Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Culture and Local Development


Culture and creativity are powerful assets for local development. Culture is playing an increasingly important role on the political agendas of cities and regions, both on its own and as a strategy for economic growth and the well-being of residents.

  • What's the issue?

Cultural and creative sectors (CCS) constitute a vibrant economic activity and source of jobs, enterprise turnover and tax revenues. However, the role of culture for local development is more than these direct outputs.

Culture and creativity transform local economies in various ways. They increase the attractiveness of places as destinations to live, visit and invest in. Smartly managed culture-led urban regeneration can breathe new life into decaying neighbourhoods. CCS also contribute to increasing levels of regional innovation and productivity, through new product design, new production techniques, new business models, innovative ways of reaching audiences and consumers, and emerging forms of co-production. Cross-sectoral “contamination” can spread innovation into the wider economy.

Moreover, there is growing evidence that increased levels of cultural participation have positive effects on well-being and health as well as encourage social cohesion by supporting the integration and inclusion of marginalised groups.

  • What can the OECD offer?

The project, part of the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, aims to provide evidence and guidance to European cities and regions on ways to maximize the economic and social value of cultural heritage and support the emergence of the creative economy. It will focus on knowledge building, peer learning and training in four areas. 



Pier Luigi Sacco, Senior Researcher, Meta Lab(at)Harvard & Special Advisor to the European Commissioner for Education, Youth and Culture


Maximising the impact of culture and cultural heritage on local development

Following the decline of traditional manufacturing industries, museums and other cultural heritage sites have increasingly been seen as drivers of community regeneration and thus a source of revenue and new jobs. Cultural heritage and a vibrant creative economy can increase territorial attractiveness for talent and investment. At the same time, the role of culture in spurring innovation as well as supporting well-being, health, life-long learning and the creation of social capital have become prominent.

Streams of work

  • Understanding and increasing cultural participation
  • Cross-sectoral strategies and partnerships

Increasing the jobs potential of cultural and creative industries

The creative economy relies on creative talent as the primary source of value. The demand for skilled creative workers is strong and rapidly evolving, both in cultural and creative sectors and other sectors of the economy. To reap these job creation benefits, cities and regions need more reliable data to shape their
policies and address the needs of creative employers and self-employed creatives.

Streams of work

  • Understanding trends and the geography of the creative economy workforce
  • Local strategies to address the skills needs of CCS and self-employed creatives


‌Supporting business creation, innovation and growth

The cultural and creative sectors are largely composed of micro, small and medium sized enterprises and auto-entrepreneurs. Such firms co-exist with a few large global players. There is a strong demand for better and more reliable data, at subnational level, on the performance of these enterprises, as well as on ways to adapt business support ecosystems to their specific needs.

Streams of work

  • Understanding the performance of CCS
  • Adapting business support ecosystems to the needs of CCS and self-employed creatives



Public and private finance for culture and creative sectors

‌The activities of culture and creative sectors are financed through various sources, from the public, private and non-profit sectors. Overall, local government “culture, recreation and religion” spending accounts for roughly 60% of total public expenditure in this area in the OECD. Such public direct and indirect financing is often combined with funding provided by nonprofit and business organisations, and individual donations.

Streams of work

  • Trends and issues in local government expenditure on culture
  • Innovation in public and private financing  



Rapid assessment by the OECD of the CCS performance and policy ecosystem in your region/city.
Knowledge building & peer learning through participation in four thematic policy seminars to learn from the latest academic and policy research.
Training two editions of the OECD Summer Academy on Cultural and Creative Industries.
International visibility of your efforts to support the creative economy


Learn more about the project and how to join




Q4 2019: 1st Policy Seminar on Maximising the Impact of Cultural Heritage on Local Development

Q1 2020: 2nd Policy Seminar on Addressing the Skills Needs of CCS and Self-employed Creatives

Q2 2020: 3rd Policy Seminar on Adapting Business Support Ecosystems to the Needs of CCS and Self-employed Creatives

June 2020:  Summer Academy on Cultural and Creative Industries and Local Development | Third edition

Q4 2020: 4th Policy Seminar: Innovation in Public and Private Investment



16-20 June 2019 | Trento, Italy: Summer Academy on Cultural and Creative Industries and Local Development | Second edition

6-7 December 2018 | Venice, Italy: Conference on Culture and Local Development

6 November 2018 | Venice, Italy: Workshop on Funding Arts and Culture - The Role of Non-Public Institutions

12 July 2018 | Venice, Italy Workshop on Culture and Well-Being - Defining the linkages

9 July 2018 | Paris, France Experts' Group Meeting on Culture and Local Development - Maximising the Impact

21 June 2018 | Venice, Italy Workshop on Measuring Creative Occupations in OECD Regions

15 June 2018 | Trento, Italy Conference on CCIs Support Ecosystems as part of Smart Specialisation Strategy

11-15 June 2018 | Trento, Italy Summer Academy on Cultural and Creative Industries and Local Development | First edition

20 December 2017 | Trento, Italy Euregio Museum Day 2017: Museums & Local Development - Maximising the Impact

23 June 2017 | Milan, Italy Roundtable on Fulfilling the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries -  Reinforcing Linkages and Spill Overs 

3 June 2017 | Trento, Italy Roundtable on Culture, Health and Well-being - 12th Festival of Economics

22 June, 2017 | Milan, Italy Working group on Cultural Heritage as Catalyst of Local Development

11 April 2017 | Prague, Czech Republic  Round-table on Cultural heritage as Catalyst of Local Development

22 February 2017 | Bolzano, Italy Debate on Culture-led and Smart Regeneration Strategies @ SSPCR 2017



Toolkits and handbooks




For further information, please contact Ekaterina TRAVKINA or Alessandra PROTO.