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A northern upbringing frequently involves the inculcation of an unusually powerful set of attachments to place; a deep rooting in a particular physical, social and cultural environment. 

                                                                                                                                (Wrightson, 1995, p. 29).

Following my previous blog post which is about the modernism regeneration of Newcastle, I would introduce the culture-led regeneration in this post.Therefore, it will begin with a brief review of the context and background of the cultural regeneration and then introduce the primary process of it. Finally, this post would come to an evaluation of the revitalization.


Newcastle experienced a notable decline between the 1970s to 1980s. It crashed because of the de-industrialisation and globalisation as well as the series of problems with it. For example, the depopulation, the rise of unemployment and crime rates (Miles, 2005). After that, it faced the failure of the modernized transformation, such as the Central East Motorway Plan (1963) and Newcastle Central Development Plan.

Richard Florida (2002) pointed out that to against the de-industrialisation, cities and nations should concentrate on the creativity economic, attracting and clustering creative talent by providing a livable environment. This point of view is emphasized by the UK government, especially the DCMS (Department of Media, Culture and Sport). It indicated that culture could be the main driving force of urban renewal (DCMS, 2004).

 Regeneration Process

In Newcastle, millions of pounds invested to the rebuilding of Newcastle Gateshead Quayside. The main parts are £70 million for the Sage Gateshead Music Center, £46 for transform BALTIC Contemporary Art Gallery and £22 for Millennium Bridge respectively (Miles, 2005). Those physical art-related constructions component a cultural quarter along the Tyne River. Figure 1


Figure 2 (Policy Research Group (PRG), 2012)

Moreover, along the river also forms pedestrian footpath and there are many cafes and restaurants along the street. Every weekend, there would be a market on the riverside. Families come to visit there together, which forming a beautiful and unique cultural landscape. Besides, hot dog’s mobile cart and a unique Sage on the other side of the river have a strange harmony. Personally, that ‘crowded harmony’ is the key to indicate that the culture-led regeneration in Newcastle is successful.

(photo from author)

However, this success cannot be achieved by relying only on enormous investment and policy support. Both Miles (2005) and Bailey et al., (2004) believe that the successful regeneration in Newcastle is due to the strong local collective identity. As stated at the beginning of this article, residents in Newcastle have a long-term unconscious form of pride and truculence. By the research from CISIR, nearly 70 percent of respondents in 2002 support the serials of projects, and half of the funding is from public expenditure (Miles, 2005). It could indicate that people have the willingness to participate in and support this cultural-led urban reform. Therefore, what we could speculate is that the peculiar pride shared by northerner could find sustenance in these physical material worlds (Quayside), and the anxiety and truculence caused by years of decline were soothed in this prosperity art world.


Bailey, C., Miles, S. and Stark, P. (2004). Cultural led Urban Regeneration and the Revitalization of Identities In Newcastle, Gateshead And The North East of England. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 10(1), pp.47-65.

Department of Culture, media and Sport (2004) Culture at the Heart of Regeneration. London: DCMS. s

Miles, S. (2005). ‘Our Tyne’: Iconic Regeneration and the Revitalisation of Identity in NewcastleGateshead. Urban Studies, 42(5-6), pp.913-926.

Policy Research Group (PRG) (2012). Long Term Employment and Demographic Projections. [online] Durham: St.Chad’s College/Durham Business School, p.6. Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2018].

Wrightson, K. (1995) Northern identities: the longue dure ́ e, Northern Review, 2, pp. 25–34.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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