"Journal of Education Culture and Society" 2015_2


The unwanted past and urban regeneration of Communist heritage cities. Case study: European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) Riga 2014, Pilsen 2015 and Wroclaw 2016


Corina Turșie

West University of Timisoara, 4 V. Parvan Blvd., 300223, Timisoara, Romania





                Within the ECoC programme, it has been argued that the European dimension is most visible when the candidates reflect their own history as a part of  European history, particularly when hinting at their involvement with the major ideologies of twentieth century, such as National Socialism or Communism. ECoC is about cities re-inventing their identities, re-narrating their history in a European context. But how should ex-communist cities deal with their unwanted past and narrate it in order to fit into the European dimension of the project? The focus of this investigation is on three ex-ECOCs from ex-Communist Europe, chosen for several reasons: geographical position (Central, Eastern/Northern European countries, ex-communist past, new membership of the European Union (since 2004), the year of holding the title (the two ECoC selection criteria exist since 2010). Using qualitative content analysis on a set of documents (application books, official web pages and ex-post evaluations) the study will offer an analysis of cities’ politics of memory and urban regeneration strategies.


Key words:

unwanted past, image, urban regeneration, culture, European


DOI: 10.15503/jecs20152.122.138   pdf full version