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Id 218
Author Navarro Yanez, C., J.
Title Do ‘creative cities’ have a dark side? Cultural scenes and socioeconomic status in Barcelona and Madrid (1991–2001)

Navarro Yanez, C.J. (2013). Do ‘creative cities’ have a dark side? Cultural scenes and socioeconomic status in Barcelona and Madrid (1991–2001). Cities, 35: 213‑220.

Keywords Cultural scenes; Creativity; Gentrification; Urban policies; Spain
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Abstract Studies of culture and creativity have shown that they can play an effective role in promoting local development. However, cultural projects and strategies oriented to promote creativity may also promote inequalities inside the city. According to the gentrification thesis, the result of these strategies could be segregation processes and the generation of “tourist bubbles”. Thus, “creative cities” may have a “dark side”, which becomes apparent when the analysis compares differences whitin instead of among cities. This article aims to examine this issue in two large Spanish cities (Barcelona and Madrid) by analyzing the change in socioeconomic status and cultural scenes between 1991 and 2001 at the city and neighborhoods levels. This analysis will attempt to answer two main questions: is localization of cultural scenes in the city associated with socioeconomic status?, does this relationship varies between cities? The main results indicate a positive answer for these questions. First, there is a strong relationship between socioeconomic status and non-conventional cultural scenes. Nevertheless, cross-lagged regression analyses show that change in cultural scenes depends on socioeconomic status, whereas the effect of cultural scenes on socioeconomic change is weaker. Second, this pattern is stronger in Madrid than in Barcelona: a stronger relationship between cultural scenes and socioeconomic status exists in Madrid, and socioeconomic status had a stronger effect on changes cultural scenes between 1991 and 2001. This difference may be explained by the urban policies developed in these cities. More comparative analyses needed to confirm this potential dark side of creative cities.

Metodology In order to examine the changes in the socio-economic features of the two cities some classic indicators from the 1991 and 2001 censuses have been selected (age groups, unemployment level, educational level and socio-economic status of inhabitants). With regard to the cultural dimension, two indicators were utilized: the density of the cultural market, in terms of the number of cultural installations per capita, and the orientation of their cultural scenes.

Findings The main findings are as follows: 1. After a major cultural event, as an example of the instrumental strategy, the cities show not only evidence of socio-economic growth and a change towards non-conventional scenes, but also evidence of greater internal imbalance between their neighborhoods with regard to these two dimensions. 2. The changes in socioeconomic status and cultural scenes in the neighborhoods are based overall on a dynamic of reproduction in both cities. The socio-economic levels and cultural scenes of the neighborhoods after their respective large cultural event are closely related to those that existed prior to it. There is a ‘status demand model’ (high-status neighborhoods generate non-conventional scenes), and a less important ‘cultural attraction model’ (non-conventional scenes attract high-status inhabitants to the neighborhood) that show trajectories of gentrification. 3. There exist a small number of neighborhoods with neo-bohemian features, similar to classic low socio-economic status neighborhoods but with younger and more diverse populations as well as denser cultural markets and non-conventional cultural scenes. A small percentage of these neighborhoods constitute pre-gentrification spaces to the extent that their cultural scenes (in 1991) seem to have attracted high-status groups (in 2001) to the detriment of their pre-existing residents. 4. Although these processes are similar in both cities, in the case of Barcelona there was a greater permeability between neighborhoods, and cultural scenes had a stronger influence on the change in neighborhoods' socioeconomic status. In the case of Madrid there is a greater reproduction effect through socio-economic status, as well as a process of change which more clearly combines growth in the city with imbalances between its neighborhoods.
Open Access YES
DOI DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2013.05.007
Search Database SC (Scopus)
Technique Statistical analysis
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