Eurocities Statement: A more sustainable and inclusive culture starts in cities

Culture, heritage and architecture are at the heart of cities’ agendas.

Cities are working on achieving more sustainable and inclusive cultural policies and sustainable artistic initiatives can make a difference. “Every cultural initiative has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change,” says Dejan Crnek, Deputy Mayor in Ljubljana and Chair of the Eurocities Culture Forum. A great example is the Eurocities Lille Call to Action, a political commitment signed by 45 Mayors and “an important step to make sure that culture will become more sustainable and inclusive all over Europe” according to André Sobczak, Secretary General of Eurocities.

Cities are also leveraging cultural heritage policies and activities to tackle climate change, social inclusion, and economic competition. Florence, a centre of natural and culture heritage tackled a difficult challenging of managing tourist crowds -under the Cultural Heritage in Action EU funded initiative- by creating the FeelFlorence app that suggests unusual itineraries in the city centre bringing tourists closer to local experiences and avoiding over-tourism in central areas of the city.

To work towards sustainable architecture, cities share knowledge through Living Spaces, an EU funded initiative that highlights how architecture transforms cities. One of the 30 cities that was distinguished for its good practices was Helsinki with the Oodi library. The city created a space in the heart of the urban landscape that offers numerous activities serves as an ever-evolving platform for learning and personal growth for both residents of and visitors to Helsinki.

A crucial requirement in achieving all these goals is collaboration. Cities’ activities need to facilitate knowledge-sharing and empower regions across Europe to develop innovative cultural heritage policies and projects. Local leaders are committed to further working on initiatives to become more resource efficient, more resilient, more inclusive and to work with citizens to understand their needs and deliver innovative solutions to local challenges. These efforts will have even greater results with the support of the EU.

In the Eurocities recommendations –A more sustainable and inclusive culture starts in cities– cities call on European leaders to:

  • Support pilot programmes to develop innovative actions and enhance local efforts towards cultural policies and events that are greener and use less resources.
  • Prioritise mainstreaming cultural heritage across key policies with a special focus on green, social, and digital transformation to support cities in mitigating challenges like climate change.
  • Mobilise resources for cities to deliver on New European Bauhaus objectives to achieve sustainable urban architecture that will be inclusive and considerate of everyone’s needs.
  • Promote and support long-term peer learning-schemes to enhance cities’ collaborations for sustainable and inclusive cultural policies, for a sustainable built environment and quality urban design.
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Wilma Dragonetti Eurocities Writer
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