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Aristos Campus Mundus seminar to reflect on urban renewal, re-signification of heritage and cultural industries


University of Fordham researchers meet at Deusto for joint reflection.


A team from the Institute of Leisure Studies welcomed the Fordham (New York) researchers to join in reflection on gentrification, spillover effects, urban renewal, re-signification of heritage and cultural and creative industries. Organised as part of the Aristos Campus Mundus project, the advanced research seminar on “Gentrification, spillover effects, urban regeneration, re-signification of heritage (tangible/intangible), cultural and creative Industries: To be debated in a comparative analysis of New York and Bilbao waterfronts ” was held on 9 and 10 June.

Organised by Cristina Ortega and Fernando Bayón, of the Leisure and Human Development research team, guest speakers at the seminar included Rosemary Wakeman, Head of the Urban Studies Department at Fordham (New York), students from said university and PhD students on the Leisure, Culture and Communication for Human Development programme at the University of Deusto.

The first part of the seminar, held on Tuesday morning, centred on joint reflection on terminology, with a view to setting the bases necessary for any later debate. The teams from New York and Bilbao explained the meanings associated with terms such as gentrification, spillover effects, urban re-signification or cultural and creative industries in their contexts with interesting findings on the various uses in the different places.

A case in point is inclusion of universities as cultural industries in the context of New York, which seems unthinkable in the case of Europe. Two case studies were presented following this first review: gentrification in Gowanus Canal in New York –by Fordham students Fredric Nachbaur and Patrick Verel– and the Zorrotzaurre (Bilbao) urban renewal project–by Fernando Bayón and  PhD candidate, Almudena Garrido–.

In the afternoon, participants compared their opinions as they explored the area on a route that began at the San Antón Bridge, passed by the Alhóndiga and ended opposite the Zorrotzaurre peninsula in the Olabeaga neighbourhood.

On Wednesday, 10 June, the group attended the presentation on metropolitan Bilbao’s transformation from the institutional perspective, led by Alfonso Martínez Cearra, Director of Bilbao Metrópoli-30, at their head office. The seminar ended with a guided tour along the river, from Bilbao to the new harbour in Getxo.

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