The Culture of the Port City

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When talking or thinking about culture, and especially local culture, it is often about those obvious symbols, artefacts and behaviours we can perceive directly on the surface: Specialised architecture, regional dishes, traditional festivities, typical dialects etc. But, all this is nothing more than an expression of collectively shared meanings, expectations, norms and values characterising a certain locality or community. In this sense urban culture is much more than just the ensemble of symbols around us; it is an extremely important determinant of our thinking, understanding and decision making. In twofold respect this fact is of high relevance for urban planning: (1) Planning and a certain planning culture are without any doubt operating in the framework of a wider local culture and therefore they can transcend the cultural peculiarity of a given place only in a limited way; (2) planners as well as most of the other actors in urban development and local policy are not only specialised professionals but also residents of a certain place and as such they are affected by that framework and contribute to produce and reproduce local culture. Meaning and relevance of the local culture in this sense will be analysed in the case of European port cities in the following.
City on water : 6th AESOP European Urban Summer School 2015, Bremen
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