This thesis aims to interrogate two cases of culture-led regeneration in the context of small post-industrial European cities. Using the phenomenon of the urban ‘living room’ as its starting point, the thesis asks how this hegemonic policy doctrine, made most famous by the arrival of the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997, has evolved into the present day, and how its fundaments have diffused into smaller peripheral cities. A historical perspective is used to trace the origins and justifications for the arrival of two self-professed urban ‘living rooms’: the LocHal public library in the city of Tilburg, the Netherlands, and the V&A design museum in Dundee, Scotland. Both of these cultural institutions opened within a few months of each other in two former textile cities united by post-industrial restructuring and serious image deficits. Despite the seemingly very different functions between a design museum and a library, the thesis is able to draw a variety of conclusions related to the concept of the ‘living room’ which unites these institutions in several shared economic, social and cultural aims. Such aims prove the evolution of this hegemonic policy doctrine in response to its acknowledged failures, and highlight the agency of small peripheral cities to shape their own economic futures.

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Jacobs, E.
Global Markets, Local Creativities (GLOCAL)
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

White, Fraser. (2020, August 31). Living Rooms for the City: LocHal Tilburg and V&A Dundee, Small City Regeneration in Historical Perspective, 1990-Present. Global Markets, Local Creativities (GLOCAL). Retrieved from