Planning the urban emblematic: Valencia and the politics of entrepreneurial regionalism
AdvisorMarston, Sallie A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this dissertation I explore how globalization and ethnic regionalism collide in the planning of the contemporary European city. Political-economic restructuring is making Europe simultaneously more integrated and regionalized. An emerging literature approaches such restructuring as a matter of geographic 'scale,' refraining globalization as 'rescaling' or 'reterritorialization,' often contested through a 'politics of scale.' These innovative approaches, however, need to be elaborated through case study. More, they fail to account for how globalization is not merely resisted, but is negotiated locally, particularly in the politics and landscapes of European cities where ethnic regionalism is resurgent. I ask: How may local politician and planners balance the external imperatives of globalization with the internal politics of regionalism, particularly in the cultural landscapes upon which a rescaled Europe must necessarily be constructed? I approach this question through case study of the city of Valencia, capital of the autonomous region the Comunitat Valenciana, emblematic of the European regionalization at which Spain is at the vanguard. Analyzing secondary literature, archival research of planning documents and newspapers, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation, I show politics in Spain to have long been defined by the politics of scale, revolving around issues of regional, cultural difference. Planning in capital cities like Valencia is thus central to efforts to consolidate regional territory, but the rescaling of urban space usually implies the transformation of traditional, cultural landscapes, like the irrigated croplands of the Horta that surround the city of Valencia. The politics of scale are both more contested and 'cultural' than the existing literature suggests, and they unfold in and through the cultural landscape. Globalization must necessarily be negotiated through what I call the cultural politics of scale, which are struggles to define the meaning of economic restructuring in political discourse and the material landscape. In Valencia, political leaders attempt to strike a balance between entrepreneurialism and regionalism in an ideology of entrepreneurial regionalism, which is manifest in both political discourses and new landscapes of economic development meant to materialize them. In the process, the cultural politics of scale remake local places and the global political economy simultaneously.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development