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Project Urban Creative Poles: development and promotion cultural and creative industries in medium-sized cities

When talking about cultural and creative industries one mostly thinks about hip urban neighbourhoods in metropolitan areas like Berlin etc. – but what about smaller cities? Do they have the potential to become cultural and creative hubs? And if so - how do they do?

Urban Creative Poles is an INTERREG IV B project which objective is to create and apply good practices in the public sector to promote cultural and creative industries (CCI) as growing economic sector and basis for innovations in the strife for the knowledge-based economy in medium-sized cities (around 100,000 inhabitants) by means of:

 

  • improving framework conditions
  • initialising transnational creative industry clusters
  • promoting entrepreneurial skills
  • improving their external visibility through transnational marketing
  • exploiting potentials in the development of decayed urban areas through the allocation of creative industries in those districts

 

Urban creative poles

What was the starting point for the Urban Creative Poles project?
 

After analyzing the current situation of development potentials for cultural and creative industries in the 5 cities (Cottbus (Germany), Tartu (Estonia), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Linköping (Sweden), Zielona Gora (Polande) participating in this project, all partners developed different concepts to improve framework conditions and personal skills of CCI entrepreneurs. All cities set up a tailor-made coaching program for their local CCI entrepreneurs, started local marketing and event campaigns to promote cultural and creative industries (CCI).

How was the project implemented?

The practice was mainly implemented on the local level with regular meetings and workshops of the project partners. Furthermore networking and exchange between CCI entrepreneurs from the different cities was fostered with creating different joint events (e.g. a summer school in Cottbus, workshops at the UCP conferences) and joint appearances at trade fairs and conferences. The pilot-projects were used to illustrate different approaches to urban renewal with the help of the cultural and creative industries and ranged from the refurbishment of an old factory till the extension of an existing centre for the cultural and creative industries within a small-scale building structure.

Lessons learned from the Urban Creative Poles project

The Urban Creative Poles project has not been finalized yet. It started in 2010 and will be finalized at the end of  2013. Nevertheless first lessons have been learned especially when it comes up to developing coaching concepts. Additionally new approaches were tested to foster small-scale projects by local stakeholders (flagship-projects) to enhance the visibility of cultural and creative industries in a city. Another important aspect was that even in smaller cities networking activities and joint activities among the very different branches can be necessary. Furthermore although culturala and creative industries can be an important economic branch even in smaller cities there is still a need to promote these industries and raise the awareness of municipalities and economic development agencies for their needs but also for their potentials and impact. 

About the project Urban Creative Poles

The chair of Urban Management (Prof. Dr. Silke Weidner) at Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus was the lead partner of the UCP project. For more information about the project, please contact Nadja Riedel. They also have a website and you can find them on Facebook ' Urban Creative Poles Project'.


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