Press release by Mayor of London:
In the biggest international survey of its kind, the World Cities Culture Report 2012 has collected an unprecedented amount of data on the scope and impact of the cultural assets and activities that are produced and consumed in 12 major cities: Berlin, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Mumbai, New York, Paris, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Using 60 indicators and reports from each of the participating cities, the report shows that culture is seen as important as finance and trade and sits at the heart of public policy. Ranging from museums and concert halls, to bars, restaurants and festivals, it encompasses both formal and informal cultural activity.
It demonstrates that across the world culture is increasingly recognised as central to the prosperity of cities, for example attracting international visitors and inward investment. Culture is seen critical to the image that cities want to present on the international stage, not just those from emerging economies, like Mumbai, Shanghai and São Paulo, but also New York, Paris and London. It is also seen as a way of addressing complicated city-wide social issues, for example in post-apartheid Johannesburg and in Tokyo, following the East Japan Earthquake.
The World Cities Culture Report 2012 was commissioned by the Mayor of London in partnership with nine of the cities featured in it and is launched this week at the inaugural World Cities Culture Summit.
The authors of the report demonstrate that in an increasingly globalised world, culture plays a key role in establishing world cities’ distinctive identities. External ideas and influences, as well as the culture of migrant populations, are blended or “hybridised” with local artistic activities, transforming them into something new and unique. They suggest that different approaches to cultural policy also help differentiate the cities, not just from others within their own countries, but from other world cities. However, the report also shows that some issues cut across all cities: among them balancing tradition and modernity; the development and use of new cultural infrastructure; and adopting a mix of private and public funding.
The 2012 report takes as its starting point a definition and framework for analysing culture that is recommended by UNESCO. The indicators cover cultural provision, consumption and participation across six themes: cultural heritage; literary culture; performing arts; film and games; human capital; and cultural vitality and diversity.
The breadth of the data and information contained in the World Cities Culture Report 2012 is a significant contribution to discussions about the role of culture in overall economic and social policy. The intention is that the data will be updated every three years.
(Tokyo was represented in the report by Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs)