Creative Improvement Districts

Updated: Nov 18

Clients and partners: University of Manchester/Creative Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Creative Improvement Districts (CIDs) are an exciting and potentially transformative model of culture-led regeneration originally conceived and now being rolled-out by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. They propose to bring together a suite of policy interventions that encourage the agglomeration of creative businesses, cultural organisations and their associated workforces in a defined geographical location to support the creative and culture sectors to thrive and revitalise struggling town and city urban areas.

In this new policy paper, commissioned by the University of Manchester/Creative Manchester, Culture Commons:

  • explores the rise of cultural regeneration as a favoured mechanism for growth by the UK Government and local decision makers

  • revisits the original policy design of GMCA's 2019 CID model

  • gathers learning from recent regeneration schemes and programmes that have successfully incorporated the creative and cultural sectors

  • draws these strands together to introduce a series of light touch recommendations to inform the roll-out of existing and future CIDs across the UK

Download the full paper here:

221114 Culture Commons - Creative Improvement Districts, Nov 2022 (published)
Download PDF • 1.57MB

Using this paper as a starting point, we are now now keen to collaborate with local leaders and sector stakeholder to develop bespoke programmes that go beyond economic growth to address local policy priorities and unlock wider community benefits. We’re already beginning to think about an appropriate evaluation framework that could help capture and measure the full potential of the CID programme too, which we hope to develop with partners in the coming months.

We've shared this paper with key decision makers within the UK Government, devolved administrations, local and combined authorities and national sector bodies. We hope it will inform the ongoing enquiry into culture and local government led by the Local Government Association, as well as the national ‘Sector Vision’ being developed by the Creative Industries Council.

If you or your organisation are interested in this work or have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own, please do get in touch with us at


This consultancy research was undertaken by Culture Commons as part of the ‘Cultural recovery, place and the pandemic – policy models for new localism and the new normal’ research project, a University of Manchester Faculty Research Recovery project, led by Dr Abigail Gilmore, Co-Investigator, AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre.