe and in USA, the paper suggests the existence of two approaches to iconic planning: the first deals with the physical regeneration of urban space and takes into account the implementation of flagship projects as a simple means of aesthetic enhancement, marketing or property; the second deals with a number of potentially popular and democratizing tendencies which have developed in different forms of public, community-based cultural activity in the past decade or so and which have deeply contributed to the re-construction of the city as a place. As a final point it comes to conclusion that more than ever urban public space at the present moment turns into arena of clash between private and public interests, on the one hand, and, on the other, a cross-point between official urban policy and increasing self-enlightened consciousness of the urbanites as a process of critical public debate.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHidden Cities: Understanding Urban Popcultures
Numero di pagine10
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • architettura iconica
  • artepubblica
  • edonismo
  • hedonism
  • iconic planning
  • public art
  • regeneration
  • rigenerazione


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