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Cultural Districts – An Investment in Rich Urban Life

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Cultural Districts An Investment in Rich Urban Life

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As many look expectantly toward a post Covid 19 world rebuilding and renewing our cities will be a colossal challenge Yet this is also an opportunity for transformational change and to build the transition to a greener more inclusive and more resilient tomorrow Image Credit Better Bankside To that end cultural districts offer a powerful source of light for cities aiming to reignite their economies and strengthen the resilience of their communities The value of cultural districts is immense multi layered and farreaching Cultural districts attract investment knowledge workers and tourists build community and social capital and reveal a distinctive local identity However your support is vital for cultural districts to thrive Together with your strong support and partnership we can forge and ensure vibrant and dynamic cultural districts

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What Are Cultural Districts Image Credit Barangaroo Aerial Photography Hamilton Lund Photographer image courtesy of Barangaroo Delivery Authority Cultural districts are a global phenomenon They are places characterised by a high concentration of cultural activities and organisations Some are centuries old but over the last two decades the number and profile of cultural districts have grown rapidly all around the world as their unique contribution to urban life has been more fully understood Whether old or new planned or naturally occurring cultural districts are increasingly recognised for the synergies and critical mass that they foster and the contribution they make to the quality of urban life

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As clusters of creative and cultural activity concentrated within a geographic area successful cultural districts create maintain and nurture the conditions in which culture and creativity thrive adding significantly to the quality of urban life Image Credit MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna

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Why Do Cultural Districts Matter Today cultural districts are often organised into and supported by entities created to help them thrive and make their fullest contribution to economy and society These benefits are enhanced by the economies of scale and synergies that cultural districts foster through clustering There are several dimensions to the impact they can make on urban life Image Credit MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna

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Cultural districts matter and make a difference because of their multidimensional values Artistic Value Nurturing and sustaining the cultural and creative industries ecosystem Educational Value Building capabilities and promoting active citizenship Social Community Values Strengthening community revitalisation belonging and social inclusion Urban Environmental Values Fostering strong sense of place and enhancing liveability CULTURAL DISTRICTS Economic Value Stimulating innovation and fostering international engagement Cultural Impact Social Impact Economic Impact Creative Excellence Cultural Vitality Diversity Equity and Inclusion Resilience Community Pride Better Health Improved Well Being Quality of Life Social Mobility Improved Education Crime Prevention Employment Capital Investment Exports Tourism International Competitiveness Cultural value is multi dimensional and broadly refers to the worth attributed to arts and culture Impact implies that something changes as a result of a cultural experience at least temporarily It includes the variety of positive outcomes that are associated with arts and culture from intrinsic benefits to tangible outcomes such as economic gains It can be applied to individual communities and cities

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Artistic Value Cultural districts nurture and sustain the cultural and creative industries ecosystem Image Credit Late Night Texting 2019 Centre 42 in the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct Singapore

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Creative people are the heart soul and driver of the cultural and creative industries They generate new ideas push boundaries and bring exciting new work to life Creating new work can be challenging Creative practitioners and organisations particularly small emerging and independent players operate in a complex system involving a multitude of people institutions and places To flourish they require access to a range of interconnected resources and capabilities Cultural districts support the conditions for artmaking and creative practice by Fostering a supportive arts ecosystem that nourishes the creative and innovative energies of artists and creative practitioners Creating places and opportunities to enable the arts and culture to thrive and grow Taking the lead in supporting the burgeoning virtual cultural community through new forms of collaborative and or hybrid programming Image Credit Late Night Texting 2019 Centre 42 in the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct Singapore

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All citizens have the right to a creative and culturally fulfilling life Regardless of race background age gender or ability all citizens are entitled to see themselves reflected in our cultural life on our screens and stages in our literature art and music Cultural districts can foster participation and engagement by Broadening equitable access and providing new pathways to a rich diversity of artistic and creative expression to diverse communities Image Credit Late Night Texting 2019 Centre 42 in the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct Singapore Supporting artists creative practitioners organisations and businesses in their search for wider audiences new markets and increased revenue Celebrating promoting and preserving cultural heritage as a legacy for future generations

