Psycharis, Yannis Deffner, Alex Iordanidou, Ioanna
Year of Publication:
46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
The culture of any city undoubtedly promotes its development. The formulation and implementation of cultural policies, a key issue for urban economic development, relate to a variety of economic sectors. Cultural elements that can contribute to urban development could be either a direct promotion of its cultural identity, or their residents' contribution to the achievement of high quality of life, generating competitiveness between similar cities. The research aim is the investigation of the ways that a city's cultural reserve can be the means of its development. The particular research methodology was a questionnaire survey, addressed to the inhabitants (200) and visitors (50) of Veria, a medium size city in Northern Greece. The research object was Veria's cultural environment and its impacts to urban regeneration. It is of vital importance to establish whether Veria's residents are familiar with their local culture, whether they appropriate it and, consequently, whether they are satisfied from the relevant promotional policy. It was requested from them to evaluate the current management policy of their city's cultural reserve, followed by their observations and proposals. Furthermore, it was examined whether Veria's culture could be a stimulant for visitors, by demanding a direct evaluation of the applied cultural promotional policy. It is observed that tourism was one of the main visiting criteria, followed by commuting to working, and using the city as a passage point to other neighbouring destinations. Visitors claim that Veria's cultural environment could be, undoubtedly, the main stimulant for cultural tourist attraction, if promoted in the appropriate manner. The residents' discontent was also expressed in terms of the city's inadequate applied cultural reserve management. They believe that Veria's local culture could contribute not only to urban regeneration, but also to regional development. A formulation of innovative management policies is critically essential, as well as the immediate need of the inclusion of innovative technologies in Veria's cultural promotion plans.