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Talking Tactics in Cultural Development with Jason Dias, Senior Consultant and MDB Insight’s Cultural Development Lead

MDB Insight has a top-notch cultural development team that includes thought leaders like Jason Dias, an award-winning specialist in cultural planning and economic development. Here’s what Jason has to say to municipalities about winning tactics for developing effective cultural development strategies.

  1. Why do we need a cultural developmentJason 2018 plan specific to our community?

    No two cultural plans can be the same; to be effective, every plan must respond to unique local issues and conditions on the ground. However, a series of ‘macro’ issues or themes can be identified that impact cultural planning and development efforts globally. In combination, these provide a valuable roadmap for a community to thrive and prosper.

  2. What tips can you offer for important things to keep in mind when developing a cultural plan?

    With cultural tourism being one of the fastest growing segments of a global tourism industry, a focus on strategies in this sector is legitimate and important. Remember, however, to balance the development of cultural attractions and major festivals as magnets for tourism, retail and associated services. Cultural plans must also stimulate the production side of cultural development, including a focus on a wide range of activities from fashion, music, media and publishing to digital technology services, design and crafts - collectively what are referred to as the creative cultural industries. Support for development in this sector generates higher paying and more sustainable employment than many of the often seasonal, entry-level jobs associated with tourism and retail.

  3. Why do you recommend that rural communities make efforts to attract a cultural sector workforce?

    Artists and other creative workers offer migration and regeneration of remote areas, growth in smallcultural development 2 business, boosts to property values, neighborhood engagement, civic vitality, and youth development. Conversely, rural communities offer artists affordability and low-cost housing, community development agencies and venture capital, existing high-quality arts and cultural assets, proximity to markets, and diverse types of spaces.

  4. Any advice for municipal leaders considering cultural development projects?

    Communities are important enablers in developing the creative economy. Success requires integrated approaches that engage all departments and planning teams across local government as well as the community. Collaboration is key, and we recommend that leadership groups sustain communication and collaboration efforts to the greatest extent possible. For regional efforts, this applies across participating municipalities and their cultural, business and community partners.


Jason studied Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University and was Dr. Greg Baeker’s (Canadian Cultural Planning Pioneer and Author of Rediscovering the Wealth of Places: A Municipal Cultural Planning Handbook for Canadian Communities and the Ontario Municipal Cultural Planning Toolkit) understudy for 5 years. Jason and Greg have coauthored a series of best practice case studies in cultural development across North America.

[To connect with Jason Dias about cultural development in your community we invite you to reach out by phone or email: 1-855-367-3535 ext. 229 or]

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