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Educational Value Cultural districts build capabilities and promote active citizenship Image Credit Children s Season 2017 at National Museum of Singapore in the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct

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Numerous longitudinal research studies have demonstrated that exposure to and engagement in the arts and culture increase people s capacity for learning as well as enrich the lives of adults Young people demonstrably benefit from arts and culture based learning which cultivates imagination and builds enduring social and personal capabilities Importantly cultural engagement develops critical thinking communications and innovation skills essential to a productive 21st century workforce Cultural districts can create a positive environment to enable capabilities and capacities for learning and development by Providing equitable access to high quality educational programmes spanning from early childhood through to higher education and workforce training Serving as a hub for skills development knowledge exchange and networking Image Credit Children s Season 2017 at National Museum of Singapore in the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct

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Investing in cultural districts will support the development of arts and culture based education opportunities which will nurture active and empathetic citizens who care about their communities Cultural districts are a civic asset in today s global society by The arts and culture act as an engine for civic renewal and contribute to community vitality Citizen engagement in the arts creates a strong shared identity connectedness and pride Image Credit HOTA Kids Take Over image courtesy of HOTA Home of the Arts Offering arts and cultural programmes that facilitate intercultural understanding foster trust and increase tolerance and empathy Fostering active citizenship and nurturing the collective efficacy of a community to address major problems together

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Social Community Values Cultural districts strengthen community revitalisation belonging and social inclusion Image Credit HOTA Life image courtesy of HOTA Home of the Arts

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Cities are home to a wide range of diverse communities with differing socioeconomic backgrounds and distinctive identities Communities are not static as populations grow social challenges such as integrating new residents and citizens with diverse cultures and traditions keeping our aging population active and our mobile population rooted will increasingly take centrestage The idea that artists designers and creatives have a role in shaping a community is as old as human civilisation However the arts and culture are underutilised assets in community planning and development Cultural districts can support and respond to social and community challenges by Creating strong social infrastructure that builds community supports wellness and creates opportunities for cultural experiences that uplift individuals and communities Developing people centred policies and strategies that facilitate social integration social mobility and the formation of social capital Image Credit Photo by Jordan Battiste courtesy of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

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The arts and culture have immeasurable impact on community and quality of life They are able to heal bring joy inspire and build bridges between cultures through shared experiences Creative services and cultural experiences have immense potential to deliver widereaching social and community outcomes but have suffered from lack of investment and coordination Image Credit Photo by Jordan Battiste courtesy of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Cultural districts deliver wide social and community impact that support and celebrate the unique and important strengths of their communities by Empowering at risk youths and underserved communities by harnessing the power of the arts and culture to give voice to the issues that impact them Acting as community anchors that prioritise equitable development and authentic engagement that are responsive to community needs

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Urban Environmental Values Cultural districts foster a strong sense of place and enhance liveability Image Credit PVD Fest 2018 Providence

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All across the globe cities are recognising the importance of creating neighbourhoods and places where people are able to live work and play Cultural districts have the power to reshape the way we experience our cities they can remake streetscapes and improve public safety enliven public spaces draw in visitors and enhance residents quality of life Cultural districts are able to foster a strong and shared sense of place by Developing a shared narrative to promote and enable positive perceptions of the cultural district s distinct creative ecology Providing an unrivalled visitor experience by clustering cultural institutions animated public spaces and streetscape improvements Image Credit DePasquale Plaza Providence

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Building a resilient future also requires preparation for future challenges especially the growing impact of climate change and to ensure equitable planning and development Cultural districts can strengthen a city s resilience by A city s resilience is defined by the ability of its communities to survive adapt and grow despite the chronic stresses and shocks it experiences When communities are resilient they are safer healthier happier and able to thrive despite everyday stresses Image Credit Outdoor Stage Life at HOTA image courtesy of HOTA Home of the Arts Advancing creative placemaking as a strategic means to recognise existing assets and incorporate community voices to foster a vibrant safe green and equitable environment Taking the lead in enabling sustainability by improving resource efficiency and raising sustainability awareness

