Anticipating the « Bilbao Effect »: Transformations of the City of Arles before the Opening of the Luma Foundation

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Elena RAEVSKIKH, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
By analyzing data from the 2006/07 and 2013 French census as well as data extracted from the Yellow Pages, this paper seeks to understand how the French city of Arles is preparing for the arrival of Frank Ghery’s Luma Foundation landmark building, and how a big-scale construction site, still devoid of its future aesthetics and cultural function, “mechanically” impacts the urban core. We consider three hypotheses: (1) The Rise of New Audiences: a landmark building impacts the pre-existing cultural core, (2) Residential Pattern: a landmark building induces gentrification of surrounding neighborhoods, (3) Mobility: a landmark building induces the arrival of the “most talented and educated” people. We test these hypotheses with cartographical and statistical methods. Our findings demonstrate stronger support for Mobility, and mixed findings for The Rise of New Audiences and Residential Pattern. Even though the causal links between the landmark building and the new urban dynamics are difficult to prove, our results reveal that Arles is “customizing” itself to the forthcoming cultural and aesthetic dimensions of the Luma Foundation. Our conclusion highlights the importance of an endogenous approach to urban sociology that analyses neighborhood dynamics independently from top-down and macro political decisions.