JRC releases new tool for demonstrating how Europe’s culture contributes to economy and jobs

The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor provides standardised data on how European cities perform in culture and creativity

The European Commission has published the first edition of the ‘Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor’, a new tool developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to provide standardised data on how European cities perform in culture and creativity and showing how this contributes to social development, economic growth and job creation.

The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor will help policy makers and the cultural and creative sectors identify local strengths and areas for improvement, and learn from comparable cities.

It also sheds light on the strong relationship between cultural vibrancy and aspects of a city’s development, such social diversity and economic activity.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, Sport, said his objective is to place culture and creativity at the heart of the European policy agenda. “In times of major societal transformations and sharpening global competition between cities, we must look beyond traditional sources of growth and socio-economic well-being and explore the role of culture in vibrant, innovative and diverse cities,” Navracsics said.

The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor highlights successful European cities that have found ways of using culture and creativity to drive development, innovation and job creation and improve quality of life for citizens.

The monitor, based on a research project covering 168 cities in 30 European countries, is available as an interactive online tool. It notably shows that the ideal cultural and creative city in Europe would be the amalgam of the best performing cities on each indicator.

This city would have the cultural venues and facilities of Cork, Ireland, the cultural participation and attractiveness and the creative and knowledge-based jobs of Paris, the intellectual property and innovation of Eindhoven, the new jobs in creative sectors of Umeå, Sweden, the human capital and education of Leuven, the openness, tolerance and trust of Glasgow, the local and international connections of Utrecht, and the quality of governance of Copenhagen.

Key findings of the research include:

Leading cultural and creative cities: compared to other cities with a similar population, Paris, Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Eindhoven perform better than their counterparts;

Cultural, creativity and prosperity: culture and creativity contribute to higher economic growth rates, and are crucial for low-income cities;

Size is not everything: the size of a city does not determine its performance in culture and creativity, as on average small and medium-sized cities score relatively well compared to larger ones;

Capitals fly high but not highest: even if capitals are often in the lead, they are outperformed in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.

Since the adoption of the first European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World in 2007, culture has taken an increasingly prominent place in EU policymaking. However, mapping cultural and creative assets and measuring their value and impact in a systematic and comparable way across Europe remains a challenge, with no shared definitions or metrics, particularly at city level.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission developed the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor to fill this gap.

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Related subjects: JRC