The Role of Culture in World Cities

15 June 2016

WCCF members
WCCF members

The World Cities Culture Forum is an initiative of the Mayor of London, organised and coordinated by BOP Consulting. The World Cities Culture Forum is a leading collaborative network of world cities that share a belief in the importance of culture for creating thriving cities. IAU îdF is a funding partner of the network along with New York, Tokyo, Shanghai. It represents the Paris-Île-de-France region. WCCF encompasses 31 cities – Amsterdam, Austin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw.
Defined as world cities because of their scale, dynamism and diversity, which create fertile conditions for innovation and radical thinking in economic, social and cultural policy, those attending the summit want to highlight the benefits that culture brings to cities – which is where most of the world's population lives - not just in terms of quality of life, but socially and economically.
The fifth World Cities Culture Forum will be taking place in Moscow from 5-7 October. It will bring together representatives of 35 major cities for high level talks aimed at sharing experience and expertise and formulating long-term policies that put culture at the heart of future city planning and development.

Paris Region population, geographical area size and GDP © BOP Consulting Editorial Team
Connectivity
Connectivity © BOP Consulting Editorial Team
Cultural infrastructure
Cultural infrastructure © BOP Consulting Editorial Team

World Cities Culture Report 2015

The 2015 edition of the World Cities Culture Report shows that culture is a key ingredient of world cities’ success. It draws mainly on interviews with a cross-section of up to seven opinion formers from each city: artists, business leaders, representatives of civil society, entrepreneurs and politicians. These opinion formers –150 in all –were asked for their views on the challenges and opportunities facing their cities and how culture can address them. On the one hand it indicates that culture plays a part in the economic growth, both as a sector in its own right and through supporting innovation and soft power, but on the other hand there are concerns that economic success can have negative consequences, including overstretched infrastructure, social inequality and the risk of homogenisation.

Click here to download the full 2015 edition.

Click here to download the World Cities Culture Key Figures 2015

World Cities Culture Report 2014

This report examines the cultural offer of 24 of the world’s greatest cities. It gathers evidence on 60 cultural indicators, assessing both the supply of and demand for culture, and reports on the thinking of cultural policymakers in those places. The level of detail of the cultural data collected across the cities is unprecedented, and represents the primary achievement of this research.
However, what makes the project even more valuable is its exploration of attitudes to cultural policymaking in the world cities. The potential for culture to contribute to economic and social development is understood by all the cities, but it plays out in different ways depending on the particularities of each place. Bringing an analysis of policymakers’ priorities together with the data gives a much more rounded picture of culture’s role in, and value to, world cities.

Click here to download the 2014 edition.

Transformational Cultural Projects, Report 2014

A ‘transformational’ cultural project is one that has contributed significantly to linking culture with sustainable urban development. Transformational is understood within a broad framework of human development, in which social welfare, equity and people’s capabilities matter.
The Transformational Cultural Projects Report aims to build the World Cities Culture Forum’s evidence base about the wide-ranging ways in which culture impacts on a world city and its inhabitants. Each member city selected the cultural project it thought would best meet the report’s objectives and provided the necessary information needed to draft its case study.
The understanding of a ‘cultural project’ in the report is broad and can refer to a specific cultural policy, a cultural programme or a cultural venue. The projects are not necessarily led by local municipalities but can be public, private, bottom-up or top-down initiatives.
The report does not attempt to systematise the cities’ projects using comparable quantitative indicators. While major advances have been made in the quantitative assessment of the economic contribution of culture to the success of world cities, the same cannot yet be said for the relationship between culture and sustainable urban development. This is because it is a more diverse and complex subject and one that resists easy quantification. However, the difficulty does not mean it is impossible. There is a wide-ranging literature – on wellbeing, social capital and the impact of culture on education for example – that provide plenty of signposts for how to develop such an approach.

Click here to download the 2014 edition.

World Cities Culture Forum. City Portraits, Report 2013

This report examines the cultural offer of 24 of the world’s greatest cities. It gathers evidence on 60 cultural indicators, assessing both the supply of and demand for culture, and reports on the thinking of cultural policymakers in those places. The level of detail of the cultural data collected across the cities is unprecedented, and represents the primary achievement of this research.
However, what makes the project even more valuable is its exploration of attitudes to cultural policymaking in the world cities. The potential for culture to contribute to economic and social development is understood by all the cities, but it plays out in different ways depending on the particularities of each place. Bringing an analysis of policymakers’ priorities together with the data gives a much more rounded picture of culture’s role in, and value to, world cities.

Click here to download the 2013 edition.

World Cities Culture Report 2012

The World Cities Culture Report 2012 is a major global initiative on culture and the future of cities, set up by the Mayor of London. The level of detail of the cultural data collected across the cities is unprecedented, and represents the primary achievement of this research. The first version of this report brought together 12 cities and was launched at the inaugural World Cities Culture Summit in London held at the same time as the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Click here to download the 2012 edition.