Cultural production and consumption networks in peripheral urban spaces: lessons from Barriera, Turin (Italy)
This paper deals with the issues of cultural production and consumption within a peripheral urban neighbourhood as elements which potentially contribute to foster the sense of place, the community belonging and the collective action. Starting from a critical perspective, the paper has two main purposes: to investigate the degree and ways of self-organisation of the practices occurring in it in the field of cultural production and consumption; to assess the economic and social effects of these practices on the neighbourhood life.
The case-study concerns a large peripheral area in the north-eastern corner of Turin (Italy), formerly one of the most industrialised zones of the city. Over the last years, and in particular after the real-estate bubble burst of 2007-2008 and its overall consequences for the industrial sector, in Barriera a lively concentration of initiatives and networks of culture has been taking place, re-defining the urban and social space. These initiatives seem to be innovative for many reasons:
- the goals of the creative processes undertaking (alternative cultural contents, social participation and cohesion, urban regeneration, place-making);
- the organizational arrangements (network relationships, formal and informal tools of partnerships);
- the economic aspects of the activities carried on (employees, start-ups).
Particularly, two aspects deserve to be investigated:
- the degree of “spontaneous”, self-organised activism;
- the economic and social impact of the new activities in the district, measured using qualitative indicators.
The analysis has been conducted mainly by qualitative methodologies, according to an “ethnographic” approach based on de-structured and semi-structured interviews to local actors involved in the neighbourhood initiatives and the participating observation techniques.