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Focusing on Cardiff, the capital city of Wales in the UK, this book reflects on contemporary small European cities, their development, characteristics, and present struggles. Following a century where it was dubbed the worlda (TM)s a "coaltropolisa (TM), the decline in demand for coal meant that Cardiff endured an acute process of de-industrialisation. In seeking to address this and the related high levels of unemployment, it has since experienced a process of cultural and social reinvention since the 1980s and more significantly since Wales turned into a devolved nation in the late 1990s. Cardiffa (TM)s development from a small port into a capital city is examined and special attention is paid to the citya (TM)s cultural and social transformation in recent decades that has relied on the expansion of specific clusters (formal culture, civil society, consumer culture, public art(s), and the culture and creative industries), which have been decisive for the transformation of its cultural identity and contributes to shaping individual and collective identities in the city. Cardiff epitomises a quintessential case of urban reinvention, cultural regeneration, and social transformation, lying between two apparently contradictory paradigms: the need to respond to global demands and the effort to maintain its cultural distinctiveness and Welsh roots. Therefore, it sets the discussion for a wider reflection on small cities, especially in the European setting, and what generally characterises these cities: their liveability, cultural creativity, and community empowerment as well as the fact that they facilitate mobility and social interaction. These worldly cities, and the book contends, present interesting opportunities and challenges at the urban, economic, social and cultural levels that rely on more human-scale, people-based approaches to cities, thus defying existing urban hierarchies and categorisations.
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