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Improving Places, Culture and Business Improvement Districts: Thriving Partnerships

Posted on 08/11/2017

Improving Places highlights how partnerships between Culture and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have a major positive effect on the places in which we live, work and play. The report, jointly commissioned by Arts Council England (ACE) and the Mayor of London, with research by King’s College London, has been launched at City Hall, hosted by Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director, Culture and Creative Industries, in front of an audience of more than 100 people from cultural organisations, local government authorities, and business improvement districts, amongst others.

Using case studies and snapshots from across England and the US, Improving Places identifies best practice for improvement across eight areas from increasing footfall to enhancing the public realm or night-time economy, to place-making and the development of tourism. In each case, the evidence demonstrates that it is the partnership between cultural organisation and the local BID which is the key to effective transformation. Concluding with a series of recommendations - not just for cultural organisations and BIDs but also for national, city and local government – the report offers a snapshot of many creative business solutions to the challenges of our urban environments in the 21st century.

At the launch, Shonagh Manson emphasised how the case studies within Improving Places demonstrate the great potential for cultural organisations to collaborate with BIDs to create better places. She also noted that 'cities need a soul' and that culture is key to this. London's Night Czar Amy Lamé spoke of BIDs role in supporting culture in the night time economy, citing how London's Vauxhall One bid had played a significant role in developing a cultural programme in the area after dark. Paul Bristow, Director, Strategic Partnerships at Arts Council England (ACE) closed by highlighting the need to share best practice across the country when it comes to such collaborations. With a recent ACE report demonstrating the real economic value of culture, it is hoped that BIDs enthusiasm for working with cultural organisations will only grow. 

Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (London) said of the Improving Places project: 'this kind of collaboration is an example of how King's seeks to serve society - locally, nationally and globally - and it's been a privilege working alongside Arts Council England and the Mayor of London'.

The project report will be the subject of the London Culture Forum’s meeting this month, enabling further discussion on how BIDs are putting culture at the heart of their plans for improving town centres. Guest speakers include Amy Lamé, Night Czar for the Mayor of London, Lorraine Cox from ACE and Sherry Dobbin from the Times Square BID in the USA, providing the opportunity to hear about BIDS in a local, national and international context.

A full copy of the report, researched by Jenny Peevers, can be downloaded here.

 

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