Local Institutions of Culture as Urban Stewards. In Quest for Hybrid Governance in Warsaw, Poland.

Authors: Artur Filip*, Warsaw University of Technology / MoMA in Warsaw
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Applied Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: STEWARDSHIP, INSTITUTIONS OF CULTURE, HYBRID GOVERNANCE
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


In young democracies, where civic engagement grows rapidly but still rather piecemeal, where business sector is not mature enough to show much understanding for its social responsibilities, and where local governments reluctantly give away even smallest fields of authority, some opportunities for urban civic stewardship lie within local institutions of culture.


Museums, galleries, theaters, educational and recreational establishments, and all kinds of civic centers and community-oriented organizations… they are already in place, having doors and windows open towards city’s open space. Very often, these public institutions of culture maintain significant independence and are positive magnets for broad circles of social activism, yet still remain recognizable and trustworthy for governments. If only they manage to keep this sustainable balance between governmental and community side, they can also become reliable stewards of urban environments. And as such, they may facilitate the process of hybrid governance formation.


Throughout the last few years several attempts have been undertaken in the city of Warsaw in Poland. Experience shows that until local institutions of culture take the lead, it doesn’t deprive the process of its civic character, and at the same time makes cooperation with the government significantly easier. The challenges, though, are considerable either. Personal engagement doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with institutional capabilities and legal conditions. The institution needs to go beyond its scope of responsibilities, bear extra costs, and gain particular expertise. At stake is the reformulation of the public institution itself: its goals, modes of operation, and competence within local environment.

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