CORDIS - EU research results

Post-Industrial Chimneys seen Through Urban Regeneration Imaginaries: toward a Networked GeoHumanities

Project description

Exploring regeneration strategies in post-industrial cities

Conservation strategies of the European industrial heritage are associated with urban regeneration of cities as well as with the economic, cultural and social regeneration of post-industrial districts. The EU-funded PICTURING project proposes research that focuses on a predominating symbol of both industrial and post-industrial cities: the industrial chimney. The project will explore Barcelona, Manchester and Łódź, comparing policies, impacts and perceptions of urban regeneration strategies. It will examine the societal impact of deindustrialisation as well as the management of economic and physical transition in post-industrial cities. The research, which intends to contribute to the field of geohumanities, will explore how these cities perceived the new challenges posed by the restrictions in the global economy and how these perceptions are manifested.


This research explores industrial heritage and urban regeneration in European cities and the cultural, social, and economic implication of the regeneration of postindustrial districts. The proposed research action looks at a specific element of the urban built environment that has served as the predominating symbol of industrial—and postindustrial—cities: the industrial chimney. Through a perspective that compares policies, impacts and perceptions of industrial heritage-driven urban regeneration strategies, I aim to explore Barcelona, Manchester, and Łódź. The societal challenges of deindustrialization and questions of how to manage economic and physical transition in formerly industrial cities is one that drives difficult conversations about collective memory, gentrification, and community development.

These three cities have become focal points in industrial heritage and postindustrial reinvention, and are thus ideal comparative case studies to explore different approaches to conservation and regeneration strategies through exploring the totemic presence (or conspicuous absence) of smokestacks. How have each of these cities approached, and responded to, these massive spatial, social, and economic shifts spurred on by the restricting of the global economy, how has this manifested in what has been preserved and what has been demolished in the historical built environment, and how have local communities fared in the process?

My proposed research contributes to the emerging field of the GeoHumanities, and UPF is one of the leading centers of GeoHumanities scholarship. It will involve comparative case studies of these three cities based on qualitative fieldwork, documentary analysis, and photographic/curatorial methods. In Barcelona, it will also include an innovative new photo-elicitation method involving community response to a visual taxonomy of chimneys throughout the city, as well as a final exhibition at the city’s MACBA museum, where I would have a Secondment.


Net EU contribution
€ 259 398,72
08002 Barcelona

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 259 398,72