Cultural Political Economy of Small Cities: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cultural Political Economy of Small Cities

1st Edition

Edited by Anne Lorentzen, Bas van Heur


218 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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The volume highlights ongoing changes in the political economy of small cities in relation to the field of culture and leisure. Culture and leisure are focal points both to local entrepreneurship and to planning by city governments, which means that these developments are subject to market dynamics as well as to political discourse and action. Public-private partnerships as well as conflicts of interests characterise the field, and a major issue related to the strategic development of culture and leisure is the balance between market and welfare.

This field is gaining importance in most cities today in planning, production and consumption, but to the extent that these changes have drawn academic attention it has focused on large, metropolitan areas and on creative clusters and flagship high culture projects. Smaller cities and their often substantively different cultural strategies have been largely ignored, thus leading to a huge gap in our knowledge on contemporary urban change. By bringing together a number of case studies as well as theoretical reflections on the cultural political economy of small cities, this volume contributes to an emerging small cities research agenda and to the development of policy-relevant expertise that is sensitive to place-specific cultural dynamics.

In taking this approach, the volume hopes to contribute to emerging research on culture and leisure economies by developing a differentiated spatial dimension to it, without which sustainable urban strategies cannot be developed. This book integrates perspectives of economic development with questions of governance and equity in relation to the fields of culture and leisure planning and development. This book should be of interest to students and researchers of Urban Studies and Planning, Regional Studies and Economics, as well as Sociology and Geography.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Cultural Political Economy of Small Cities Anne Lorentzen and Bas van Heur Theory and Methods 2. Small Cities and the Sociospatial Specificity of Economic Development: A Heuristic Approach Bas van Heur 3. On a Road to Nowhere: A Comment on Amenities and Urban and Regional Development Høgni Kalsø Hansen and Lars Winther 4. Finding Creativity in a Small City: How Qualitative Mapping Methods can Reveal New Geographies of Creativity Chris Brennan-Horley Culture as Economic Growth Strategy 5. Sustaining Small Cities through Leisure, Culture and Experience Economy Anne Lorentzen 6. Clarifying Creativity and Culture in a Small City on the Canadian Periphery: Challenges and Opportunities in Greater Sudbury Heather M. Hall and Betsy Donald 7. The Role of Arts and Culture in Economic Regeneration: Gaelic in Glasgow Douglas Chalmers and Mike Danson Actors, Networks, Creative Alliances 8. Making a Micropole: The Experiensation of Vejle Søren Smidt-Jensen 9. Eclectic Creativity: Interdisciplinary Creative Alliances as Informal Cultural Strategy Alison Bain and Dylann McLean 10. Europe's Internal Periphery: Small Towns in the Context of Reflexive Polycentricity Paul L. Knox and Heike Mayer Culture Governance, Social Equity 11. Shifting Strategies and Contexts for Culture in Small City Planning: Interlinking Quality of Life, Economic Development, Downtown Vitality, and Community Sustainability Nancy Duxbury 12. Conflicting Economic and Cultural Subjectivities: Governing the Future of a Small and Shrinking City Nina Gribat 13. Landscapes of Nostalgia: Place Marketing and Nostalgia in the American Small Town Jennifer Mapes

About the Editors

Anne Lorentzen is Professor of Geography at Aalborg University, Denmark.

Bas van Heur is Assistant Professor of Social Geography at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

About the Series

Regions and Cities

In today’s globalised, knowledge-driven and networked world, regions and cities have assumed heightened significance as the interconnected nodes of economic, social and cultural production, and as sites of new modes of economic governance and policy experimentation. This book series brings together incisive and critically engaged international and interdisciplinary research on this resurgence of regions and cities, and should be of interest to geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists and cultural scholars, as well as to policy-makers involved in regional and urban development.

If you would like to discuss a potential new book for the series, please contact:

Joan Fitzgerald – [email protected] – Series Editor-in-Chief, or

Natalie Tomlinson – [email protected] – Routledge Commissioning Editor

For more information on the Regional Studies Association, visit


Did you know that as a Regional Studies Association member you’re entitled to a 30% discount on all Routledge books? To order, simply email Luke McNicholas ([email protected]), or phone on +44 (0) 20 701 77545 and declare your RSA membership.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Urban & Regional
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General