South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

CASE report explores the role of culture, sport and heritage in place shaping

Research commissioned by the DCMS explores the role of culture, sport and heritage assets in place shaping. The study focuses on generating evidence to support the argument that culture, sport and heritage infrastructure and investment have the ability to promote and drive positive economic and social outcomes at the local level. It aims to examine the extent to which culture, sport and heritage infrastructure and investment within a place influence (through direct and indirect impacts, tangible and intangible) the economy and society of that place. The study focuses on a range of potential economic indicators and linkages to the presence of CS&H infrastructure (‘assets’) and investment.

The report finds that 'the density of cultural and heritage assets was highly and positively related to the density of firms in a local economy, indicating that where there are high densities of theatres, museums, monuments and so on, we tend to find concentrations of economic activity. Further, the density of cultural assets is found to be positively and strongly related to the net in-migration of businesses, which suggests that such assets are important ‘pull’ factors which influence location decisions. These findings hold regardless of the urban scale at which they are examined: cultural assets are equally important as attractors in non-major urban areas as in major urban areas and this suggests that the observed results are not simply a reflection of general urban agglomeration effects'.

It concludes that 'the existence of and investment in CS&H assets can be seen to be important influencers of place-shaping. The precise mechanisms through which this influence is exerted (i.e. the nature of the impact ecosystem at an asset/investment and local level) require further investigation. However, we can clearly see that places that contain a greater density of CS&H assets and receive higher per capita CS&H investment are more likely to build a strong creative sector. They also are able to attract businesses to locate in local places more effectively than others and/or slow the rate at which businesses out-migrate to other locations'.

The full report can be found by clicking here.