Fashion and the CityThe role of the ‘cultural economy’ in the development strategies of three Western European cities Vincent Pandolfi


The field of culture is increasingly seen as a strategic asset in/for a balanced development of cities. Recent research, however, seems to point to a limited recognition of this potential in local policy-making, culture becoming increasingly linked to aims of economic repositioning.

But which aims are exactly involved here? Are we indeed facing a new dominant (and unilateral) approach to culture in Western European cities, leaving the full development potential of the field unexplored? And why might this be the case? Through case studies of fashion in Antwerp, Milan and Amsterdam, the changing strategising of culture in local development (since the 1980s), is linked to the search for new governing arrangements between public and private (cultural) actors within the cities.

On the basis of this analysis, a plea is made for a new, and more integrated approach to culture in Western European cities, pointing to the significant challenge of experimenting with new, and more inclusive forms of public-private policy-making in support of this agenda.

Vincent Pandolfi (Monza, 1985) graduated as MSc in Leisure Studies (cum laude) at Tilburg University, and as MA (with distinction) in European Urban Cultures at the Free University of Brussels, Tilburg University, Manchester Metropolitan University and TAIK Helsinki. Since 2010 he has been working on his PhD dissertation at Tilburg University, with the support of the Cattolica University of Milan, living between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Milan, Italy.