Examining cultural planning in Vienna

The discursive institutionalization of social infrastructure in strategic planning






culture, strategic planning, discursive institutionalism, social infrastructure, Vienna


Culture and planning have often been connected through issues of culture-led urban development and regeneration or cultural and creative industries. However, cultural provision as a form of social infrastructure has rarely been used to understand the institutionalization of culture within planning practices. I claim that how culture is institutionalized through discursive interactions between different agents reveals the importance of culture for planning practices. I exemplify this notion by analysing the discursive institutionalization of culture within strategic planning in Vienna. The results point to a diametral position of the underlying ideas of culture within planning in Vienna: 1) planning for culture, where culture plays an important role for the social functioning of the city, and 2) planning through culture by using culture as a selling point for the city. The paper analyses cultural planning practices in Vienna since the 2000s, thereby contributing to detailed knowledge on the institutionalization of culture and path-dependent developments of culture within urban planning practices. The paper illustrates the use of culture as a form of social infrastructure for rethinking strategic cultural planning in Vienna.




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