Cultural Quarters: Necessary Conditions and Success Factors checklist

Continuing our understanding of natural cultural districts, here’s Urban Cultures’ (profiled previously) Necessary Conditions and Success Factors checklist for what makes a vibrant cultural quarter:

– Extent and variety of cultural venues
– Presence of an evening economy, including café culture
– Strength of small-firm economy, including creative businesses
– Access to universities and education providers
– Presence of festivals and events
– Availability of workspaces for artists and low-cost cultural producers
– Small-firm economic development in the cultural sectors
– Managed workspaces for office and studio users
– Location of arts development agencies and companies
– Arts and media training and education
– Complementary day-time and evening uses

Built Form
– Fine grain urban morphology
– Variety and adaptability of building stock
– Permeability of streetscape (as opposed to large blocks that limit change of direction)
– Legibility (effective lighting and signage to orient the pedestrian)
– Amount and quality of public space
– Active street frontages
– People attractors (ongoing events and places to host them)

– Important meeting and gathering spaces
– Sense of history and progress
– Area identity and imagery (do you know where in the world you are?)
– Knowledgeability (inspired, creative discussions)
– Environmental signifiers (strong presence of nature)

Image: South Bank, London

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