This project builds upon knowledge derived from our previous work with Urban Cultures (se Gillberg et al 2012), which was a summary of both theoretical (cultural) perspectives on the city as well as cultural everyday doings within the city. Our conclusion then, which is our point of departure now, was that urban cultures needed the city to be an enabling city (see Chiara Camponeschi, www.enablingcity.com). This time we want to further explore this topic by investigating the city in real life.
Our intention is modest and based on the humble thought of a possibility to add some positive insights from adding culture – as a methodological and analytic perspective, a concept and an empirical given – into the mix of ingredients commonly associated with the notion of sustainability. One way of reaching the sustainable city is thought to be by making the city dense. Therefore one of the aims of this project is to investigate what the concept cultural densification would consist of and what it would mean to use it within city planning. To do so we have chosen the flea market Kommersen at Masthuggstorget, Gothenburg as our case study.
We argue that markets, and in this case an urban flea market, are important phenomena that contribute to sustainable urban cultures in specific ways depending on particular market mechanisms, organizational features and socio-cultural dimensions of the flea market. In conclusions we present the concept of sustainable cultural densification defined as: urban cultures are drivers of complex processes of layering of values over time. These values could be seen as solutions to different problems residing in cities, and a lens through which to perceive of sustainable urbanity.