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The Role of Culture in the City of Tomorrow

The role of culture in the city of tomorrow is this years' annual topic of the We Are Europe festival cooperation project. Culture is a central factor for defining the identity of a region and especially a city. And culture isn't just about specific types of artistic expression, but rather the representation of the creative potential of a society as a whole. Cities are increasingly defined by this potential and the connection to economic development is inherent too. The more creativity is present, the more companies get attracted to set up shop in such a region. Not to mention the touristic aspect of a vibrantly creative environment. More and more cities focus on nurturing this potential, and Graz is no exception either. As one of the "Cities of Design" Graz is tapping into the creative scene to foster economic growth. But is it all just about economics? Or is culture rather an integral factor of a society, gluing together artists, migrants, intellectuals and the general public? How can cities avoid trends of gentrification and seeing creative culture just as a potential for economic growth? And what's the role of architecture, city development and technological innovation? Since it's the 21st century, everything is increasingly connected.

Another aspect: The topic has been chosen in the year before the We Are Europe cooperation began, but 2016, when it started, has proven relevance to the subject in an extraordinary way. Three major elections (Austrian presidential election, Brexit and Trump) have shown a stark difference between the voting results of urban areas and the countryside. Urban areas tend to not fall into the trap of right wing populism as much as rural areas, with small exceptions. Since contemporary culture is a much more relevant factor in urban areas, there might be a correlation to these voting results?

These and many other topics will be discussed in the course of this session, which will not just focus on the local developments in Graz, but also make the connection to the We Re Europe partner cities of this year's Elevate Festival: Live Video Links will be established to the offices of the Sonar Festival in Barcelona as well as the Insomnia Festival in Tromso, Norway. Being very different in size and scope, we hope to gain some insights into current developments in these cities too.

This event is part of the We Are Europe festival cooperation!

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