The Place and the British Library

Why does London need cultural infrastructure?

When we talk about ‘cultural infrastructure’ we mean the buildings, structures and spaces where culture is:

Consumed: Places where culture is experienced, participated in, showcased, exhibited or sold.  For example, museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, libraries, record stores and historic cultural sites.

Produced: Places of creative production, where creative work is made, usually by artists, performers, makers, manufacturers or digital processes. For example creative workspaces, performing arts rehearsal spaces, music recording studios, film and television studios and industrial and light industrial units used by creative and cultural businesses. 

The provision of these buildings in our city provides an array of benefits which are vital to our prosperity. They provide premises and places for business and employment, visitor destinations for tourism and places where Londoners can experience culture. To keep up with this we need to retain and develop enough cultural infrastructure to support it.

Creative industry supply chains new report

New research has revealed that London’s creative industry supply chains spend £40bn per year.

About half of this supply chain spending is in other sectors, with education, architectural and engineering, computing, employment and financial services among those benefiting from the success of the creative industries.  

It also found that every job in London’s creative industries supports an additional 0.75 of a job in the wider economy.

Download the report to find out more. 




Value to the UK economy and employment

The creative industries are worth £91.8bn to the UK economy - more than the automotive, life sciences, aerospace and oil and gas industries combined.

Our culture and creative industries generate £47bn each year and grew by nearly 40 per cent between 2009- 2014 compared to 30 per cent across the rest of the economy. One in six jobs in London are in the creative economy.

Download research about value of the creative industries and the creative economy in London . You can also download research about London’s economy at Night.

Impact to a wider supply chain outside of the creative industries

Cultural spaces also support a vast supply chain which is not from the creative industries by sourcing goods, skills and services from other industries. In addition to the jobs created directly in the creative industries, London’s Cultural Infrastructure supports a total of 203,250 jobs along the various supply chains. For every full-time equivalent job in the creative industries, there is a further 0.75 full time equivalent job is created within the supply chain supporting this direct activity.

Supporting local culture and identity

Local Cultural Infrastructure is important for communities and creating places that people want to live. Greater social integration involves us creating an environment where more Londoners can make new connections, break down the barriers of social class and economic inequality and bring those of different ages and backgrounds together in shared experiences to enable communities to flourish. 

This is why London’s definition of Cultural Infrastructure reflects the variety of premises and places which reflect the interests and needs of our population. Venues like libraries, theatres, arts centres alongside structures like skateparks, enabling people to experience and participate in culture on their doorstep. They often play a multitude of functions beyond what might be understood as typically ‘cultural’, from enabling communities to meet and socialise, which increases wellbeing and reduces isolation, to offering opportunities for skills and training. 


London welcomed 31.9 million visitors in 2017. Top visitor attractions included heritage buildings, theatre, music, galleries and museums. Cultural Tourism is important to London’s economy as cultural tourists spend £7.3 billion a year, supporting 80,000 jobs in the capital.

Most of London’s top attractions are located in Zone 1. There is a strong appetite for both first time and repeat visitors to disperse across London. Nearly three-quarters of visitors venture outside of the centre, with 3 in 10 citing local attractions, landmarks or historical sites as a draw.

You can view more information about cultural tourism at the Mayor’s official Tourism Promotion Agency, London and Partners.

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