Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Case Studies

Part 1 of 2

1997 - 1999

ERDF - Article 10 Project - Cultural Innovation and Economic Development

List of Contents


CIED - Case Studies by Dr. Hatto Fischer, Co-ordinator

Case Studies of Planning Procedures until Implementation Fractal Planning - cultural and economic development in cities The Comparative study on how fractilizatioin is initiated and what determines the choice of replicable forms Purpose of the Pilot Projects in CIED Values and cultural insights Solutions - new concepts for urban planning Presuppositions transformed through the case studies into preconditions Analytical-Practical Questions Pilot Projects of CIED

CIED - Case Studies Dr. Hatto Fischer

1997 Co-ordination

Case studies within CIED reflect efforts to validate the original working hypothesis presuming a specific linkage between culture and economic development. The studies serve as a bridge between general notions of European projects and particular circumstances of cities governed by the rule to go by. The latter states really the prime condition, namely if this can be understood as seeking ‘positive solutions’ within the range of practical possibilities, when it comes to implement a cultural project. Needless to say, that touches upon a difficult ‘sujet’.

For there are different levels of sophistication involved, which alter the nature and scope of such projects. As pointed out already by the “Charta of Athens”, 1933 of Le Corbusier et al., the kind of linkage envisioned between culture and economy requires itself a definition of the city. This includes the organisation of work based on land/property relationships. Of interest is that the Charta of those times reflects already a crucial postulate, namely how to plan so well ahead of the times the city, that in due course ‘no expropriation’ shall be needed, in order to survive collectively, that is culturally speaking. What is meant by this serves as basis for further reflections, since no illegality can be resolved by further illegality. The boundaries of civil cities are, therefore, the framework of their own legality in the making.

Yet as the German philosopher Th.W. Adorno would say, such definitions are useless because nothing can be defined since not really self-understood. Yet if taken as a major value premise, it would mean the ‘architecture of projects’ is really at the mercy of some subjective guilt-benefit attribution pattern with the most adapted personality clearly the one gaining advantages out of the deeper discontent of the others.

Culturally speaking, the city is a living entity of people manifesting themselves through various forms of identity seeking activities. The understanding of that is no easy task. Culture evades definitions while concrete activities presuppose planning them can be rational, even if a complex undertaking.

Nevertheless, even after much discussion at the Second Steering Committee meeting in Palermo, July 1997 and at the Galway conference in October 1997, the CIED partners face still the task of having to test their working hypothesis. Presumably there are still up in the air too many assumptions of how to bring about such a consensus which makes possible the implementation of good ideas. It depends upon being able to work within an overall accepted framework of planning methodologies. Yet even if done consequently, the latter does not take on automatically the form of ‘good practise’ at local level. This is only then the case when concrete decisions with regards to a culturally outstanding object of interest, e.g. re-usage of a former industrial building, mean really a qualitative improvement of life in cities.

Case studies within CIED come after completion of the phases of clarification of ‘cultural consensus measures’ and subsequent user concepts. Both steps are needed in order to know how a refinement of planning methods looks like. By orientating then the Pilot Projects towards a concrete object of interest to all, it is expected that they manifest already components of a ‘Good Practise’ at local and regional level.

1. Case Studies of Planning procedures until Implementation
Start Cultural Calendar: activities
A A Cultural Consensus Measures
B User Studies/User Concepts
- the art of creating a dialogue -
Chronological Procedures maturing process of an idea in a lived reality - then seized upon -
transformed under planning
constraints versus liveable present
Bring about such reintegration of project into the main economic flow, that the present becomes definable by activities going on at ‘one-and-at-the-same-time’
Mixed Usage: integrative concept
upgraded through inclusion of
cultural factors

Limited Planning:
Initiative, Anticipation, Know-how

To bring about a comparative analysis of the 5 (five) case studies completed by the CIED partners, point of completion of a project’s object and moment of entry into normal flow of things must be determined as part of the overall time and monitoring scale.

