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.
This report is therefore just the start of a journey. We intend to build upon it to develop an ambitious research agenda over the next three years, comprising a shared approach across cities to measuring the social and economic contribution of culture to urban development.
The report is available for download on our website in both English and Russian.