Culture and Creativity as a Lever for Cities Development – Part 1

Cultural performance in Shanghai, China

Cities Today

According to the UN: half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today. By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world. The world’s cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions. Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.

Cities in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

On September 2015, The UN General Assembly adopted the new Sustainable Development Agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. The agenda defines 17 Goals with specific targets to be achieved by 2030. Goal 11 is to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and more sustainable.”  In particular, Target 11.4 is dedicated to “Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard world cultural and natural heritage”

Culture and Creativity as a Lever for Development

“Culture: Urban Future”, UNESCO’s global report on culture for sustainable urban development, explores the role of culture as a lever for development.  It provides insights and concrete evidence of culture and creativity as key drivers of urban renewal and innovation; It also promotes cultural and creative industries as resources for sustainable urban development.  Part One of the report describes the situation, trends, threats, and existing opportunities in 8 regional contexts. Part Two focuses on a thematic approach for the role of culture in cities as following:

A thematic approach of culture for sustainable cities


The report also includes dossiers and maps. It offers recommendations rooted in culture to ensure that the cities of tomorrow are inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable. The report summary can be downloaded here:

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