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Driving shared urban prosperity through cultural lens - WUF10 (8-13 February 2020, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
9 Feb 2020 -  Driving shared prosperity requires a clear city vision that combines creativity, realism, and inspiration. A vision that builds upon the specific identity, comparative advantage, geographic endowments and historical and cultural dimensions of the city and its region. A vision that translates into concrete, clearly consensual policies, programmes, and public actions, and results from strong social and political commitments, with well-defined budgeted and limited action plans.   

Culture is becoming one of the key levers of shared prosperity and success in more and more cities.   

These cities are integrating cultural values, social capital, tradition, knowledge, and art as transformative tools to preserve regional and local values, protect the heritage, enhance the built environment and safeguard intangible assets.   

Enriched by culture, space does not only constitute a simple geographic reference but is a resource on its own; a real vector of change. Resourcefully combined, culture and space can redefine the production of creative goods and services, the notion of place, the importance of history, and the intrinsic value of the local and unique.

They can reveal the city’s soul through an enhancement of the social fabric, the collective values, the creative and intellectual assets, the protection of local communities, which all together contribute to create vibrancy, a distinct personality and the possibility of shared prosperity.  

The preservation of cultural heritage plays an important role in creating and enhancing social capital, with the ability to inspire and promoting citizen's participation in public life, improving the well-being of individuals and communities, contributing to the reduction of social inequalities, and facilitating social inclusion. 

Cities that establish a creative connection between cultural heritage, tourism and a renewed understanding of the ‘soul of the place’, which is often translated into heterogenous, multifunctional and diverse locations; ultimately driving shared prosperity.

Cities that do not only improve the physical environment, but also the non-physical elements of urban space through creative means that advance the quality of place concept, promoting ‘cultural infrastructure’ and ‘culture’ inclusion, and economic opportunities.


This session will explore the role of culture in driving city growth and development. It will demonstrate with theoretical and practical examples how culture, space, innovation and the involvement of communities can recreate memories, reinvent the notion of identity and belonging, and redefine and reinforce the ‘soul’ of the city to spur local growth, job creation, and development. 

The session will analyze how cities are placing culture at the heart of regeneration and urban renewal by:
Providing a wealth of insights and concrete evidence showing the power of culture as a driver of sustainable urban development.
Showing the connection between long-term city plans and visions with social, cultural, economic and spatial strategies to nurture the soul of the city for positive change.
Discussing the role of culture as an important driver for positive urban change, job generation and social inclusion in urban milieus.  
Exchanging practices that allow achieving inclusive cities and neighborhoods through culture, dealing with urban renewal and heritage preservation.  
Exploring how culture lies at the heart of urban renewal, creativity, and innovation. 

Guiding Questions:

What makes cities successful in maximizing the positive contribution of culture as a driver of growth and development?
What are innovative methods and solutions for culture to be a critical factor of shared prosperity? 
How can cities use local cultural resources and creativity to inspire, catalyze, and drive social and economic change? 
What is the role of communities and local identity in promoting city and neighbourhood prosperity through culture and creativity? 
How is possible to invest in cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue to support participatory planning and design? 
Which examples can be provided in which culture appears as a key factor contributing to the successful inclusion and integration of poor communities and migrants?