Governments are using culture to spur economic regeneration
- Countries around the world are investing in new artistic institutions. Will they pay dividends?
St John's, a district in central Manchester, has long reflected the city’s ambitions. Thanks to its proximity to the River Irwell, the site became a hub for the booming cotton and timber trades during the Industrial Revolution. After the second world war, as the city’s economy turned towards services, Britain’s first purpose-built television studios were set up there. (Most of the studios were closed or relocated in 2013.) Now the area is undergoing yet another transformation. On June 30th a multi-use arts venue on the banks of the river—costing £211m ($268m) and spanning more than 140,000 square feet—welcomed its first visitors.