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Cities: Living Labs for Culture?

Author: Asia-Europe Foundation
Published Date: 5 October 2015

Cities of today are becoming vibrant spaces for experimentation, a process in which culture has come to occupy a central place. ‘Creative cities’ and ‘capitals of culture’ that have emerged across Asia and Europe attest to the growing importance of these dynamic new centres of arts and creativity. Cities are also emerging as epicentres for effective policymaking, as they are often able to act quickly and offer more integrated responses. As Charles Landry, the well-known authority on the use of imagination and creativity in urban change, argued in Enabling Crossovers: Good Practices in the Creative Industries (ASEF, 2014): “Cities are laboratories to tackle difficult solutions. They have the critical mass to scale up new technologies.” Therefore, it may be argued that cities in Asia and Europe are indeed evolving into living labs for culture.

It is in this context that the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) presents this publication, Cities: Living Labs for Culture? Case Studies from Asia and Europe. This compilation intends to serve as inspiration for networking and collaboration among cultural professionals as well as provide ‘food for thought’ to policymakers. The topics addressed and cases presented in this book will be discussed at the 8th ASEF Public Forum on Creative Cities in Asia and Europe (24 November 2015, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea).

The topic of creative cities is of particular relevance for the bi-regional dialogue between Asia and Europe, and is high on the cultural agenda of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), particularly in relation to the discussions around the creative economy. At the 6th AsiaEurope Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM CMM6), which took place in October 2014 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Ministers acknowledged that “(re) developing cities is one of the pressing questions” facing Asia and Europe. In the Chair’s Statement issued at the close of the Ministerial Meeting, the importance of inclusive governance and people-centred policies in “delivering enabling conditions for creativity to flourish” were particularly stressed upon. Another priority identified by Ministers was the need for “effective mechanisms for the co-creation of knowledge and exchange of best practices” on the topic of creative cities. This publication and the discussions at the 8th ASEF Public Forum hope to facilitate an exchange of ideas and experiences, while also identifying concrete areas for AsiaEurope co-operation.

This publication also explores the intersections of creative cities with the creative economy, high technology and heritage management. In this way, the issues and examples presented here also touch upon the agenda of the upcoming 7th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM CMM7), which will focus on culture and the creative economy.

Read it here: Cities - Living Labs for Culture? Case Studies from Asia and Europe