Case Study and Monitoring

Choice of Object:

how selected? local circumstances and cultural identity contradiction between cultural and economic categories

Wahl des Objekts:

wie dazu gekommen? lokale Gegebenheiten und kulturelle Identitaet - Widerspruch zwischen kulturellen und oekonomischen Kriterien

Volos: former Brick factory - ownership: DEMEKAV

Cardiff: former coal exchange building - ownership: Cardiff Bay Development Corporation

Galway - no building designated as of yet to house the cultural heritage

Palermo - ZISA factory and psychiatric hospital - ownership: City of Palermo

Leipzig - Museum for Industry and Work in the building in the Plagwitz area - ownership: City of Leipzig

Strategy of Integration:

every economy depends upon time, and especially emphasis upon ‘cultural innovation’ means the revitalized object must be within the time modalities of the overall economy

Strategie der Integration:

Jede Oekonomie ist abhaengig von der Zeit, und insbesondere wegen der Betonung ‘kultureller Innovation’ Wiedernutzung eines Objektes muss innerhalb den Zeit Modalitaeten der insgesamten Oekonomie geschehen

Volos - unclear on how urban revitalization of historical centre can be linked to port and other functions of the city, except to revive handicrafts as part of the local heritage planning of activities which will be upgraded as a result

Cardiff - part of the overall development scheme as designed by Cardiff Bay Development Corporation

Galway - shift from tourism to education in a pronounced way by single cultural definition of heritage planning through active cultural group orientated around one language, i.e. Gaelic a. world wide contacts

Palermo - loose association of versatile bodies of interest from town planners to university people all united in the hope to stay free, mentally speaking, while aware of many restrictions at local and regional level

Leipzig - competence of decision making processes relate to strategic interests in re-vitalization plans of the local economy, but not yet able to adjust after series of mistakes made after 1989, that is German re-unification

Model of basic idea and basic concept

shaping a model through user surveys leads to new design strategies - acceptance of basic concept depends upon cultural criteria

Modellierung der Idee und Grundkonzept:

Definition des Models durch Benutzer Konzept beeinflusst nachhaltig Entwurf Akkzeptanz des Grundkonzeptes bedingt durch kulturelle Kriterien

How shaped through culturally orientated decision making body: various forms and depending upon developer/ownership/

consensus driven or not, but also ability to use or not European project orientations within local context

Public Relations:

presenting the idea and articulation of the concept

Einbringung der Idee und Artikulation des

Konzepts: Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit

In any effort to have a basic idea be accepted, there are reflected general tendencies and forms of legitimisation for expenditure of public money in a certain direction

Financial Aspects


See here, for example, the models as proposed by Michael D. Higgins in Galway: only public, only private, mixture, etc., and their cultural impact

Construction / Reconversion

Most of the time reconversion is self-determined by shape of building and the content it should house, whereas archaeological like reconstruction guidelines restrict restoration efforts

Bau / Umbau

Meistens wird die Umwandlung durch Form und Inhalt bestimmt, aber durch archaeologisch aehnliche Ueberlegungen wird die Rekonstruktion enorm auf ein Minimum des Orginals


What guidelines will evolve in due course of CIED practise, given the tension between strict reconstruction efforts and re-usage of former industrial buildings with open-ended ideas, so that with greater freedom to interpret practical guidelines developed especially for industrial heritage, it becomes a matter of creating ‘imaginative spaces’ to be used in a ‘cultural innovative’ manner.

User Model

Define user(s) as has done Cardiff for its object, the former coal exchange building, and link this to a viable network of economic agents composed of private, public and mixed nature, then users shall determine the character of a place within the limits of the surrounding space both inside and outside the designated object and its area.

The emphasis in Palermo has been on border cases, that is what happens between evolving activities within the space determined by the object and its neighbourhood having quite other intentions and thus activities, for how to conjoin them?

Betreiber Model

Definiere Benutzer/Betreiber wie Cardiff das fuer die ehemalige Kohlenboerse getan hat, and verbinde dies mit einem nachhaltigen Netzwerk von oekonomischen Traegern (private, oeffentliche, privat-oeffentliche), denn die Benutzer/Betreiber werden den Charakter des Ortes bestimmen, und dies innerhalb den Grenzen der Umgebung des ausgewaehlten Objektes.

Die Betonung in Palermo ist auf Grenzfaelle, d.h. was passiert zwischen den Aktivitaeten die sich aus dem Objekt heraus entfalten werden und der angrenzenden Nachbarschaft die ganze andere Intentionen und darum Aktivitaeten verfolgt, wie koennen die miteinander vereinbar gemacht werden?

