Valuing culture and design in urban development

Introduction to special issue

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Eeva Berglund & Pekka Tuominen


The concepts of culture and design have entered politics and economics in new ways, and both are used in strategic ways to pursue urban development goals. As an introduction to a collection of two articles and three shorter texts that critically survey experiences in Finland, Denmark and Estonia, this article considers the uses of culture and design under conditions of normalised neoliberal place competition. Taking an anthropological view of social processes and drawing on Helsinki’s year as World Design Capital (2012), together with illustrations from the contributions, it raises questions about the political dimensions of culture and design policies.

Keywords: regeneration; urban policy; creative city; design policy; neoliberalism

Eeva Berglund

PhD, Vapaa tutkija, Kaupunkitutkimuksen ja ympäristöpolitiikan dosentti, Aalto yliopisto