This paper examines the spatial value of live popular music by adopting an inter-disciplinary approach grounded in urban and music studies. What is understood of the relationship between live music and the built environment is improved, with a focus on how this cultural form contributes to performing, (re)developing and narrating urban spaces. The post-industrial city has become a stage for events that serve a wide range of social, cultural, economic and spatial objectives. However, the densification of the built environment has led to a debate about the extent to which live music’s positive outcomes outweigh the nuisance experienced by residents in terms of noise and the unavailability of public spaces. Furthermore, small venues in many cities are struggling with issues of gentrification, implying that the spatial value of music is part of wider concerns about who owns the city and which forms of culture can be produced and consumed in urban centres. Against this background, the paper asks the following questions concerning the spatial value of live music: how can it be defined? What are the challenges to achieving it? How can it be supported in urban planning? The study is grounded in a qualitative content analysis of 24 live music reports and strategies, as well as 10 in-depth interviews with policymakers, festival organisers and venue owners. Also discussed is how the spatial value of live music can be supported in urban policies by building interdisciplinary networks, establishing strategies, and creating and sustaining places for live music events.

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ERMeCC, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture, Rotterdam

van der Hoeven, A.J.C, & Hitters, H.J.C.J. (2020). The spatial value of live music. Geoforum, 117, 154–164. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.09.016