Urban development strategies and hosting of international events: the case study of cultural capital of Europe Thessaloniki 1997


  • Σωτήρης Μηλιώνης




Urban development, International events, Cultural capital of Europe


In 1997, Thessaloniki became the Cultural Capital of Europe. The following analysis is an effort to investigate the relations between the preparation for the event (programming phase) and the effects of hosting such an event (evaluation phase). Empirical data are drawn from the aforementioned case study and relevant conclusions are presented. A general overview of the institution of Cultural Capital of Europe is firstly presented. Then, the profile of Thessaloniki is sketched with emphasis put on a planning perspective and with special reference made on existing strategic plans. Consequently, the programming phase for the event is analysed and its impact on the formulation of the cultural and technical programme are presented. The latter, in the case of Thessaloniki, was a product of compromise between the various actors involved in the programming phase and it was regarded as an opportunity to implement small projects all around the city that had been long postponed. It was unanimously accepted, however, there was no wider objective put forward for the future of the city. Therefore, any possible positive effects from hosting the event were minimised and itself can be regarded as a lost opportunity.