The value of cultural wellbeing

Inclusive economic development is about ensuring that nobody is left behind. And that an area develops in a sustainable way that fosters its social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing.

The importance of cultural wellbeing is often one that is neglected. Not only is culture important for giving people a sense of identity and inclusion, but culture can also play a more direct role in local development.

Cultural and creative sectors increase the attractiveness of places as destinations to live, work, visit and do business. Smartly managed, culture-rich urban design can also breathe new life into tired neighbourhoods.

Embracing culture and creativity can also have dividends for regional innovation and productivity. These gains can stem from gaining a better understanding of audiences and customers, through to better product design, and new business models.

Many regions have already begun to discover the value of embracing culture, as part of inclusive economic development. For example, culture is fundamental to Tairāwhiti’s recently released Economic Action Plan, with a strategic focus area being “celebrating and capitalising on our cultural distinctiveness”.

For those of you pondering the role of culture in economic development in your local area, here is a great video from the OECD. The video outlines cultural policies that can lift an economy, create jobs, and promote wellbeing and social cohesion, ahead of the first ever OECD Conference on Culture and Local Development in Venice, Italy.

Culture for local development