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Paul Owens on cultural data and the role of culture in making cities more sustainable and fair places

Culture and the future of cities Cities are facing profound challenges – from the climate crisis to equality. The shape of successful cities of the future must be sustainable and fair, and culture has a role to play in defining this success. But how do you effectively measure success in the cultural space?

The BOP500 Cultural City Data Explorer gives you access to real-time data that gives insight into your city’s strengths and opportunities. All the data sets to help your stakeholders with crucial insights to make better decisions about the future of culture

  • Collaborate across departments and sectors to address the complex challenges we face. Culture can support this, with creative thinking and practice, to drive innovative solutions.

  • Engage young people to support the future citizens of your city. Cultural programmes designed for and with young people develop skills and embed a shared set of community values.

  • Revive relationships to make the public true stakeholders in our cities. Renewed relationships between Government, the city and people are crucial to thriving cities. Culture can help people identify with, and feel included in, their city.

  • Rethink the city to adapt to future urban needs. Cultural infrastructure can anchor neighbourhoods, build social cohesion, and provide cultural services and access locally.

  • Embed environmental action to ensure social and economic equity. The culture sector must reduce its environmental footprint and has a key role in inspiring behaviour change.

Explore the report here.

As well as the WCCR 2022, BOP’s work for the Forum included a significant programme of research to understand and measure the impact and importance of culture and creativity in cities. From global summits to policy research, regional initiatives and leadership exchange, BOP is committed to building a diverse approach to cities, focused on making cities more sustainable, liveable and fair. Key research reports from this work are listed below.

A call to action for mission-based urban policy, supported by culture.

In the meantime, watch this video in which Paul Owens, co-founder and director of BOP Consulting, talks about the role of cultural data in the future of cities

WCCF Reports

WCCF Programme teaser overview text here. 

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

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World Cities Culture Report 2022

World Cities Culture Report 2022

World Cities Culture Report provides a global view on the state of culture in our cities. It gives insights on the major challenges facing world cities and a vision for the future. It is a unique research output produced with input and insights from 41 partner cities across six continents, 12 global experts, 40 city leaders, four roundtables, and 40 data sets over two years.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

World Cities Culture Forum – Culture Counts 2021

Culture Counts: New Approaches to Evidence Based Cultural Policymaking in World Cities

This Case Guide is co-produced with the participating cities of WCCF. All of the city examples in this document are presented as ‘use cases’ of cultural data in which we highlight relevant questions and outcomes, and direct readers to further readings.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Culture and Sustainability Green cities Report Prepared for WCCF

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability – Special Report Prepared for WCCF Global Conversation

The report published by the World Cities Culture Forum looks at how major cities around the world are responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Arts and Culture Capital, World Cities Culture Forum

World Cities Culture Report 2018

This is the most comprehensive report ever published about culture and the role it plays in shaping life in major cities worldwide. The report is based on extensive data and practice research to reveal how 35 major global cities are in the vanguard of policymaking.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

World Cities Culture Forum Report

WCCF Culture and Climate Change Report

The World Cities Culture Forum and Julie’s Bicycle worked with 14 of the network’s world cities, who provided inspiring case studies of how city leaders are putting climate and the environment at the centre of their cultural ambitions.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

World Cities Culture Forum - Culture and climate change

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.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Arts and Culture Capital, World Cities Culture Forum

Making Space for Culture – A Handbook for City Leaders

Our new ‘Making Space for Culture’ handbook for City Leaders explores how world cities across the globe are answering this question, from San Francisco to Shenzhen.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Mapping culture spending in World Cities Culture Finance Report

World Cities Culture Finance Report

Our World Cities Culture Finance Report, is the first global comparative study to examine how much is spent on culture in world cities, by whom, and where the money goes.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

World Cities Culture Report

World Cities Culture Report 2015

The 2015 edition of the World Cities Culture Report is the most comprehensive report to date. Dedicated to the part culture will play in the life of world cities in years to come, the Forum now boasts a network of over 30 cities. Together they tackle the issues that will determine sustainable urban development: How can culture solve some of the biggest challenges of our urban environments? How do cities understand culture’s role in the way their citizens live, work and play? What will be the link between culture and urban citizenship?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

World Cities Culture Report 2014

World Cities Culture Report 2014

This report examines the cultural offer of 24 of the world’s greatest cities. It gathers evidence on 60 cultural indicators, assessing both the supply of and demand for culture, and reports on the thinking of cultural policymakers in those places.

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)


WCCF Reports

We have a particular interest in cities and have pioneered innovative approaches to understanding and nurturing creative eco-systems in cities around the world using wide ranging research and data to guide our thinking. Browse some of our recent reports to get a flavour of our work.

As part of our social responsibility, BOP supports these organisations:

  • Accumulate  Helping young, homeless people in London to build their skills, develop their wellbeing and improve their lives through creativity

  • Achates Philanthropy Prize Seeking to widen and deepen private support for arts and culture

  • Full Fact  Checking facts and fighting bad information because we all deserve information we can trust 

  • Hope not Hate  Striving to expose and oppose extremism

  • Julie’s Bicycle Mobilising the arts and culture to take action on the climate emergency

  • The Equality Trust Working to improve the quality of life by dismantling structural inequalities

We also

  • Work with the Social Mobility Foundation to host two pupils through their Aspiring Professionals Programme every year 

  • support our team with monthly contributions to enable them to enjoy their chosen cultural interests 

  • participate in a carbon offset programme to counterbalance the environmental impacts of our company activities.

Values and Responsibility

BOP consulting

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