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Id 206
Author Grodach, C.,
Title Museums as Urban Catalysts: The Role of Urban Design in Flagship Cultural Development

Grodach, C. (2008). Museums as Urban Catalysts: The Role of Urban Design in Flagship Cultural Development, Journal of Urban Design, 13:2, 195-212, DOI: 10.1080/13574800801965742

Keywords City image; Flagship cultural projects; Urban design; Cultural catalyst; Museums
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Abstract A long-held urban redevelopment strategy has been the investment in flagship cultural projects—large-scale, iconic museums and arts centres that are intended to enhance the city image while catalyzing private sector investment and attracting tourists to the surrounding area. This paper concentrates on an aspect of the flagship cultural strategy that has received surprisingly little focused attention—the role that urban design and context play in realizing project outcomes. The analysis concentrates on two established flagship museums in Los Angeles and San Jose, California. The research demonstrates that certain urban design characteristics can negatively affect the ability of a project to attract visitors and generate commercial activity. However, at the same time, factors beyond the local context may be an overriding factor in project outcomes thus calling into question the concept of cultural catalyst.

Metodology Following an overview of the research on museums and urban revitalization, the author highlights two case studies of established flagship cultural projects in Los Angeles and San Jose, California - namely, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) in San Jose, California. Drawing on interviews with city officials, cultural facility staff, neighborhood organizations, and members of the local arts community as well as documentary sources, each case examines the relationship between urban design, local economic development, and the institutional needs of the cultural facilities themselves.

Technique Interview; Document analysis; Literature review; Case studies

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