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Economic Value Cultural districts Stimulate innovation and enable international engagement Image Credit Wake by Mel Chin Times Square Photo courtesy of Chelsea Lipman

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Creativity is not limited to the cultural and creative industries As the basis of innovation creativity can drive productivity economic growth and job creation In fact creativity is a cross industry transferable skill being increasingly recognised for the variety of benefits it brings to the wider economy Cultural districts deliver wider economic impact by Supporting a thriving mixed economy by facilitating crosssector collaboration and networking amongst varied partners Catalysing new kinds of innovation and entrepreneurial energy by supporting new ventures and kinds of relationships between creative practices businesses and audiences Attracting talent creating jobs and supporting social mobility Image Credit Times Square courtesy of Michael Grimm

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Cultural districts contribute to and are shaped by the wider global community The most successful creative places operate on an international scale connecting with overseas partners collaborators and audiences Global engagement amplifies opportunities for ideas and inspirations for trade and tourism and for cultural relationships and diplomacy Cultural districts project a city s impact and profile to global audiences visitors and markets by Promoting the overall image of a city and being internationally known and visited for its exceptional cultural infrastructure and experiences Image Credit Parc des Chantiers Terrasse des vents Triennale D bord de Loire Nantes Loire Atlantique 05_2019 Val ry Joncheray image courtesy of SAMOA Encouraging inward investment as well as attracting and retaining top talent and knowledge workers

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Overall cultural districts strengthen the resilience of their neighbourhoods and cities as well as add value to the communities that they serve Image Credit GAIA by Luke Jerram at HOTA Home of the Arts image courtesy of HOTA Home of the Arts

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In times of crisis the arts and culture have a critical contribution to make and cultural districts matter more than ever Image Credit Play Me I m Yours Melbourne Arts Precinct

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The world changed in 2020 and there is no going back Research shows that during and following major crises such as natural disasters and health pandemics the arts and culture play a critical role in enabling people to adjust and make sense of the changes in reconnecting affected communities strengthening sense of place and connection reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation providing opportunities for contemplation and fostering a shared sense of hope Image Credit HOTA Kids Take Over image courtesy of HOTA Home of the Arts

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The arts and culture are also integral to tackling the multifaceted challenges that businesses face including improving staff well being sparking creativity and innovation and supporting cross sector collaboration The arts and culture can also enhance a city s soft power potential a critical resource during this period of global disruption Within GCDN cultural districts are already harnessing these benefits to build back better and stronger Image Credit Play Me I m Yours Melbourne Arts Precinct

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Cultural districts have been playing an active role in the recovery and renewal of cities by Swiftly adapting to meet residents immediate needs by providing residents with access to critical infrastructure and resources to remain fed active and digitally connected during the pandemic Innovating with low cost immediately responsive and creative public realm interventions to promote local businesses health and social equity Producing arts and cultural activities that contribute to positive educational social health and well being outcomes amongst communities Combatting growing issues of loneliness and isolation and building feelings of community belonging and trust through fostering arts and cultural participation Facilitating and or driving creative transformations that enable innovation and economic growth Image Credit Georges Marvellous Medicine Relaxed Performance Melbourne Arts Precinct

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There is still much to be done to understand more fully the immense potential of cultural districts and the unique ways in which they are formed structured and sustained Quoz Arts Fest image courtesy Alserkal Avenue

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Support your cultural district in playing a critical role in the recovery and resilience of your city Image Credit Place des Festivals by Ulysse Lemerise OSA image courtesy of Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles

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Produced in 2021 To find out more contact info gcdn net For case study examples check out the accompanying fact sheet Front cover Camille Walala colourful crossing Bankside London Design Festival 2016 Back cover Balancoires by Martine Doyon image courtesy of Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles

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Produced in 2021 info gcdn net For case study examples check out the accompanying Front cover Camille Walala colourful crossing Bankside London Design Festival 2016 Back cover Balancoires by Martine Doyon image courtesy of Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles