|Public works- (19.06.05)|
Those responsible for
regeneration projects often seem to spend a significant amount of money
on public works of art of landmark public buildings with novel architecture
rather than spending it more directly on economic development. Why is
this and does it do any good?
Sometimes if you are doing something novel the architecture and art surrounding it do need to be spectacular so people know its there. The Eden project in Cornwall is an example where there would probably be a fraction of the visitors to see a traditional greenhouse even with the same plants that are under spectacular glass biospheres.
So clearly there is a value in beauty to get people talking about an area and as a landmark on the map. However, I could equally have used other examples of similar landmark projects that have been less successful. One of the key requirements is probably the same as for natural beauty, that it has some element of scarcity. The less common the particular style of architecture or piece of installation art, the higher the value if the impact is likely to be. For instance, now that every region has at least two or three sea life centres with sharks swimming around the visitors, their impact on economic development is likely to be little for new sites, and of declining benefit to the existing areas regenerated with the sharks as the centrepiece.