Clarification of terminology is needed here since often development can be covered by active actors as well as users. In many cases, and in particular in the case of a museum, the operators of a museum create such an interface which predetermines really the users. Often only some components speak to a general audience, when in fact user-oriented policy must conjoin right away with the design and management of a building / re-usage of an object, that different interfaces are needed. That means to take care in defining users, or potential audiences, since institutional policies can vary considerable and rather than integrate, culturally speaking, remain isolated and only attractive for a special group of interested people.

Impact and further development potentialities

Instead of relating to mere feasibility studies, the choice of a suitable object is confirmed or not through its cultural impact, the nature being such that a continuity between past, present and future can be envisioned and stories about the place of the past encourage activities in the present.

Auswirkungen und weitere Entwicklungs-potentialitaeten

Statt sich auf ‘Feasibility’ Studien (das Machbare) zu beziehen, wird die Wahl des Objektes durch kulturelle Impakt-Studien bestaetigt, insofern der Natur nach Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft ineinander uebergehen, weil Geschichten des Ortes Aktivitaeten in der Gegenwart foerdern, nicht behindern.

In reality we speak about two kinds of impacts: upon culture in the way that even language and specific consciousness of activities related to concrete or empirical realities show how the potential or possible has been translated into a particular form, and what kind of innovative space is being created as a result of a society becoming practical through this specific form. Clearly there are limitations to innovation imposed by the impact of industrial structures, and this has to do with adverse or contradictory relations between work and organisation of the city.

Documentation of the various phases and re-integration of former industrial buildings: the difference to monuments

Already some thinkers link the city to a text which can be read or not, depending what needs to be kept alive, in memory, and what can be forgotten in order to be remembered again in a different context. Yet this does not touch upon the kind of history cities write through their specific objects coming to life or else fading away once certain preconditions are no longer given, e.g. type of economic activity.

Dokumentation der verschiedenen Phasen und Wiedereingliederung industrieller Gebaeuden: Differenz zum Monument.

Bereits manche Denker verbinden die Stadt zu einem Text der gelesen werden kann oder auch nicht, denn alles ist davon abhaengig was soll am Leben gehalten werden, oder was kann vergessen werden, um anderswo wieder erinnert zu werden. Doch dies beruehrt noch nicht die Geschichte die eine Stadt schreibt durch ihre besonderen Objekte die zu Leben kommen oder auch nicht mehr Bestehen bleiben, da die oekonomischen Bedingungen sich veraendert haben.

In the case of Cardiff, it is interesting that Phil Cooke pointed out that international cultures which settled down in Cardiff Bay were among those cultural factors which survived the collapse of the coal industry and became cores of re-vitalisation efforts. This would mean any foresight in city planning is expressed through enabling multi-cultural developments, and underline this with unique integration models. The combination of local and international has always been a guarantee of cultural adaption.

The kind of documentation, recording thereof, is itself an expression of what is culturally recognised of being of value and of importance. The constraint imposed upon future generations is only to preserve the recordings in order to be made useful in such a manner, as the innovative process of knowing what is going on stimulates the actors to reach such levels as they can be recorded.

Urban Planning and Object modelation

indicative of any plan is how the city shall be shaped in future, and this through individual objects size of city reflects itself through object selection, which even if important by themselves, have little or no impact upon the whole

Stadt Planung und Object Gestaltung:

wie eine Stadt zu gestalten durch einzelne Objekte Reflexion der Groesse wenn einzelne Objekte zwar wichtig, aber ohne allzu grosser Bedeutung fuers Ganze geplant und realisiert werden koennen

Models of Development are confirmed through the kind of urban planning strived for, that is with what kind of public participation, considerations (for sustainability), analysis and information about economic constraints and planning framework conditions, things are implemented. If a micro chip is taken as a metaphor for a development model, then it should be included in every particular project. Several linkages between parts and the whole are, therefore, envisioned.

Degree of innovative networks installed through object-planning process.

Phil Cooke would say that they evolve with cultural consensus being a major linkage and regional specifities explainable through the degree of subalternative production possibilities.

Grad der innovativen Netzwerke durch Objekt-Planungs Prozess realisiert.

