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Cultural Cities Enquiry

Enriching UK cities through smart investment in culture.

The purpose of this report is to consider how we can radically increase the ability of our cities to use culture to drive inclusive growth.

Culture adds value to places. The central argument around place made by the recently published Cultural Cities Enquiry (CCE) is summed up by Alison Nimmo of the Crown Estate: 


“Cultural and creative uses generate property value in cities but there is greater potential to do more to capture the benefits for the sector and communities.”


Cultural activity (i.e. arts and heritage) in an area spurs the local growth of creative and digital industries. With this powerful capacity to catalyse economic development, publicly-owned cultural properties can be strategic assets for cities in driving regeneration. But regeneration can also lead to displacement of culture workers and cultural assets.


The Cultural Cities Enquiry makes a series of recommendations intended to help ensure that cities unlock the place-based benefits of culture, while avoiding culture becoming a displaced victim of the successes that it brings:


  • City Compacts should support the establishment of portfolio approaches to cultural property assets, where local conditions present a sound business case for doing so. These asset portfolios should maintain civic, community or cultural sector ownership of property to enable returns to be recycled

  • Governments should support the more widespread establishment of portfolio approaches by providing a toolkit to support Compacts in assessing viability of options, bringing together public bodies and other agencies with an active interest in this field, including Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust, Arts Councils, Local Government Association, as well as Architectural Heritage Foundation

  • Governments should also support cities by funding viability studies to establish more entrepreneurial approaches to the management of property assets for cultural purposes

  • Compacts should also ensure that cultural activity is prioritised within city spatial plans, and that planning policy, licensing and business rates are in alignment to help enhance the cultural estate.


BOP was a member of the CCE’s working group, as well as acting as key research partner.


This is the final of a series of blogs related to findings of the CCE report. Our other blogs looked at the themes of leadership, talent, and investment.

Places transformed by culture

Cultural Cities Enquiry highlights difference culture makes to places

Mar 22, 2019

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

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

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

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’

Paul Owens

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

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

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By BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

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Jonathan Todd

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist