chapter  5
21 Pages

Urban regeneration

The epigraphs at the head of this chapter appear to contradict one another. Ken Worpole’s statement might be read as simply extolling the panacea of cultural policy for troubled towns and cities. David Harvey’s ‘general problem’ is that of ‘wealth creation’. It could thus be construed that the only realistic prospects for urban regeneration, in his opinion, are sound economic analysis and public policies aimed at resisting the harsher effects of foot-loose capital. These epigraphs suggest irreconcilable extremes: on the one hand, that cultural policy is the solution to the ‘general problem’; and, on the other hand, that no amount of public investment in cultural leverage and related partnerships with the private sector can satisfactorily ameliorate the devastating consequences of de-industrialisation. It is reductive to argue that because culture is an economic force in its own right, a growth industry and source of wealth, therefore, cultural policy is nothing less or, indeed, more than economic policy. Such a view is unrealistic. However, there is no necessary contradiction between wealth creation and improving the qualities of urban life: they may even influence one another.