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Culture and climate change handbook for city leaders

How can cities integrate environmental sustainability into cultural policymaking? Our new Handbook for City Leaders, highlights the role of culture in addressing the most important global challenge of the twenty-first century.

As cities become increasingly important actors in global efforts to address climate change and environmental degradation, we see an untapped role for culture and the creative industries.


This week our World Cities Culture Forum - a network of the cultural affairs departments and cultural leaders from 35+ cities around the world- published Culture and Climate Change, the latest handbook in the forum’s Policy and Practice series. 


A handbook for city leaders, this publication provides the first global survey of how world cities are integrating their creativity and climate agendas.


Produced in partnership with the C40 Climate Leadership Group and cultural sustainability consultancy, Julie’s Bicycle, the report provides a framework for city leaders to examine how culture can help advance their environmental and resilience agendas; getting their message to new audiences, increasing public engagement, and driving behaviour change.


Notable initiatives profiled in the report include:


  • The City of Edinburgh’s Green Venue Guide, a partnership between Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh to reduce the environmental impact of the city’s festival and events economy

  • Ecoprod, an initiative in Paris to help the capital’s TV and film sector calculate and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions

  • Amsterdam’s Cultural Venue Sustainability Action Plan, offering arts spaces across the city complimentary energy audits to monitor current use and advise on sustainability measures, in an effort to achieve a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020

  • CURRENT:LA Water, part of Los Angeles’ inaugural Public Art Biennial, bringing 15 site-specification installations throughout the city to increase residents’ understanding of and engagement with the city’s water issues

  • Refuge, a new initiative as part of the City of Melbourne’s resilience strategy to explore the role of cultural centres and artists in preparing for the impacts of climate related disasters


The World Cities Culture Forum is currently working on a new support and leadership exchange programme on this topic to help its member cities scale up their work linking culture and environmental sustainability. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Matthieu Prin at matthieu@bop.co.uk.


The full handbook can be downloaded below.


An article our Managing Director, Paul Owens wrote for National Geographic on this report can be found here.

Culture and Climate Change

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Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

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Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

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Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

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The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

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By BOP Consulting

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

Paul is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy. 

Paul Owens - Founder and Director | BOP Consulting

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Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director