In 2006 Bologna was recognized by Unesco as a Creative City for Music. The Creative Cities Network (Uccn) had been set up by Unesco two years before “to promote cooperation with and among cities available or able to place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level”. Although there is no shared definition, since the 1990s creative cities have usually been associated with an employment base comprising successful new-economy industries, a vibrant pool of talented and qualified labour, high levels of environmental quality, a dynamic cultural milieu including artists, bohemians and gays, a glamorous nightlife, recurrent festivals and spectacles, iconic architecture, and a unifying symbolic identity (Scott, 2014). Even though this sounds like a new utopia, it is nothing more than an urban development scheme with which cities have been able to overcome deindustrialization issues. Other possible schemes have been Technopolitan, the Global city and more recently, the Smart city. In 1992 Neil Postman critically described the cities of the future as “technopolies” – that is, places in which technology redefines what is meant by any aspect of life, from art, to family, from religion to politics, and which provides new meaning to any institution (Postman, 1992). Technopoly was conceived of as a knowledge city with a high concentration of world-class research and technology centres (Simmies, 2001). The move of factories and stages of production from western countries to other continents contributed to the definition of another possible scheme, the Global city, able to attract and cluster pre- and post-fabrication activities (often included in creative industries activities such as marketing, advertising, computer gaming and so on). Global cities (usually large urban conglomerations such as New York, London, or Milan) were conceived of as the main nodes of an extensive network of activities carried out all over the world. Over the last decade the concept of Sustainable city was also introduced, suitable for mid-sized cities too and the Smart city resulting from the massive digitalization of traditional urban services such as local transport, schooling and the like (Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, and Geneva for example). In sum, the decline of western manufacturing stimulated the design of new cities focusing on post-industrial activities and exploring the opportunities made available by technology and culture. Creative city was one of the possible strategies. Over the last two decades of the 20th century Bologna too started to redesign its economic and social future, looking for new driving sectors and new imaginaries. Throughout the 20th century Bologna shaped itself as a city of mechanical engineering and cooperatives. As a matter of fact, since the interwar years and above all after the Second World War, the metropolitan area witnessed the flourishing of a myriad of small and medium-sized enterprises producing machinery and other mechanical items. The city could count on solid institutions, a shared work ethic, the informal transmission of knowledge, and educational institutions deeply entrenched in the urban fabric (the university and many technical institutes). In a nutshell, all the factors characterizing the industrial district model found fertile ground and enabled the completion of industrialization. Along with small and medium-sized companies, cooperative enterprises also developed into the second pillar of an enduring economic structure. While the industrial district model dominated manufacturing, large cooperative groups took the lead in food processing, retailing, insurance, and other service sectors. Deindustrialization in the late 20th century partly challenged the traditional economic fabric, requiring the evelopment of new sectors such as IT and data management, the arts, tourism and medical science. The question this essay aims to address is, was Bologna more than a manufacturing city even in the past? Was it a Technopolitan or creative city before these concepts became widespread? If not, can the city be shaped or reshaped as a creative city, today?

The shaping of historic cities between creative industries and manufacturing: a case study of Bologna in Italy

P. Battilani
2020

Abstract

In 2006 Bologna was recognized by Unesco as a Creative City for Music. The Creative Cities Network (Uccn) had been set up by Unesco two years before “to promote cooperation with and among cities available or able to place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level”. Although there is no shared definition, since the 1990s creative cities have usually been associated with an employment base comprising successful new-economy industries, a vibrant pool of talented and qualified labour, high levels of environmental quality, a dynamic cultural milieu including artists, bohemians and gays, a glamorous nightlife, recurrent festivals and spectacles, iconic architecture, and a unifying symbolic identity (Scott, 2014). Even though this sounds like a new utopia, it is nothing more than an urban development scheme with which cities have been able to overcome deindustrialization issues. Other possible schemes have been Technopolitan, the Global city and more recently, the Smart city. In 1992 Neil Postman critically described the cities of the future as “technopolies” – that is, places in which technology redefines what is meant by any aspect of life, from art, to family, from religion to politics, and which provides new meaning to any institution (Postman, 1992). Technopoly was conceived of as a knowledge city with a high concentration of world-class research and technology centres (Simmies, 2001). The move of factories and stages of production from western countries to other continents contributed to the definition of another possible scheme, the Global city, able to attract and cluster pre- and post-fabrication activities (often included in creative industries activities such as marketing, advertising, computer gaming and so on). Global cities (usually large urban conglomerations such as New York, London, or Milan) were conceived of as the main nodes of an extensive network of activities carried out all over the world. Over the last decade the concept of Sustainable city was also introduced, suitable for mid-sized cities too and the Smart city resulting from the massive digitalization of traditional urban services such as local transport, schooling and the like (Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, and Geneva for example). In sum, the decline of western manufacturing stimulated the design of new cities focusing on post-industrial activities and exploring the opportunities made available by technology and culture. Creative city was one of the possible strategies. Over the last two decades of the 20th century Bologna too started to redesign its economic and social future, looking for new driving sectors and new imaginaries. Throughout the 20th century Bologna shaped itself as a city of mechanical engineering and cooperatives. As a matter of fact, since the interwar years and above all after the Second World War, the metropolitan area witnessed the flourishing of a myriad of small and medium-sized enterprises producing machinery and other mechanical items. The city could count on solid institutions, a shared work ethic, the informal transmission of knowledge, and educational institutions deeply entrenched in the urban fabric (the university and many technical institutes). In a nutshell, all the factors characterizing the industrial district model found fertile ground and enabled the completion of industrialization. Along with small and medium-sized companies, cooperative enterprises also developed into the second pillar of an enduring economic structure. While the industrial district model dominated manufacturing, large cooperative groups took the lead in food processing, retailing, insurance, and other service sectors. Deindustrialization in the late 20th century partly challenged the traditional economic fabric, requiring the evelopment of new sectors such as IT and data management, the arts, tourism and medical science. The question this essay aims to address is, was Bologna more than a manufacturing city even in the past? Was it a Technopolitan or creative city before these concepts became widespread? If not, can the city be shaped or reshaped as a creative city, today?
Bologna and Kanazawa: protection and valorization of two historic cities
89
103
P.Battilani
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/742075
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact