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Id 136
Author Evans, G., ; Shaw , P.,
Title The contribution of culture to regeneration in the UK: a review of evidence

Evans, G., Shaw, P. (2004) The contribution of culture to regeneration in the UK: a review of evidence ‑ A report to the Department for Culture Media and Sport. London: Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Keywords Culture; Regeneration; Impact
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Abstract This review was commissioned by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to inform the preparation of a policy document on the contribution of cultural activity to regeneration It has been written primarily as a briefing for DCMS officials. Carried out over the summer 2003, responses and coverage of published and ‘in press’ information may not be as full as a longer research period would have allowed, however the review has been extensive within the culture and regeneration sphere. New reports and publications are emerging almost daily, in part due to the raised interest in and awareness of the subject, and these should be continually reviewed as policy formulation and implementation is undertaken. In addition to setting out its own objectives for culture and regeneration, DCMS is working to increase awareness within other Government departments of the potential contribution of cultural activity to their regeneration programmes. The indicators of regeneration most commonly referred to in this paper are those already widely used by Government in the context of neighbourhood renewal, social inclusion and community cohesion: reduced levels of crime, increased health and well-being, increased educational attainment, reduced unemployment, greater community cohesion, greater environmental quality and quality of life (or liveability).

Metodology The report has therefore been to undertake a review of published evidence and in particular to assess the value and validity of this evidence. This has been achieved within the time available, through a literature search via online and bibliographic sources, and a call to all English Regional Government Offices (RGOs) and cultural officers for reports and impact studies on the study theme. Some RGOs also contacted those responsible for arts and culture (e.g. festivals, heritage, cultural tourism) in their region, which produced some useful information and studies in progress. Evidence and case study material has been analysed by the main impact area and type - economic, environmental/physical and social; by the methodology used; and by the main art form/cultural activity concerned. Publications were divided between those which had a ‘scientific’ research base or methodology - whether empirical, using quantitative and/or qualitative surveys - and those which were illustrative and largely descriptive case studies. A small number of case studies have been selected as illustrations which provide evidence and good practice in culture’s engagement with the regeneration process. These include examples across a range of cultural activities, locations and arising impacts. The robustness of the research evidence and findings has been assessed in terms of both the author’s approach and conclusions, and the degree of peer review and strength of evidence. The latter includes the timescale and sample size of an impact study, as well as how far the study and conclusions might be transferable or generalisable in the context of other evidence in the field. Positive and negative evidence and critiques have been considered. The extent to which research and case study material indicates an example of good practice in the design and delivery of cultural projects and in impact evaluation and measurement, has been assessed on a case by case basis. Overall, where particular trends in evaluation and outcomes are evident, these have been used to make suggestions as to which of these are the most important in ensuring successful culture-led regeneration projects. They have not however undertaken any primary research or site visits, and our analysis is based entirely on the evidence available.

Findings This review has identified three models through which cultural activity is incorporated (or incorporates itself) into the regeneration process. These are: culture-led regeneration, cultural regeneration and culture and regeneration. Studies that look beyond the project itself traditionally use one (and seldom more than one) of the following fields of impact, which are generally tested using particular measurements: • Environmental (physical) – Land values and occupancy (versus vacant premises/voids), design quality, environmental/quality of life, e.g. air/water pollution, noise, liveability, open space, diversity, sustainable development • Economic – Multipliers (jobs, income/expenditure – direct, indirect, induced), cost benefit analysis, contingent valuation (i.e. willingness to pay for ‘free’ activities such as parks, museums, libraries), inward investment and leverage, distributive effects • Social – Cohesion, inclusion, capacity, health and well-being, identity The authors make an evidence-based case studies of culture’s contribution to regeneration with a summary of case studies by role and type of impact. They recognize that the impact of an activity is determined not only by the role that culture is playing in a regeneration project, but also by the way in which that role is planned for and implemented. The research reviewed suggests a small number of recurrent factors that appear to be essential in optimising the contribution of culture to the regeneration process. These are: • The participation of a ‘champion’ of culture in regeneration (this may be an individual such as a ‘social entrepreneur’, activist, or a group, e.g. of artists) • Integration of culture at the strategic planning stage of a project • Establishment of a multi-disciplinary project team • Provision for formative evaluation from the planning stage • The flexibility to change course if necessary • Consideration for environmental quality and accessibility – design of facilities and public realm, and integration with services (e.g. transport) • Genuine consultation with residents, businesses and other stakeholders • Continued involvement and ‘ownership’ of all stakeholders in the project (management, governance, delivery and evaluation) and acknowledgement of their contribution
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