Phil Cooke wuerde sagen, dass dies sich nur auf Grund eines kulturellen Konsensus entwickeln kann und zwar als Bindeglied das die regionale Spezifizitaeten auszeichnet. Letztere wird ersichtlich durch den Grad der subalternativen Produktionsmoeglichkeiten

Evaluation of the outcome: operative building, activity centre with linkage to an innovative network as part of the regional response to the overall economical demands, and yet capable to sustaining development without jeopardising the cultural and social cohesion.

These then are practical steps in need of being verified by the Pilot Projects, for time sequences and planning cultures differ when it comes to making decisions according to some definite preconditions. In general, it is assumed that the main one is that the financial concept is in agreement with the technical (architectual) design of the project. Precise figures are needed when addressing such issues, but cost estimates and amount of money available (or to be raised) is not sufficient when there has been not as of yet reached a ‘cultural consensus’, that is an agreement across all departments and institutions involved when asked to bear their relationships upon the object of choice.

Dies dann sind praktische Schritte die durch die Pilot Projekte eine Verifikation finden sollen. Gegeben kulturelle Unterschiede, ist zu erwarten, dass ganz bestimmte Vorbedingungen vorherrschen und die die Entscheidungsfindung bzw. jeweilige Planungskultur nachhaltig beeinflussen. Allgemein muss der Konsensusfindungsprozess von einer Uebereinstimmung zwischen dem finanziellen und dem technischen (architektonischen) Konzept ausgehen. Genaue Zahlen sind erforderlich wenn solch eine Projekt-Idee aus- wie angesprochen werden soll. Hinzu kommt die Frage wie viel Geld wann und in welchem Umfang vorhanden ist, and wo noch nicht ausreichend, welcher ‘kultureller Konsensus’ erst gefunden werden muss, um die fehlende Summe aufzutreiben. Dieser Konsensus ist dann nicht mehr nur eine Frage nach dem Grad der Uebereinstimmung innerhalb des lokalen Kommittees, sondern muss als Gesamtlinie saemtliche Behoerden und Aemter durchlaufen, um ein tragfaehiges Konzept zu sein. Indiz dafuer ist die Aufnahme des Projektes in den Kulturkalendar.

Precondition / Vorbedingung

Objective / Zielsetzung

Main question of evaluation / Grundfrage der Evaluierung

Problems of decision taking / Probleme bei der Entscheidungsfindung

Deliberations /


Track down ideas in a region beset by ‘contradictory developments’ agonising ‘cultural forces’ and vice versa


cultural adaptation’,

so that things need to be brought into relation between old and new, and even more so between economy and culture, in order to reach self-sustainable project implementation processes

Why certain or even ‘key’ visions have not been realised up to now

(cross-cultural reference: which objects have not been accepted and had to change first in concept before being approved, e.g. Cardiff - Opera House)

Risk taking and knowledge of what is successful are linked, or as a saying goes: “int’l pressure to copy only the successful leads more often to an imposition of the sameness, because developers do not want to take any risk” (Sue Tilden, American Planner, 13.12.95)

Decision making

process / Entscheidungsvorgang

Identify means by which to overcome permanent antagonising impact of economy upon culture and make possible cultural consensus measures being applied effectively in the process of decisions for a concrete object.

Can user study lead to a refined model of management / developer, with design being influenced by outcome of this user study?

Being successful in terms of concrete acknowledgement of cultural identity within the own locality is doubtful, if no innovative space is being created and as a result regional development succumbs only to outside pressure.

Deliberations are a need if a region (or city) is being affected by contradictory developments and major ideas of development are not implemented. This contradiction can be understood as economic forces hurt cultural ones, whereas the so produced antagonism does not promote or else make possible significant ‘cultural adaptation processes’.

Klaerungsgespraeche werden zum Beduerfnis einer Region (oder Stadt) sobald von widerspruechlichen Entwicklungen heimgesucht, and wenn wichtige Entwicklungsideen nicht verwirklicht werden. Die Verletzung der Kultur zeigt sich im Ausbleiben eines bedeutsamen ‘kulturellen Adaptationsvorganges’.

