Global cities build bridges through culture at international summit

05 October 2016

Eminent cultural leaders from 25 world cities, including London, will join forces in Moscow this week to find creative ways to tackle urgent issues threatening the future of global cities.

With the theme of “Creating the Future”, the critical importance of culture in making major cities more liveable, workable and enjoyable will be at the top of the agenda for this year's World Cities Culture Summit from 5-7 October.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Justine Simons, who is chair of the World Cities Culture Forum, will tell the international congregation that the need to shape the future of cities is an urgent task for cultural leaders and, in order to build a bold and inclusive vision, culture must be the ‘golden thread’ flowing through all aspects of urban policy. She will also assert the need for cultural experts and policy makers to be effective advocates and creative thinkers, who are comfortable working in tandem with businesses, politicians, transport, education, planning, property and environmental experts to ensure culture is hardwired into all policy areas.

It is now accepted that to be a successful global city, culture has to play a big part - its economic value is increasingly recognised, as well as the quality of life and social benefits it brings to people living and working in them.  From the billions it generates through tourism, the creative industries, to the artists, performance venues and other cultural spaces helping to regenerate our cities, there is little doubt of culture's significance.

In London, Sadiq Khan is the first Mayor to make culture a top priority in his administration, an unprecedented move which highlights the importance of culture in world cities. Initiatives such as Creative Enterprise Zones and the forthcoming Cultural Infrastructure Plan will ensure that urban planning places culture at the heart of decision making. The planned London Borough of Culture competition will also shine a spotlight on the rich cultural offer in London's boroughs.

Since its inception in 2012, the World Cities Culture Summit has been a hotbed of collaboration, with cities from every corner of the globe sharing best practice and finding ways to open culture to everyone. Cities taking part this year include Amsterdam, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw. These cities are defined as world cities because of their scale, dynamism and diversity, which create fertile conditions for innovation and radical thinking in economic, social and cultural policy.

Cities will share and debate a variety of topics, including how to grow the night time economy, create new water front developments, entice more cultural tourists, and offer incentives to retain and attract artists in their cities.  A new partnership between the World Cities Culture Forum and the C40 - the equivalent network on climate change - will also explore the bridge between culture and climate change.

For the first time, there will be an open debate, inviting members of the public to question what the future holds for culture in world cities.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture & Creative Industries and Chair of the World Culture Cities Forum, Justine Simons, said: “Culture is in the DNA of most major world cities and, as policymakers, it’s our job to look at ways that it can be hardwired into the system – planning for culture in the same way that cities plan for transport, for infrastructure, for housing and for energy.

“The World Cities Culture Forum is an amazing opportunity to bring the world’s most influential cultural leaders together, to learn from each other and to share ideas so that culture can flourish around the globe.”


Notes to editors

The World Cities Culture Forum

The World Cities Culture Forum is an initiative of the Mayor of London, organised and coordinated by BOP Consulting ( The World Cities Culture Forum is a leading collaborative network of world cities that share a belief in the importance of culture for creating thriving cities. It encompasses 33 cities – Amsterdam, Austin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw. For more information about the forum and the summit, go to can also contact Jessica Roscoe or Sarah Dolly at the London Mayor's office on +44 20 7983 4070, or by emailing [email protected]

Defined as world cities because of their scale, dynamism and diversity, which create fertile conditions for innovation and radical thinking in economic, social and cultural policy, those attending the summit want to highlight the benefits that culture brings to cities – which is where most of the world's population lives - not just in terms of quality of life, but socially and economically.