Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool

Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool

Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool

Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool

Excerpt

In 2004 parts of Liverpool’s historic docks and waterfront were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The year before the city had beaten of rival bids to secure the coveted prize of European Capital of Culture 2008. While the former looked to the past, an acknowledgement of the port-city’s rich maritime history as one-time ‘second city of Empire’, the latter was pitched resolutely towards the future. Culture, with a capital C, became the by-word for a new sense of optimism and hope: qualities which, by dint of necessity, have rarely been in short supply in post-war Liverpool.

The city’s fall from grace as a result of years of decline had, by the 1980s, seen it sink into economic torpor and social unrest as unemployment rates escalated and the population slumped. Not surprisingly, the legacy of Liverpool’s recent troubled past has brought with it a desire to dispel the basket-case tag that has long dogged the city and to reclaim a more positive image to project to (and attract) the outside world. The Capital of Culture award provided what many felt was a much-needed catalyst for ongoing processes of urban regeneration in Liverpool. Symbolically as well as materially, the city has as a result undergone dramatic transformations. Dwarfed by the shiny new edifces of glass and steel that now dominate the waterfront landscape, the city’s totemic sites of dockside dereliction – Heritage with a capital H – represent monuments to an industrial past that is increasingly irreconcilable with the hyper-modern landscapes that have arisen in their wake. As the historic city retreats from view, a virtual city has taken its place. A city of images, spectacles and intangible spaces.

The paradox of Liverpool, as with many post-industrial cities, is that the more the city disappears the more it insists on marking its presence. The importance of the culture, heritage and tourism industries to the political economy of Liverpool marks a fundamental shift from production to consumption as the predominant engine of economic activity in the . . .

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