2. Fractal planning - cultural and economic development in cities

Frakturelles Planen - kulturelle und oekonomische Entwicklung in Staedten

Writers define cities as estranged places. For them life is no longer taking place inside, but rather has been exported to the outskirts. No more are places of work their themes, but rather that of loss of meanings and orientations. The Parisian poet Baptiste Marray would say that places of childhood linked to a certain way of growing up, that they have gone over time simply astray in modern developments. Thus they feel that agony upon agony has broken like waves after waves the backbone of urban life and brought a destruction upon even the last illusions about a possible love. Women would say that they had to develop even a harder, that is a third skin, in order to survive. Thus a female writer would express that even simple things would be misunderstood in such estranged cities, for once things are no longer familiar, then even a taxi driver would be confused on how to address a woman taking his cab: was she really out for an adventure or did she want simply to be taken to the address she named?

Indeed with estrangeness grows the ambivalence of meaning and with it the superficiality by which the needs of others are perceived. Events taking place can then not be really trusted because what one perceives cannot be identified, nor would the language used be a revocation of elements known through experiences in the past. Jean Amery stated that once the dialectic between recognition and trust is gone, then there would be missing a kind of knowledge linked to a concrete place with meaning. Instead it would be a world without any immediacy nor meanings capable of being mediated through the times lived and experienced.

The term ‘home’ has been re-invoked during the eighties out of a nostalgic feeling for what has been left behind, but it distorts the main focus of interest in keeping memories alive. This is not a nostalgic longing, but a prerequisite to become differentiated. Things cannot be completed over night, or just during one day. Life has become an adjustment to constant change. Thus some writers perceive new tasks. They try to reach out like Sofia Yannatou in ‘Athens by Jazz’ to taxi drivers who no longer comprehend whom they are taking on board as passengers. She touches upon the need to maintain some public discussion in this strange realm of desorientation. It seems as if only warm feelings of humanity can alleviate a bit the constant pain of being really without meaning, publically speaking, while distortions and loss of meaning continue to aggravate everything, including the ability to write.

The ticket for a ride’ is an entertaining thought in such a world, but it does not explain the pain and elongation of agony when confronted by a city once familiar, but now gone astray. The risks are that certain cultural patterns disappear or else are torn apart so much that there is no longer any reconciliation between dreams and reality. After all, people live by what they have longed for their entire lives. It governs the perception of a life which can no longer be unified by the sense of community.

As it used to be’: an unified version of the world opposes those who try to grow up in quite a different world. But the conflict with these projections is a part of the growing pains of new generations. They want to cast their ideas of life ahead of themselves far ahead enough, in order to see where they are heading. However, it is not like casting a net along the shores to catch fish. The latter is but one simple metaphor to explain this heaving up and down as a sigh of life. ‘Remember, remember this sweet November’ would be but another refrain, yet the restrain in not wishing to find an outlet of expressions means that language itself is at a loss to explain what is going on right now in European cities and regions.

Planners’ reactions to writers and poets feeling alienated from their own places of childhood, that is the cities they were accustomed to grow up in, is strange and oversimplified. While someone like Baptiste Marray (Paris) would say “cities export life beyond their own borders”, they find anything too extreme, if no solution can be found in a sound technical manner. Everything is solvable as long within that scope of technicity, including the ‘art of doing things’. Thus the problem of memory is very much like Proust would indicate in ‘Les temps perdue’, that is without a chance to overcome signs of melancholy when trying to remember. The linkage between that time at the beginning of the twentieth century, and its ending is almost in such terms impossible, if at all acknowledged as a huge break. What remains is the Greek definition of culture as the ‘continuity of discontinuity’, or in a critical appraisal on how cities grow, expand, contradict themselves within spaces overused while others remain neglected, a simple explanation as to why no real planning takes place. Evidence for this is collected daily on how confusing, random, ugly and equally powerful a city awakes anew to reclaim a fortunate made during the previous day and night. It is the elongation of that want to capitalise on what has been made, that leaves so little room for any other notion of a possible life on this earth. In and out of cars, children rushed to school, mothers bothered by no longer being able to cope, and fathers dreaming to become true fathers, as if this kind of ‘heritage’ had any meaning at all. As a matter of fact, there is no real linkage between the individual and social structures, and instead the artefacts of a city/region becomes a huge paradigm redefined every time the sun sets, and not clearly defined once the sun comes up again.

