Limits of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects

The allegued Bilbao Miracle and Its Discontents” by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría (The Cooper Union) and part of the book: Megaprojects: A Worldwide View (Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 13) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.27 – 59.

See abstract:

This chapter outlines and explains the development of the Abandoibarra megaproject, focusing in particular on the key role of the Bilbao Ría 2000 – an innovative cross institution, public–private partnership, responsible for coordinating the transfer of land between public and private agents. The chapter critically assesses the impact of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the centerpiece in the Abandoibarra scheme. The narrative is based on fieldwork conducted by the author in the city of Bilbao. The chapter utilizes scholarly research, official sources, and reports in the news media to support the arguments. The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard. The motivations of the Basque political elite to attract a Guggenheim museum go beyond the potential (and we might add, limited) urban regeneration benefits of a building, and can only be understood within the political context of the Basque Country and its relations with Spain. The case of Bilbao’s revitalization has attracted significant attention as of late. This chapter uncovers the key issues surrounding Bilbao’s transformation and puts the process in the context of capitalist globalization and the formation of globalizing cities.

I would like to emphasize the bellow sentence, here the author warn that urban megraprojects in worldwide center might not be succesful in peripherial and different context in terms of revitalization:

The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard.

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