Session 19

The geography of culture-led development
Chairs: Alessandra Faggian (Social Sciences, Gran Sasso Science Institute); Alessandro Crociata (Social Sciences, Gran Sasso Science Institute); Fabio Pollice (University of Salento); Giulia Urso (Social Sciences, Gran Sasso Science Institute)

In recent decades, geography and regional sciences have experienced an increasing interest in culture-led development that is based on the idea that culture and creativity are key drivers of urban and regional development. Scholarly discussion is lively and articulated, with an insightful and still open debate on theoretical issues and empirical evidence. A growing literature on the so-called "cultural turn" (Amin and Thrift, 2007) covers a range of multidimensional issues by moving from the basic - yet questioned - assumption that the cultural and creative economy is a major force shaping knowledge-based economies, and that is conducive to sustainable regional development with more jobs and greater social cohesion (Pratt 2004; Scott 2004; Comunian, Faggian and Li 2010; Sacco et. al, 2012; Boix-Domenech and Soler-Marco 2015; Crociata et al. 2015).
The year 2018, being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, has boosted the interest of scholars in providing a more appropriate formulation of background principles and target objectives for the cultural and creative sectors in the wider context of EU's competitiveness and cohesion policies. This is also an ongoing opportunity to overcome the traditional focus on the mere sectorial growth and to pay more attention to the effects that culture-led development processes may produce by looking at several dimensions of analysis and using an interdisciplinary lens.
More specifically, greater attention should be devoted to the role of space/place in culture-led development. Culture lies at the heart of urban and regional renewal. Evidence shows the power of culture as a strategic asset capable of addressing three kinds of imbalances: the economic one, the environmental one and the social one. A spatial investigation would contribute to a better understanding of the factors fostering local development and those enhancing cultural heritage. A particularly interesting context of application would be intermediate (or small-medium towns) and peripheral areas, which are far from urban poles, commonly recognized as the cores for this kind of development.
Given the importance of the spatial dimension highlighted above, our Special Session The geography of culture-led development fits well the IGU Thematic Conference "Heritage Geographies: Politics, Uses and Governance of the Past".
The aim of the special session is to attract contributions focusing on: Cultural and creative Industries and regional innovation; Cultural and creative industries as developmental driver of local economies; Cultural heritage as driver of tourism investments; Cultural assets and sustainability: access, inclusiveness and community wellbeing; Cultural heritage management and tourism development in contexts of crisis; cultural heritage and industries and resilience; culture-led development in small-medium towns and peripheral/remote areas.
If your research interests fall within the topics above, please consider submitting a paper for our special session. We are looking forward to receiving contributions to stimulate an interesting debate!