Methodologically speaking, a comparative approach to the cultural impact studies to be undertaken within the 5 Pilot Projects of CIED, should use the CASE Studies as a means to provide insights into the making of cultural consensus as basis for such decisions and planning procedures as they take culture, the dimensions thereof, into further considerations. The first level shall be:

Fractal modeling in planning: Culture and Technology

Note: for the artistic description of the city you can use also the cultural calendar, in order to obtain an overview of the cultural characteristics as indicated by the types and kinds of cultural activities taking place. Important would be to obtain some ability to measure the innovative potentiality of culture within the specific environment created by planning, e.g. Galway used to have a very innovative Arts Festival whose venue differed from year to year because the organisers went around the city and found or asked for empty spaces to be used. These ‘imaginative spaces’ became, however, less and less as urban development took place, due to a response in increase in tourism, but also because of the urban renewal plan. Perhaps in that way it becomes evident that planning for culture by leaving empty spaces for the imagination to work out things, that this is most difficult in terms of a positive constraint.

Fractal modeling in planning: Culture and Technology

Cultural description

Needs / Beduerfnisse

Planning/investigation needs

Writers’ viewpoints of the cities, e.g. ‘Athens by Jazz’ by Sophia Yannatou with departure point being really Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, in order to gauge cultural needs of people living in cities, and the need for culture by cities themselves, that is a way of identifying real needs and constraints. Of interest is that people identify still Rodin’s sculpture of the ‘citizens of Calais’ as one of the most impressive descriptions of civic pride.

City governance is double edged since it can address certain needs, that is fulfil them, while creating thereby new needs due to neglect. Furthermore, from a point of view concerning time rhythms, a city is not so much under the sway of the four seasons as are agricultural or rural areas, even though summer months mean empty streets. Why is this mentioned? Needs are structured accordingly, and even Galway speaks about the heavy months in comparison to lean ones when it comes to tourism. How a city defines its needs and plans accordingly, that sets off a replica pattern.

“This needs to be investigated as a way of understanding what is being ‘replicated’ (and perhaps why) versus other possible choices for city form in modern times.” (Sue Tilden, 13.12.95)

instrument of decision making (how sophisticated), or the technicality of choice made available with what degree of consensus about desired urban forms and understanding of impact of past planning procedures cultural level of appreciation, e.g. if replica pattern is broken and an identity through sameness installed, then there is no active versus passive participation in economic development. It would leave differences unarticulated and ‘cultural identity’ nothing but a mere copy or a replica of an imitation, that is without thrust into the future and hence no basis for innovation. Instead ‘bad behaviour’ (types of violence against the city and its people) manifests objections to what has been planned.

Artists view of the Cied cities (a comparative sample, e.g. The Dubliners - a collection of descriptions, ed. by Brendan Kennelly)

Planning procedures are determined through option variations, while still having to cope with traditional patterns of reproduction, e.g. fisheries, handicrafts, traditional works.

How to overcome redundant needs within a spatial sequence allowing access to the past, including the recent past, by focusing on activities needed to sustain the city?

For example: here is needed some creative imagination

Artists view of Volos

- Surrealism since De Chirico and the train station as reminder on how in the past the regional importance for the hinterland made Volos become important: transport nodal point since the Argonauts

For example on how needs are defined from inside as compared to from outside

Planning of sustainable development is difficult while ‘too much culture’ indicates problem of things being out of balance; the real need is not only not to be by-passed, but also on how to bring about such work and sustained experience which is communicated to the outside world rather than left unknown

Methodological refinement of planning is not yet clearly identified since work is made with traditional methods even though very advanced in terms of Greece.

Of Cardiff

With Phil Cooke I had an interesting exchange of viewpoint about the young Welsh film makers on how they view their local society and environment with coal mining a matter of the past.

Of Galway

of Palermo

e.g. talks a lot about different schools of thought, and the difference between professional artists and amateurs, whereby at cultural festivals it amounts usually to a mixture of both and other types of artists, so that viewpoints of the city become a part of the spectacle in which artistic interpretations can be taken as viewpoints of the city as a huge stage where to unfold the human drama within different layers of culture

of Leipzig

refers very often to the linkage between universities, enterprises and artists (painters), so that good galleries can be found and many innovative processes

Read the Rest of this article: Case Studies II

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