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									Thessaloniki ’97 European Capital of Culture
   as an establishing mechanism of elite
 partnerships & coalitions of development:
       Towards a regime approach ?


                  Anestis D. Mantatzis
              Regional & Urban Planning MSc
               London School of Economics
              ECOC 3-pillar intervention logic




Source: ECOTEC (2009)
        ECOC 3-pillar intervention logic

    Respond to rather broad objectives
     From…
     Promotion of “Idea of Europe” via cultural activities
                                        …to
                                                     Economic benefits for cities
    Put Culture under the service of non-cultural initiatives
1.   Tourism flows as evaluation criteria
2.   Financial support depending on the economic benefits legitimated
3.   Candidate rhetoric


    “Common European cultural policies” or “European
     cooperation around policies for culture”
     ECOC as cultural

    “ large-scale cultural events which have a dramatic character,
     mass popular appeal and international significance”
    (Roche 1999)


    “ contribute to short-term revenues, national/international
     significance, putting the city in world stage investment
     competition”
    (Burbank et al 2001)
ECOC as cultural
                                Cultural
                                tourism
      1 time                                                   Media
                                benefits
    assignment                                                coverage




                                   3rd
                                dimension

                                                 Image
                    Urban
                                             Promotion &
                 regeneration                city marketing




                                “common
                                  Spirit ”
                                     Why to boost such a mega-event strategy ?
Source: Palmer Associates I (2004)
Is strategic planning really important ?
   “Planning is an essential ingredient not only for the short term
    success for the event itself but also in realizing the longer term
    benefits for the community in the holding of such events”
    (Hall 1989)
   “Provides a sense of ownership among stakeholders in the selected
    objectives, increase commitment & cooperation” (Bromwell 1997)
However…
 political processes + involved actors value things differently
                   constant struggle of power

    How urban leadership & local interests influence ECOC
                    mega-event production
Urban Power : Concepts & Debates

       Elitism
                                           Pluralism
 Powerful individuals
    hold power                         Government holds
                                            power
 Share commitment
                                       Conflicting group &
                                       individual interests




                        Urban Regime
                          Approach
Urban Power : Concepts & Debates
 Informal but stable networks
 Influence on setting the urban policy agenda


…but why are so appealing ?
 Setting alliances for high “priority problems”
 “Build bridges” with other interests towards common
  objectives
 Match concerns about the importance of long term vision
  and strategic planning
                                                                  "3rd dimension"
     Did Thessaloniki '97
                                                                     Economic
European Capital of Culture
                                                                    Development
   mega-event acted as a
 formulation mechanism of
     "elite" coalitions for              Strategi
   economic development                     c
                                         Plannin
 between powerful political
                                            g
    and economical local                  Vision
           players ?


                                           1st
                                         Researc
                                            h
                                         Questio
                     Political Elitism              Political Pluralism
                                            n


                                          Urban
                                          Regime
                                         Approach




Can these "elite" coalitions
  be explained within the
 urban regime conceptual                   2nd
       framework ?                        Researc
                                             h
                                          Questio
                                             n
                       The research process
 In-depth interviews

 Contacts on personal basis
 Recorded material extracted & analyzed : different questions
synthesized respond to each attribute




      Tested regime criteria according to Davies (2003)
                The story of Thessaloniki ‘97




Source: European Communities. (2009)
            Thessaloniki as a mechanism of
                   ‘elite’ coalitions
   Diffused but blurred vision for the economic, international role of the city
   1997 ECOC as a unique opportunity to tackle long-standing problems for
    the city            infrastructures

  “Formalistic” consultation process
  Numerous proposals from all different
   institutions & lobbies, wide participation
But….
  Not a clear orientation of the hosted ECOC mega event
  Also, lack of strategic development plan for the city minimized economic
   benefits on 3rd dimension deliverables after 1997


               A tie for “elite” interests was absent
             Towards an Urban Regime ?
 Lack of clear orientation & objectives left
space for pressures & personal interests
                 …and conflicts !




 Low motivation for private investors
 Huge state financial support




     How independent was
      decision making ?
                                    Source: Palmer R. et al. (2004)
                  Towards an Urban Regime ?
 One-sided interdependence towards formal government….
                  ….& not distributed between all local, private actors
But

   State influence on decisions is not clear, depends on the
    perspective…

    "What was really dominated was the element of central programming far from the people and the local
    vehicles involved. (...) "In terms of capital infrastructure, minister's influence was caltalytical, whereas
    in the artistic programme power distribution was more balanced. My personal feeling now and then is
    that politicians did not share the same long-term commitment for economic development but served
    rather short-term political interests". [Interview material]

    “Central government tried to upgrade the whole attempt internationally beyond local range only.
     Political responsibility from government authorities was beneficial from the whole programming and the
     ministers presence and support bring money in this effort.”
      [Interview material]
             Towards an Urban Regime ?

   City was benefited narrowly on infrastructure and renewal projects

But…

   Lack of strategic development planning after 1997



    Networks & coalitions did not sustain themselves
          Towards an Urban Regime ?




                                                                                                 Source: National Tourism Organization data
                                      Total persons and overnight stays in Thessaloniki hotels
                                                     (1996-1998 Monthly data)
50000
                    Stays overnight
45000               Persons

40000

35000

30000

25000

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10000

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              Source: Palmer R. et
                   al (2004)
   A vision is necessary to motivate & collaborate local “elites” for a
    common objective…

... but need something more

   Fundamental strategic development plan to preserve “elite”
    networks in the long-run & boost the local economy



   No regime networks
  Does it really serve European
culture or local interests under the
         veil of the EU ?
For your comments….



    A.Mantatzis@lse.ac.uk

								
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