Burgos 2031 will present a European Capital of Culture project based on the ‘Renaissance’ of medium-sized cities as a model for development

The advisory committee identified the main challenges of its candidacy as depopulation, talent drain and ageing. It proposed the city as an experimental laboratory that tackles these scenarios using culture as a central pillar for development.

By means of Promueve – the Municipal entity trust for the Promotion and Development of Burgos – Burgos City Council is moving forward with its plan to put together its candidacy as European Capital of Culture 2031. After four days of work, the project Advisory Committee – composed of 30 cultural, economic, social and political stakeholders – has established the city’s major challenges for the upcoming years. Based on this, Promueve has built a narrative that will serve as the line of argument to develop the candidacy’s objectives.

The Burgos European Capital of Culture 2031 project will revolve around the motto of ‘Renaissance’, which incorporates the narrative of the medieval city that ventures beyond its walls to embrace technical progress, culture and the economic wealth in the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries. This is the same city that delves into decadence to subsequently seize the industrial paths of the ‘Industrial Pole of Development’ and that now reflects upon itself as a model of a medium-sized city, as a relevant scale for European sustainable development, by means of the European Capital of Culture project and its desire to position culture as the backbone of territorial development. Culture that is viewed holistically, as a complex whole, a new way to contemplate reality and humankind, as occurred in the Renaissance period. In short, the project will position Burgos as a laboratory to reflect upon European medium-sized cities.  Such cities are already experiencing population loss, ageing and talent drain, as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy, Professor Sergio Andrés Cabello and other experts have reflected upon.

‘Renaissance’ involves applying the principles of the cultural era to a medium-sized city such as Burgos. It requires establishing a balance between economic development and the environment, consumption and conservation, competition and cooperation, people and technology and science and humanism. In opposition to the economic era, which places an emphasis on the production of goods and services, the creation of materials and of wealth, the Burgos 2031 project plunges into the cultural era, and opts for the desire to share, collaborate, help people, and build community, through the arts, humanities, education or cultural industries.

This ‘Renaissance’ will make the city appealing, generate social cohesion, economic progress, citizens’ wellbeing, a better quality of life, environmental improvements, creative energy, integration, new cultural stakeholders and audiences and a new way of viewing the surrounding reality and the city itself.

The Advisory Committee’s reflections have made it possible to position Burgos as a model of a European medium-sized city, of ‘Renaissance’, via seven vectors:

–              Burgos has been a crossroads throughout history, the origin of European humankind, the birthplace of the Spanish language and a strategic space of the Camino de Santiago, or St. James’s Way.

–              Burgos is the medieval city that abandons the castle walls to delve into the splendour of the Renaissance during the 15th and 16th centuries.

–              A city that is eminently industrial and that has founded its development on industrial value.

 –             Now, it is searching for a solution to its own challenges by means of the European Capital of Culture, marrying tradition with the vanguard.

–      The European Capital of Culture will drive the city’s transformation by forging intergenerational and transversal dynamics.

–              Burgos 2031 as a dialogue that integrates the province and the city.

–            The European Capital Project aims to strengthen the connection with Europe through shared values.

The concept of ‘Renaissance’ makes it possible to integrate the city project and the cultural project of the European Capital of Culture in a single narrative through different lines of action, such as:

  • Nature: paying particular attention to the province and its natural, tangible and intangible ecosystem, as well as the rewilding of the urban public space.
  • Social cohesion: in the aim of achieving cultural decentralisation (neighbourhood culture) and designing a plan of public spaces through new governance formulas.
  • Citizens: people entitled not just to rights, but also to cultural responsibilities, that is to generate a cultural personality (creativity, values, respect for the environment, beliefs, lifestyles, harmony, peace, etc).
  • Technology: industrial Burgos heading towards the economic transition, with a favourable environment that enables the strengthening of the University of Burgos and local companies.
  • Creative economy: through the development of cultural/creative industries

Connection: creation of European networks with cities and people and a local cultural fabric connected to Europe.