Urban renewal: its effect on the Cardiff art scene

What effect has Cardiff's urban renewal had on visitor numbers to our top cultural sights?

Cardiff has been subject to vast urban regeneration over the past decade. Indeed, since construction ended on the Cardiff Bay Barrage in 1999, the city has been locked in a veritable architectural renaissance that has resulted in an immeasurable change to its urban landscape.

Large parts of the city centre were demolished to make way for St. David’s 2: a large retail and leisure complex in the heart of the city centre. St. David’s 2 opened its doors in Autumn 2009, to much fanfare; Cardiff was now home to one of Europe’s largest indoor shopping centres, and its arrival heralded a new era for Welsh shopping tourism.

However, two years on, what has the effect of Cardiff’s urban regeneration had on the city’s arts and cultural landscape?

Yes, Cardiff has likely succeeded in its mission to attract a greater footfall along its marbled shopping causeways, but has the number of people enjoying the cultural sights and sounds of the city increased as a bi-product?

I intend to conduct a small investigation into the effects of urban renewal on visitor numbers to some of Cardiff’s top cultural attractions, such as The New Theatre, The St. David’s Hall, The Wales Millennium Centre, The National Museum for Wales, and Chapter Arts Centre. I would also be interested to learn what the impact of such a rigorous overhaul has had on smaller venues in the city, especially during a period of recession.

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