In recent years, with its great urban cultural attraction and urban life, the city of Newcastle has grown to become one of the most vivid cities in Britain. With five-year living and study in Newcastle, I become further enamored of its rich cultural history and modern achievements. However, if we look at the city in the past, the situation is different. In the late of last century, Newcastle has been left a little hope due to the dramatic decrease of the manufactory industry (Robinson, 1997). It has resulted in the decline of its tourism, Newcastle has been considered by only a few people as a trip city for their vacations (Robinson, 1997).
Lately, it has lost the bid to be the European cultural capital, but it has established a strong partnership, on the private, public and tertiary sectors, in order to speed cultural agenda (SERIO, 2010). In 2006, Cultural Leadership Programme was launched in Newcastle and widely extended. Through these cultural programmes, the city can receive all the people from all walks of life and enjoy the increase in tourists (SERIO, 2010). This new trend involves combining culture with urban renewal, not only in Newcastle but also in many countries across the world, culturally driving urban renewal (Gibson & Stevenson, 2004).
For instance, the Northumberland Street, which is the most important high street in the city centre, has developed as a pedestrian street only for people to walk through rather than a vehicle road of its original looking (See below the picture of the development of the Northumberland Street in 1937 and in 2018). This street is very familiar to us international students, it is not only because it is the main street in city’s shopping centre, but also because of its typical location where near both Newcastle University and Northumberland University.
One another more significant area should be mentioned is Quayside. We can see the images below that it has changed a lot during 1972 and 2017. As one of the typical areas represented the city culture, and also linked with other landmarks, which are Tyne River, Millennium Bridge and the Baltic Museum and the Sage on the opposite of the river, Quayside has become one of the most favourite places for both local residents and tourists. It is also a place has a mean to me because in the stage 1, we had a project of regeneration an area on Quayside. We spent a plenty time on analysing the site and has known it very well. It can be seen obviously that cultural developments on the Quayside has visibly increased the local tourism.
Notably, infrastructure is one part of Newcastle’s revival and rehabilitating. So it is not easy to determine that which of the cultural and heritage development and infrastructure development cause the increase in tourism trends specifically. Still, will culture-driven urban renewal help in changing cities into leisure, business and residential centers? It is still an issue that requires further to be explained.
Even though, Newcastle has been coordinating investment strategy in art and culture over the past two decades (EU report, 2007), which is on the basis of the common concept that investment to culture and art will contribute to urban recovering from economic and social issues. As a matter of fact, there are more and more tourists visiting this region in the past 10 years (Robinson 2003).
Bailey, C., Miles, S. and Stark, P. (2004), “Culture-led Urban Regeneration and the Revitalisation of Identities in Newcastle, Gateshead and the North East of England”. International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol.10 (1), pp. 47-65.
EU report, (2007). Investing in Heritage: a Guide to Succesful Urban Regeneration. England: European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR).
Gibson, L. and Stevenson, D. (2004). ‘Urban Space and the Uses of Culture’. International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 10 (1), pp.1-4.
Robinson, F. (1997). The City Challenge Experience – a Review of the Development & Implementation of Newcastle City Challenge.
Socio-economic Research and Intelligence Observatory (SERIO), (2010). Culture and Regeneration: Opportunities for Plymouth. University of Plymouth.