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Creative Improvement Districts

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

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.

CIDs propose to bring together a suite of policy levers together to 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, we:

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

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

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

  • propose several ways CIDs might go beyond economic growth to address local policy priorities and unlock community benefits

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

You can download the full paper here:

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

We're now beginning to think about an appropriate evaluation framework that could help capture and measure the full potential of the CID programme, which we hope to develop with partners in the coming months and years.

We've already shared this paper with key decision makers within the UK Government, devolved administrations, local and combined authorities and national sector bodies. We are pleased that our work on CIDs so far has been adopted by the Local Government Association in their recent 'Cornerstones of Culture' report on the relationship between local authorities and the cultural sectors. We hope our thinking will now go on to inform the place-based work associated with the new ‘Sector Vision’ bing worked up by colleagues in the Creative Industries Council.

If you or your organisation are interested in this paper 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.

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