The Influences and Implications of the European Capital of Culture on Intangible Heritage: Novi Sad 2021

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As one of the most prestigious initiatives through which the European Union aims to promote richness and diversity of its cultures, the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) also holds an enormous potential for promoting urban regeneration and development. The aim of this paper is to examine the influences and implications of this program on the ways intangible heritage has been evaluated, treated and promoted. The focus is on Novi Sad, the capital of the Serbian province of Vojvodina, elected to be one of three ECoCs in 2021. Representing an example of transitional environment, it has experienced a shift from a socialist to a neo-liberal socio-economic framework that triggered a process of quasi-regeneration. However, during the bid for the ECoC title, urban heritage was (re)used as an important competitive advantage and local uniqueness. Both the Bid Book and implementation process have provided an interesting merging of tangible and intangible heritage, in which urban spaces will be used as a setting for promotion of urban brand through selected elements of intangible heritage. Consequently, the place identity was (re)created through images and narratives connected to European, national and local level, integrating place branding strategy, stakeholders (especially community) and urban policy.
ECoC, heritage, regeneration, branding