The European Cultural Capital as an institution has evolved through the years since 1985 when it had been initially introduced. During this period its impact on the beneficiary cities has varied significantly ranging from the highly positive experience of Glasgow in 1990 to the cases of a number of unsuccessful paradigms across Europe. In many cases the organization of important events such as the Olympics or the European City/Capital of Culture has in certain occasions proven to operate as levers of urban and cultural regeneration. Yet, it has often been proven that such a nomination was not always particularly instrumental to development. The present paper examines the case of the Greek city of Patras which was the European Cultural Capital for the year 2006 while also hosting several activities of the 2004 Olympic Games.
The investigation of the manner in which the city of Patras has managed its nomination in view of the context of the time came to the conclusion that Patras has failed to benefit from the opportunity given by both the organization of the European City/Capital of Culture 2006 and the 2004 Olympics for a number of reasons. These reasons comprise the poor preparation and organization, the successive variation of people in responsible posts and especially the failure to actively involve the local community in the alleged cultural regeneration of the city. The last item is responsible for the bitterness that has remained to the people of Patras as a reflection of the specific period. The overall approach to Patras 2006 have been characterized as having no realistic vision and largely as having been related more to personal interests rather than the common good. The lost chance is therefore not only a matter of urban and cultural regeneration that simply did not take place but most importantly a negative experience for the city and an impediment in the challenge for similar smaller or bigger events in the future.
Athanasopoulou E., and Sapounakis A., (2018) Patras, European Cultural Capital of 2006: a lost chance in urban development and planning context for the third largest Greek city, Discussion Paper Series, DPRD-U.Th., 24(1): 1-14