The Local Government Association (LGA) has picked up several policy recommendations developed by Culture Commons - including on 'Creative Improvement Districts' - in their major new report, 'Cornerstones of Culture' (Dec 2022).
The 'Cornerstones' report follows the LGA’s Independent Commission on Culture and Local Government which launched in March 2022, chaired by Baroness Lola Young. The Commission was established to explore the important contribution local culture can make to what is currently described as ‘levelling up’, and its role in responding to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Its brought together national, regional and local actors engaged in local publicly funded culture together to communicate the unique role of council funded and supported culture and to set out a vision for its future in the context of place.
The LGA's final report identifies four key ‘cornerstones’ essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem: capacity, leadership, funding and evidence, and sets out detailed recommendations for securing the future of local publicly funded culture - including on Culture Commons' proposed 'Creative Improvement Districts'.
Director of Culture Commons, Trevor MacFarlane FRSA sat on the Advisory Board throughout the enquiry, sharing views on the role local culture can play in supporting recovery from the pandemic across several themes, including: sustainable and inclusive economic recovery; health inequalities; social mobility, cultural education, and creative skills; and place. He said:
We're delighted that the Commissioners felt our work on 'Creative Improvement Districts' really has legs. We heard a great deal about how important culture and creativity is for thriving communities throughout the enquiry; our paper begins to put some 'flesh on the bones' in terms of building some tangible mechanisms to support different areas - areas that have different infrastructures and policy priorities - to really unlock the full potential of culture.
Lord Parkinson, Minister for Arts and Heritage, said:
This report identifies helpful ways for local authorities and their partners to support and strengthen culture and heritage. As well as creating jobs, breathing life into old buildings, and contributing to local economies, they can boost our wellbeing and bolster civic pride. I look forward to working with the Local Government Association as these ideas are brought to life.
What are Creative Improvement Districts?
Creative Improvement Districts (CIDs) are an exciting and potentially transformative model of culture-led regeneration originally conceived and now being rolled-out in Greater Manchester. 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 November 2022, Culture Commons published this new paper on 'Creative Improvement Districts', exploring the rise of cultural regeneration in the UK and proposing several ways that CIDs might go beyond merely economic growth to address local policy priorities and unlock community benefits too. We think CIDs could have implication for policy and places right across the UK.
Who are the Local Government Association?
The LGA is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government. The LGA is made up of a core membership comprising 331 of the 333 councils in England and includes district, county, metropolitan and unitary authorities along with London boroughs and the City of London Corporation. The 22 Welsh unitary councils are in membership via the Welsh Local Government Association.
You can read the LGA's report here.
If you or your organisation are interested in our work on Creative Improvements Districts or have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org