Cultural Heritage and Creative City / Regional Development

Results of the CreativeCH workshop held on the 16th of September 2014 in Budapest at the Petofi Irodalmi Múzeum.

The workshop was organised in a collaboration with the Institute for Social and European Studies (ISES), Köszeg, Hungary. The Institute since 2011 holds the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainability, and offers a post-graduate programme that provides an interdisciplinary specialization in cultural heritage and sustainable development.

The workshop brought together experts from Hungary and other countries, including from Creative SpIN  (Spillovers of Innovation), a network of European cities funded under the URBACT programme.

Presentations on cities in Hungary (Budapest and Pécs), Slovakia (Košice) and the United Kingdom (Birmingham) provided a set of examples for discussing the role of cultural and creative industries in the development of cities and regions. Furthermore issues in releasing the creativity embodied in cultural heritage and citizen’s perspectives of the value of cultural heritage / historic environment were addressed.

Workshop highlights

Creative city / regional development policies and strategies: Cities and regions aim for a strong position in the country and internationally, recognition as centers of creativity and technology, and positive social and environmental conditions. The role of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) as important drivers of city and regional development are recognized. However, different strategies (and certainly lack of a clear strategy) of CCI promotion can result in very different outcomes.

Involving stakeholders across the board: Mobilizing all relevant stakeholders is crucial for successful creative city / regional development. Development initiatives often face conflicts among parties with different interests (e.g. investors / developers, monument protection, local businesses and citizens). Governance of the public sector (e.g. municipality, regional government) has an important role to play in the resolution of such conflicts.

Cultural and creative industries “spillovers”: Cultural and creative industries (CCIs) should not only be seen as a driver of economic growth but also as vital for cross-sector innovations. Such innovations may be achieved through promoting “spillovers” of CCI knowledge and skills into other sectors. Public and social services may be one of the prime targets of such “creative spillovers”.

The 3P’s – Pathways, Place, Personal Networks: The 3P’s (developed in the ACRE project) may provide a more useful framework for thinking about required conditions for creative city / regional development than the 3T’s (Talent, Technology, Tolerance) and similar schemes.

Requirements for success: Among the main requirements of success of creative city / regional development are attraction and promotion of creative businesses and talented people, access to finance and markets, and a supportive legal framework. Bureaucratic mindsets, missing cooperation between local / regional authorities and other actors, and a weak civil society can be strong impediments for creative city / regional development.

Providing fit-for-purpose curricula, training and professionalization: The development of the necessary local / regional base of knowledge and skills for cultural and creative businesses requires that universities offer appropriate curricula that provide fit-for-purpose learning and skills development. Furthermore opportunities for vocational training and professionalization as well as support for creative work (e.g. residencies and commissioned work), networking and business development support will be necessary.

Brain drain: Attracting and retaining talented people is one of the key factors of success of creative cities and regions. The “brain drain” towards the capital / metropolitan areas is a major issue for medium-size and small towns.

“Hard” and “soft” location factors: Differences between these factors should be recognized. “Hard” factors are decisive for attracting and settling down creative people; they include e.g. size of city, employment opportunities, transport links, etc. “Soft” factors are important to retain creatives in the long run, including cultural diversity and tolerance, leisure & entertainment, and environmental conditions (e.g. historic / heritage elements, proximity to natural environment).

Culture as a priority area of development: Culture will not necessarily range high on the political agenda, which typically is more concerned about economic development and job generation, social security, public health, etc. Culture and cultural heritage are important local / regional values (i.e. for a liveable city) but as such may not be drivers of economic growth and job creation. Therefore the cultural sector has to demonstrate relevance for city and regional development.

Heritage / historic environment and cultural infrastructures: Heritage / historic environment can strengthen the local identity and contribute to citizens’ pride of place. It can also offer opportunities for re-using historic buildings for cultural and creative facilities / infrastructures. However, preserving heritage values and enabling appropriate new uses requires truly creative interventions.

Summary by Guntram Geser and Hannes Selhofer (Salzburg Research)

Workshop content

Full report of the workshop, background and presentations of speakers, and video at:

Includes presentations by

  • Denise Barrett (Project Manager, Birmingham City Council, UK) – “Creative Spillovers for Innovation”
  • Tamás Egedy (Metropolitan and Urbanisation Research Group, Institute of Geography, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary) – “Creativity between the walls – new tendencies in the urban development of Budapest”
  • Tamás Fejérdy (Honorary Member of ICOMOS International; Budapest, Hungary) – “Embodied creativity: cultural heritage and creative city development”
  • Marián Matusák (Project Manager, Košice - European Capital of Culture 2013) – “Cultural and Creative Industries in Košice”
  • Ági Pap (PhD, University of Szeged, Department of Economic and Social Geography, Szeged, Hungary) – “Cultural heritage neighbourhoods in urban transformation - citizens‘ perspectives”
  • András Trócsanyi and Gábor Pirisi (Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies, Institute of Geography, University of Pécs, Hungary) – “Outsized expectations, partial results – The ECoC Pécs 2010 experience”

Selected material and links