Town Planning Review

Lille 2004 and the role of culture in the regeneration of Lille métropole

Town Planning Review (2011), 82, (1), 29–44.


When considering the role culture can play in the regeneration of post-industrial cities, the Lille experience can be seen as a major reference, as the success of Lille 2004, European Capital of Culture demonstrates. To better understand the reasons for this success, it is necessary to set it in its historic context; 2004 was indeed a special year for Lille and its metropolitan area, but for decades, cultural factors have played a crucial role in urban development there. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that cultural development was not just about promoting the city's image and developing tourism, but also a matter of increasing local people's self-confidence and civic pride and even of boosting the industrial conversion process. Cultural concerns have been present for more than thirty years in regeneration initiatives, and there exists a large consensus for considering culture as a decisive part of the metropolitan development strategy.

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Author details

Paris, Didier

Baert, Thierry