In a time when people want cities to be more than just living space, and instead be a place for sustainable and cultural living. Today, a growing interest in city planning and development is emerging. This interest has brought forward a new view on the cities’ purposes and ways of functioning. People want the cities to be more than just living space, and they have a strong interest in turning cities into places of sustainable and cultural living. They want cities that are “cultural havens” more than a mere place for just habitation. A good way to develop and renew the cities in regards to these wishes, is through cultural planning. The notion of Cultural Planning has been around for more than 20 years, and the concept has become well known among many city planners. The idea is not just to create culture by creating space where people can display art, or other cultural events. It is to involve local people in the planning process of how they want their cities. This can be done by talking to people in the city or area where cultural planning is to be initiated. This creates collaboration between citizens and communities regarding the cultural environment in an area.
This cooperation encompasses a large variety of socio-eco-cultural cooperation’s such as urban arts interventions, collaborative community projects and networks, urban social innovation stratagies and so much more. Central for all of it is the interaction citizen-to-citizen and citizen-to-city. In this stratagy all people in a community will become invovled in the evoultion of their city, but the main point is that the process is cultural and not political. As such, people from all across the political spectrum can unite in the wish for creating a better living space. It has been discovered that this actually happens, and that the drive to improve quality of life for people in communities has united people, at grassroot level, across classical politics.
The BSR Cultural Planning
In recent times, it has become increasingly important to create a living space that is inclusive and sustainable in the Baltic Sea Region. The region is under pressure because of, among other things, social polarization, influx of immigrants/refugees and recognition of the environmental challenges. Cultural Planning strives to be part of the solution to these problems, by connecting citizens and local government. This will create a stronger sense of coherence and involvement between the citizens and the governments. As part of the BSR Culturability project the BSR Cultural Planning projects main targets are city authorities, regional authorities, specialized institutions and intermediaries with knowledge on cultural planning and ideas supporting this. The BSR Cultural Planning teams goal is to narrow the gap between urban planner and cultural planner on a transnational, regional and local level. There are several ways that the BSR Cultural Planning project will assist in this.
One of the main resources to create Cultural Planning is Cultural Mapping. This is a strategy where activists go out and interview people in a community. During the interviews it is not just community leaders, but everyone inhabiting the community. From artists to local institutions and people living in the community. Through these interviews and conversations with the citizens, the city authority can get an idea of what people want. This means that a map of the city is created based on the wishes of the people. This map will then be the basis of a new city plan. This system allows for a sustainable development in an area, as a city plan will have the support of the entire community.