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Cultural investment key to the future of our cities

New enquiry finds new opportunities for culture in cities

Yesterday we were at the launch of the Cultural Cities Enquiry report, for which BOP were the working and research partner.

This UK-wide enquiry brought together cities, UK Arts Councils and leaders from the cultural, education, design, development, hospitality and technology sectors to investigate how culture continues to improve and enrich the lives of cities.

The overwhelming conclusion of the report was that smart investment through cultural activities can bring enormous benefits to our cities and their people across the UK. There is a huge opportunity to grow investment in culture across the UK, attracting and supporting diverse and talented people and ensuring that our cities thrive through social and economic growth.

The first key recommendation in the report was the creation of Cultural City Compacts. These will bring together civic leaders and partners from culture, business and education to make best use of resources and secure the social and economic benefits that come from embedding arts and culture in civic life.

These Compacts will deliver against local priorities, such as regenerating high streets and post-industrial quarters, establishing creative clusters, developing tourist revenue, supporting local creative talent and building civic engagement.

The other three recommendations were:·

  • Corporate Social Venture Funds - These will act as local vehicles for social investment into culture and creative organisations
  • Creative Talent Pathways - The creation of coordinated approaches for the development of creative talent to meet local needs, which government could support by making apprenticeship levy rules more flexible
  • Cultural property assets - Making strategic use of cities’ cultural property assets to revive high streets and city centres, as well as help prevent displacement of cultural activity after urban regeneration.

Debate about the UK’s future is intense. Our culture and our places are vital to this. While these debates continue, the Enquiry offers practical ways forward.

We will be exploring these four recommendations further in a series of forthcoming blogs.

Full report here.

- Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist

Image credit: Greater London Authority