Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation


As urban challenges become more complex with rapidly changing economic, social, political and technological and demographic contexts, advancing cross-sector partnerships and collaborative solutions is an important objective for WUF10. Promoting global and regional partnerships, through the exchange of knowledge, will permit to advance a sustainable development agenda based on culture, creativity, and innovation.

Urban culture comprises material - physical infrastructure, streets, palaces, places of worship, opera houses, museums, places of entertainment, marketplaces; and nonmaterial beliefs and lifestyles, of urban residents.1 The consideration of urban cultures in sustainable urbanization can serve as a strategic tool for city promotion and development and are increasingly becoming an essential component in urban economic development and regeneration. The idea of using culture as a motor of economic growth in part reflects the transition from manufacturing cities to sites of more flexible, design-, knowledge-, and service-based activities.


This is evidenced by the growth of services sectors and the development of knowledge-based economies and creative industries in the framework of the so-called fourth industrial revolution.

Many city authorities all over the world are using culture-related activities to market themselves internationally, to promote civic identity, sense of place, and to boost economic growth and generate employment. Current trends in many parts of the world suggest that culture will play an increasingly important role in the competitiveness and identify of cities and nations. Of significance among these trends are the culturally-driven redevelopment of inner-city areas; preservation of historic buildings as well as reviving of traditional crafts for enhancing the global tourism of cities; including the gentrification of inner-city residential areas. All these have the potential to contribute immensely to the wellbeing of cities.