The 2015 edition of the World Cities Culture Report is the most comprehensive report to date. Dedicated to the part culture will play in the life of world cities in years to come, the Forum now boasts a network of over 30 cities. Together they tackle the issues that will determine sustainable urban development: How can culture solve some of the biggest challenges of our urban environments? How do cities understand culture’s role in the way their citizens live, work and play? What will be the link between culture and urban citizenship?
The first World Cities Culture Report in 2012 showed that world cities are the makers of global culture. The World Cities Culture Report 2015 shows that culture is a key ingredient of world cities’ success –a golden thread that runs across all aspects of urban planning and policy. 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.
The opinions we received indicated that: World cities continue to enjoy economic growth and are the leading drivers of the global economic recovery. Culture has played a part in this continued economic growth, both as a sector in its own right and through supporting innovation and soft power. There are concerns that this economic success is having negative consequences, including overstretched infrastructure, social inequality and the risk of homogenisation. Economic success is also driving out culture and creativity by making cities unaffordable for many local artists and cultural producers. This is despite culture having helped world cities to tackle the diverse range of challenges they face, including by integrating new communities and improving public spaces. In order to maintain growth and meet the challenges it brings, culture needs to be the golden thread of urban policy, something that is integrated across all policy areas.