John Andersen

Politica del gioco d'azzardo e dell'ambivalenza a Copenaghen

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The Orestad project is representative of large-scale changes in urban planning and governance in Copenhagen. Until the seventies urban policy was characterised by top-down rational planning. The post-war "golden age of the Welfare City" rested on a strong centralised City Hall administration which had remained in the hands of a powerful Social Democratic regime since the beginning of the century. During the seventies the effectiveness and legitimacy of the regime was challenged by i) a weakening of the urban economy due to industrial decline and demographic changes, which eroded the tax-base, and ii) powerful leftist forces and successful mobilisation on the part of new urban movements. The latter challenged the top-down style of planning and governance and pushed for community-based participatory urban regeneration. In the beginning of the eighties the political and institutional dislocation of the regime combined with a financial crisis of the municipality. This in turn led in the mid and late eighties to more severe conflicts with the state (from 1982-92 in the hands of a Liberal-Conservative coalition) over additional grants. From the late eighties on, state-initiated pressure for a Metropolitan strategic growth policy contributed to the shift in urban policy in the nineties towards an "Entrepreneurial City" strategy linked to the emerging cross-border regional strategy. The Orestad project was the result the formation of a strategic growth partnership between the state and the city of Copenhagen. In this strategy the project is the flagship-project of the Oresunds region. At the start of the millennium the urban policy orientation and governance can be characterised by a "duality" between 1) Participatory, empowering welfare-oriented strategies, which target deprived districts and neighbourhoods and are based on notions of the diverse and solidaristic City, and 2) Neoelitist/corporative market driven growth strategies, which are based on notions of the Entrepreneurial City. The tension and possible mediation between the two orientations represents a major challenge for a system of urban governance wishing to confront social polarisation in the urban space.

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