NEWCULT - New Culture on the Outskirts of Cities

Objectives and research questions

When it comes to cultural infrastructure, the outskirts of European cities have long been neglected. With the recent establishment of new cultural facilities such as theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, music venues and multi-use locations on the urban fringes the situation has changed. The NEWCULT research project looked at the emergence of new venues on the outskirts of Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zagreb. The project’s research questions related to the basic characteristics of these cultural facilities, the venues’ contribution to urban development and to the design of a cultural policy in support of peripheral cultural facilities.

The project NEWCULT was based on a broad set of methods: First came field research in the four cast study cities. Three peripheral districts in Vienna and respectively one fringe district in Berlin, Paris and Zagreb were analysed and compared with each other. Further methods applied were participating observation (taking part in cultural events) and more than 60 in-depth interviews with protagonists of cultural facilities, experts in the field of culture and urban development, and political representatives.

The research and resulting study were co-financed by the Municipality of Vienna.


The agenda setting study on Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zagreb shows that cultural facilities are in a valuable position to generate a variety of positive effects for peripheral urban areas. To name just a few: Cultural facilities contribute to the improvement of an area’s cultural infrastructure, help to democratise culture, encourage urban development and have an impact on the improvement of living conditions. As the survey further shows, there are fundamental differences in the four metropolises’ cultural policies: Whereas Paris and Zagreb foster the cultural development of their outlying districts, Berlin and Vienna lag behind. Ironically, municipalities in more centralist states like Paris and Zagreb – when it comes to culture – are doing more for their urban peripheries than those in states with a federal structure, that is to say Berlin and Vienna.

In the course of NEWCULT, various dissemination activities were undertaken: To promote the idea of cultural urban development, in the years 2008 to 2010 three panel discussions were jointly held with the local area management in Vienna (see Events). Furthermore the project manager teaches at the Institute of Political Studies of the University of Vienna on Cultural Policies and Urban Development. Last but not least, the Twitter account @art_scout was created in 2010.



ISR Project team

  • Dr. Walter Rohn (Head of Project)

Project Partners

  • Municipalities of Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zagreb


2006 to 2014 (4 project parts)



Municipality of Vienna (MA 7)