Whose regeneration? A case study to investigate the potential of Hull as the UK City of Culture 2017

Butler, Amelia Rose (2015) Whose regeneration? A case study to investigate the potential of Hull as the UK City of Culture 2017. [Dissertation]

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Culture has become a method in which to affect change within declining post-industrial cities; since the 90’s it has been used extensively in the discourse of urban regeneration schemes. The UK City of Culture provides a rhetoric, which hopes to replicate the success of Liverpool, after the pioneering city changed public perceptions and became a thriving post-industrial economy following its European Capital of Culture year in 2008. Conversely, such schemes have been criticised for promoting investment which has led mainly to the increase in the price of private property, enabling property developers to benefit from the rebranded city. Of course new investment improves some aspects of the urban design of the city, social and community issues tend to be neglected.
In November 2013, Hull was awarded the UK City of Culture 2017. The aim of this research is to elicit how the residents of Hull have reacted to the prospect of culture being the main driver for the rebranding of their city. This study uses public survey and publicised documentation to evaluate how Hull fairs in the scope of transferrable regeneration ‘models’. Whilst providing a potential grassroots based strategy which would facilitate a more democratised outcome.
The study found that the majority of residents were optimistic about the potential implications of being UK City of Culture. Yet worries about employment, housing and general maintenance of the city were amongst issues raised, respondents believe this form of city infrastructure should have a higher priority than improving cultural amenities. As a predominately working class city, the model will have little reach within the city, as the scheme aims to attract middle class residents into the city to increase the consumer market.

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