Skip to content


How can cities make space for culture?
New Handbook for City Leaders published

How can cities continue to grow and attract investment while preserving their cultural infrastructure – and the vibrancy and diversity that make them unique? Our new ‘Making Space for Culture’ handbook for City Leaders explores how world cities across the globe are answering this question, from San Francisco to Shenzhen.

Though culture is a key contributor to economic prosperity, the rising property prices and increasing social and economic inequality caused by rapid urban growth can threaten cultural life and cause new issues for makers of cultural policy. This is an extreme challenge for world cities in particular, because of the sheer volume of capital that pours into them and the unprecedented speed at which development takes place.

For example, in London, one of the few cities to track the issue, 35% of grassroots music venues have been lost over the past 8 years and 30% of artist studios are likely to be lost over the next 5 years.

The World Cities Culture Forum believes that the affordability crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing culture in world cities. These trends directly threaten the long-term health of world cities, striking at the heart of what makes them unique – their rich cultural offer, their cosmopolitan mix of people, and their ability to innovate.

Our new ‘Making Space for Culture’ handbook offers twelve in-depth case studies illustrating some of the ways our member cities are responding. An introduction by Tim Jones, CEO of Artscape in Toronto, surveys the opportunities for city and cultural leaders to work with other interests to ‘scale up’ the response and meet the challenge.

The handbook can be downloaded here.