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An initiative of AEA Consulting, the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) is an international federation committed to improving the quality of urban life through the contribution of the arts, culture, and creative industries.

The membership network fosters cooperation and knowledge sharing among those responsible for creative and cultural districts. It engages leaders in culture and in urban development through convenings, research, and collaborations to inform global, local, and cross-sector agendas.

The CSC was commissioned to analyze the diverse tools that cultural districts can use to spur investment and create new revenue streams while protecting the local character and neighborhood identity. It is the first consolidated source of advice on finance mechanisms, public policies, and equity-centered practices — known as value-capture tools — that can be used to recover and recirculate value in ways that build broad-based community wealth, and benefit property owners and developers.

The resulting toolkit of proven value-capture tools, both direct and indirect, are defined, discussed, and illustrated in case studies contained in the report. These tools have been used to direct revenue streams to offset maintenance costs and yield new revenue to use for public benefits that would otherwise be left solely to market forces. These benefits allow cultural districts to take control of the development taking place in their locations and discourage the rise of gentrification.

This research began well before the compounding crises of 2020 hit. However, their role in revealing the extent to which many communities lack resilience and equitable access to vital resources rendered this topic even more timely.


Image courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron, architects of West Kowloon Cultural District