MDB Insight Blog


The Best of 2019 Cultural Development

It’s clear that economic development is not just about having many successful businesses in your community. Businesses are essential, but when EDOs take an integrated approach that attracts and retains citizens, and also creates cultural capital and brand awareness, they have an even stronger positive effect on community success.

A Summary of 2019 Cultural Development

Cultural development is essential for a thriving community. A strong cultural program leverages unique community assets to support the economy by attracting tourists and supporting local talent. 

Why Cultural Development Is Important to Your Community 

Cultural development attracts tourists and fosters new artistic and creative industries in your community. It’s important to support cultural events as they give citizens activities to participate in, something to be proud of, and a sense of community connection. A cultural development strategy (or cultural considerations within an economic development strategy) needs:

  • Cultural events that are accessible, attractive and sustainable.
  • Coordination of events, connection opportunities for organizers and visitors, and community collaboration.
  • Cultural planning, cultural mapping, and strategies for creative and cultural industries.

Rural Placemaking for Cultural Development and Economic Growth 

image7-1Placemaking is an important part of cultural and economic development. Placemaking is identifying your cultural assets, and promoting them to highlight your region as a unique cultural hub. 

To develop a placemaking plan you need to identify the cultural assets and features of your region, test out ideas to find out which will be the most successful, and develop a strategic plan that builds community connections and attracts creators and tourists.

Bellevue Gains an Edge with Its Creative Economy

Bellevue, Washington, invested in a cultural mapping exercise to better understand what creative economies they had, and how they could better support them. MDB Insight’s data helped them understand their community better, and implement a solid strategy to support economic growth in creative sectors. 

With cultural mapping complete, Bellevue discovered that employment in the creative industries was increasing and growth in creative occupations was way higher than in other sectors. They also discovered a few simple things they could improve to offer even better support for creative industries.

Cultural Development may have to battle with a number of other priorities in municipal government, but its value can’t be disputed. Strong cultural programming and cultural assets support well-rounded economic development, and strong community growth.

Learn How You Can Embrace Strategic Cultural Planning for Economic Growth

Ensure Your Next BR+E Initiative Strengthens Your Local Economy Infographic

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