Measuring the Cultural Footprint of the Cities of Europe

The European Commission in its effort to provide a solid comparison and documentation tool so that European cities can exploit culture with aim to achieve economic growth, social cohesion and social well-being created the European Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor (Index).

In this way, European cities and local governments in general can understand and distribute their necessary resources better and depending on what they want to achieve in the effort to spotlight their cities.

This indicator achieves a systematic recording of the data of cultural, creative and physical capital equally in a common and completely comparable way across the European continent.

by Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis

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Eifel Tower, Paris-France
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The selection criteria to include a city in this Monitor

To include a city in this composite index-Monitor it must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. To have participated both in the past and in the present and until 2019 in the institution of the Cultural Capital of Europe or to have participate in this institution until 2023.
  2. To be part of the UNESCO creative cities network.
  3. To have regularly hosted at least two international cultural festivals until 2018.

In total, the European cities included in the above index-Monitor reach the number of 190. Essentially, this index (digital platform) was created to measure the cultural, social and economic life of Europe’s cities with the use of quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data are introduced in 29 sub-indices corresponding to nine sub-categories which belong to three main categories. More specifically:

The main categories of the Monitor (Index) and their respective nine sub-categories:

1. Creative Economy

a. Creative & Knowledge-based jobs

b. Intellectual Property & Innovation

c. New Jobs in Creative Sectors

2. Enabling Environment

a. Human Capital & Education

b. Openness, Tolerance & Trust

c. Local & International Connections

d. Quality of Governance

3. Cultural Vibrancy

a. Cultural Venues & Facilities

b. Cultural Participation & Attractiveness

The category of Cultural Vibrancy measures the existence of cultural infrastructures and participation in culture. It includes sights, museums, cinemas, theatres, concert venues etc. In addition, is included the demand that these cultural infrastructures cause to the inhabitants of the city and the whole of the European and global public equally (tourism, traffic etc.).

The category of Creative Economy includes all areas of culture and creation that contribute to the city’s economy and development through employment, job creation and innovation. For example, all jobs are based on knowledge and creation such as publications, media, theatrical productions etc.

The category of Enabling Environment includes human capital, education and material capital which makes it a city of attraction for creative talents for their participation in cultural events.

City ratings are defined as a weighted average of the sub-marker scores of the Cultural Vibrancy (40%), Creative Economy (40%) and Enabling Environment (20%).

Acropolis and Parthenon-Athens (Greece)

The EU’s objectives with the creation of this Monitor (Index)

By creating this indicator, the EU aims to make more and more efforts, through culture, education and innovation in order to shape cohesive societies. The aim of the European Union is to create a very attractive framework where can be achieved the sustainability of cultural heritage, the support for the artists and to the cultural professionals and of creation respectively.

It has been observed over time and mainly through the institution of the European Capital of Culture that cities interested in sustainable development pay attention to the optimum utilization of local cultural resources and promote creative efforts.

The digitization and the development of reliable cultural statistics, achieved by this indicator, is considered a key pillar of policy making at both local, member-country and pan-European level respectively.

What does the European Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor serve?

Its main usefulness is as a tool for recording the data of cultural and creative capital and for measuring the value and cultural impact of cities in a systematic way across Europe. It can be used to promote and exchange right practices on cultural heritage and creativity.

One city could use its index data to compare them by category with the data of other cities and use them to improve the image and the strategy of its City Branding to the general public.

On the other hand, a city will be able to use the data to draw up a ten-year strategy based on the cultural and creative economy, achieving it through a series of investment policies (both by the local government and the private sector) in the fields of arts and culture.

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