Culture in the hands of the people as a strategic element in the development of the city

Abstract: Culture in the hands of the people as a strategic element in the development of the city

Thought-out cultural policy is an essential component of a city that wants to grow. The city is not able to achieve real success without culture. Cities with developed and implemented cultural strategy not only build their prestige, uniqueness and tourism attractiveness (first connotation is about New York, Paris or Rome and largely relate to their cultural offer), but also shape the quality of life, its economic development and innovativeness.

Residents of the city are its largest development capital, but their role in the cultural policy cannot be limited only to the consumption. They should get to the hand the tools that will enable them to shape and influence the production of real goods and ways to use them. Necessary is effective strategy for communication and cooperation between municipal decision-makers, local communities, NGOs, activists and municipal cultural institutions.

In a world of constant changes and development of real estate of towns, which limits largely opportunities and physical space for the development of culture and work of artists, city officials must ask themselves the question of how to attract new investors, at the same time retaining and developing the unique cultural fabric of a place they manage. How to keep current and attract new artists (bound for places where they have better opportunities for development). Artists are natural magnets for local communities and foster the creative energy of the place, build blocks of social engagement and business opportunities around them. Another problem is how, at the same time, to avoid a gentrification “SoHo effect”.

In Poland, there is no tradition of philanthropy and no beneficial tax deductions in culture. The business comes to culture usually only with one-off projects. The world of culture is seen as an unattainable business partner, which is not able to offer any tangible benefits. In the Polish model of public financing of culture, prerequisite for cultural activity of its residents is the role of urban rulers in the consolidation and in the creation of space for the creative, educational and non-governmental business communities and cultural policy of the city based on the transparency, communication, openness and inclusion, rather than exclusion.