Artists for urban planning? Visions of a cultural center caught between creative and commercial uses
(University of Tuebingen)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is based on research about ongoing debates around the future of a cultural center in Stuttgart, Germany. It analyses the different perceptions the involved parties have about the role of arts and culture in the city.
Paper long abstract:
Since the 1990s, the area called "Wagenhallen" around the northern railway station in Stuttgart has been rented to several artists and cultural workers. Four years ago, they were asked to leave the area because of the project "Stuttgart 21," an overall reconstruction of the main railway station that involves the demolition of the northern station and the construction of a modern housing complex in its place. But the "Wagenhallen" still exist. This is the result of long and persistent negotiations between the artists and cultural workers, politicians and the corporation "Deutsche Bahn". Through these negotiations, politicians have discovered the value of a subcultural scene as a special attraction in the city and have included the center into their urban planning concept. Still, the concrete use and funding of the area and its buildings is controversial. The artists have to prove the profitability of their ideas about creative space and compete against other more commercially targeted projects in favor of a large concert hall. The competitive negotiations about the future appearance and role of the cultural center and especially the strategies of the artists and cultural workers in reaction to the commodification of their creative space are central in the analyses presented.
Shaping urban and regional space in the context of competition for funding