Across Europe, the cultural and creative sector is one of the more rapidly growing parts of the economy. This is particularly the case in the more dynamic cities and regions.
One in five new jobs in London in recent years has been in the creative industries. Similar figures have been recorded elsewhere, in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Rome and Madrid.
The success of culture-based development is not confined, however, to the most dynamic areas; the Study on the Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Economic Development shows that culture-based development strategies have wide applicability across Europe’s regions. This is not always appreciated, so it may be necessary to establish a case by pointing to the sort of evidence presented in the study.
Culture-based development works best when it is part of a coherent and strategic vision for the development of a territory. Investing in culture should not come in isolation, but should be part of an integrated development strategy, which is based on a thorough mapping of local assets, needs and resources. An outline of a culture-based development strategy is set out on the Strategy page
The Study on the Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Economic Development presents a variety of examples of culture-based interventions (over 50 cases in total). 10 core cases provide the most detail. They were selected because of the relative importance of their budget, the evidence they provide for real impacts, their variety in application and the way they have creatively extended earlier ideas. All the cases, however, represent a rich source of inspiration for those seeking ideas for their own projects.
Take the time now to look at the examples of successful interventions financed through the Structural Funds since 2000. They illustrate an interesting range of diverse development paths :
- Development of basic cultural infrastructure : Operational Programmes for Greece and Portugal
- Exploitation of industrial heritage : Zollverein
- Development centred on music : Musikpark Mannheim Strategy for urban centres : Culture & Urban Regeneration project
- Extending the model to smaller towns and across regions : Creative Clusters in Smaller Urban Environments
- The development of a Creative Region : Cornwall
- Revitalising craft industries in a rural environment through quality measures and marketing: ‘Meisterstrasse’
- ICT and digital resources : the Digital Creative Economy
- Building confidence and skills in groups facing exclusion : Kunstwerk(t)
- Using modern media to fight discrimination : Equal Opportunity in the Media
Note that, in their different ways, these projects all address one or more of the core priorities for the Structural Funds.