David Throsby

Capitale culturale e identità urbana

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In this paper I take three cities - Sydney, Bilbao and Los Angeles - and discuss the role that the unique cultural facility which each contains - the Opera House in Sydney, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles - plays in supplying cultural goods and services in a specifically urban context. The urban environment of each profoundly mediates the interpretation of the architecture, which in turn becomes an essential component in the nature of the cultural experiences provided within. These observations allow some extension of the traditional theory of demand for cultural goods. They can also be rationalised in terms of a model of supply of such goods based on the theory of cultural capital. This concept is explained and its interpretation in the particular case of an urban cultural institution is explored, using the three case studies as illustration. Finally the notion of sustainability is briefly mentioned, as a means of seeing the conservation of urban heritage in a longer-term perspective.

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