In 2014, EUROCITIES was chosen by the European Commission to lead a brand new initiative called ‘Culture for cities and regions’. We are implementing it in partnership with KEA European Affairs and ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network). The project runs from January 2015 to September 2017, and Pau Rausell from Econcult is one of the lead experts of the project
Context and objectives
Culture is broadly recognized as a key element in strategies for urban and regional development. The presence and quality of cultural activities is a major factor of attractiveness of a city and a measure of quality of living. Cultural heritage is a key element of the image and identity of cities and regions and the main focus of city tourism. The presence and development of cultural and creative industries may constitute a main economic drive for the city and the region. And, very importantly, participation in arts and culture may enhance intercultural dialogue, support social cohesion and lead to social innovation.
Therefore, investing in culture seems to be a wise decision for local and regional policymakers. How to invest, however, is a more complex issue. Making the right choices is all the more essential in a moment of budgetary restrictions; now more than ever, cities and regions must ensure that their spending is efficient. Learning how to make the best of the potential of culture may be a key to well-being and development in Europe. Some cities and regions seem to have been more successful than others in making strategic choices about culture, and in ensuring long term benefits to their investment.
What can be learnt from their experience? Can this be transferred to other contexts?
This €1 million project funded under the Creative Europe programme (DG EAC) aims to take stock of existing practices all over Europe to exchange and promote transfer of knowledge, to better understand successful cases of cultural investment, and to go into the details of policy planning and implementation. By making sure that cities and regions involved in the project place culture at the heart of their territorial development strategies, we aim for long lasting results that will be widely shared and showcased widely in Europe.
The purpose of the project is also to go beyond the study visits – on the one hand, with the provision of follow-up coaching to cities/regional administrations which took part, in the visits, in order to maximize its impact; and on the other hand, by reaching a larger number of interested parties through a broad dissemination of information (development of an online catalogue, website, newsletter, use of social media).
Three main dimensions will be explored throughout this project:
- culture and the creative industries for local economic development and urban regeneration
- cultural heritage as a driver for economic growth and social inclusion
- culture for social inclusion, social innovation and intercultural dialogue
What is it about?
During this three-year project, we will:
- produce a catalogue of 70 case studies
- organise 15 thematic study visits
- provide expert coaching for 10 cities/regions
We will work with a group of external experts. Visits will lead to policy recommendations that will feed in the European Commission work. All findings will be shared on this dedicated website.
A unique opportunity for cities and regions
Beyond a “simple” exchange of experiences, the project will ensure a real impact and a meaningful transferability of local practices. It is foreseen that between 60 and 95 cities and regions of all sizes will gain visibility at the European level and directly benefit from the project through their active involvement in study visits and coaching activities.