Temporalities of culture-led urban regeneration: Reconsidering contemporary urban transformation through case studies in Vienna and Oulu

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, auditorium IT115. Remote connection: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/67619859570

Topic of the dissertation

Temporalities of culture-led urban regeneration: Reconsidering contemporary urban transformation through case studies in Vienna and Oulu

Doctoral candidate

Architect (MSc) Tiina Hotakainen

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Oulu School of Architecture

Subject of study



Associate Professor Catharina Gabrielsson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm


Professor Helka-Liisa Hentilä, University of Oulu

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Culture-led urban regeneration requires an understanding of diverse temporalities

Although cities have always represented places of cultural interaction, the emergence of knowledge economies has made culture a key asset in contemporary urban regeneration. The transformation in the labour market has reconstructed the temporalities of our everyday lives. In contemporary cities, a lack of time has become more urgent than a lack of space, whilst digital platforms have altered our time perception, making simultaneity more important than spatial constraints. However, current culture-led urban regeneration discourse either neglects the time perspective or reduces it to a dichotomy between the ephemeral and the permanent.

The aim of this thesis is to theoretically redefine, empirically illustrate and methodologically explore a temporal framework for culture-led urban regeneration within two specific contexts of European relevance: Vienna in Austria and Oulu in Finland. I pursue a rethinking of simultaneity and temporality in order to address the contemporary mechanisms of temporal abstraction and acceleration. The thesis involves a methodological triangulation with meta-analysis, multiple-case study and pedagogic action research. Here, the Metropolis of Vienna represents a cultural city of global relevance, whilst the provincial City of Oulu was chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2026.

The theoretical part of the thesis outlines a temporal framework, where linear temporality unfolds the ideals of rational-comprehensive urban planning, experiential temporality refers to urban opportunities, and relational temporality emphasises the socio-cultural aspects of time. The multiple-case study illustrates the phenomenon in two urban districts: Brunnenviertel in Vienna, an established example in addressing social issues and integration through culture, and Myllytulli in Oulu, a pilot project of culture-led urban regeneration.

The main contribution of this study to this discourse is the temporal definition of culture in urban regeneration, which acknowledges at least three different types of urban transformation, relating to arrangement, unsettlement and everyday life. This thesis argues that both cultural and temporal sensibility have become necessary for contemporary urban planning research, practice and education.
Last updated: 1.3.2023