Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [SCE 023]

1. Submission from:

Donna Pentelow, Head of Culture on behalf of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX

2. Executive Summary

· The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) has published a set of proposals regarding future development in the borough and the role of the creative industries in shaping them.

· These proposals on Cultural Placemaking in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea place culture and the creative industries at the heart of future development.

· RBKC believe that it is in an excellent position to connect developers to the creative content of the borough, and thereby both to animate and add value to their plans.

· At the core of this approach is a focus on modern, international excellence: creative thinking and work of an international standard that benefits, visitors, business and residents alike.

· RBKC believe that the Council’s new approach will build a stronger and more sustainable creative economy.

· In acting on these proposals, RBKC believe that it would become the first local authority to undertake a borough-wide approach to cultural placemaking and to integrate culture into the borough’s development through planning.

· We see the role of the Council is an enabler and catalyst.

3. Future Development and the Creative Industries

3.1. In May 2012, RBKC, together with Futurecity and BOP Consulting, published Cultural Placemaking in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a set of proposals regarding future development in the borough and the role of the creative industries in shaping them.

3.2. Kensington and Chelsea wanted to examine what has been achieved, look at emerging patterns and map out the right approach for the borough as a whole. RBKC is privileged to have a fabulous cultural mix in the borough, ranging from internationally renowned institutions to creative entrepreneurs, from specialist arts organisations to major creative industries. The borough is also home to more than twenty festivals and an increasing number of practising artists are based here, sometimes working in studios offered by the Council and part-funded by valued partners. RBKC believe that our role as a local authority is to encourage creativity, support it where we can and ensure that all our residents have opportunities to engage creatively in ways that work for each of them individually. RBKC is happy for culture to be a key motif for our borough as its future development is shaped.

3.3. RBKC is in an excellent position to connect developers to the creative content of the borough, and thereby both to animate and add value to their plans. RBKC believe that, armed with a long-term neighbourhood vision and a clear appreciation of the significance of the borough in the wider London context, we are in a strong position to broker successful partnerships that will benefit developers, artists, residents, local businesses and visitors alike. This thinking covers every stage, from inception through the various phases of development, and on to completion and into use. Each development potentially has a different creative opportunity and as the most densely populated three square miles in the UK, we want to ensure we have a framework that has an empathetic fit with the area where it is sited.

3.4. Two months after the publication of Cultural Placemaking, the Mayor of London published the World Cities Culture Report. The Introduction (p. 17) echoes much of the thinking to be found in our own research:

3.5. Culture’s intrinsic and social values have long been recognised. However, in the last 30 years a new view of culture has arisen. It is increasingly seen as a driver of economic growth. A series of developments-among them the rise of the knowledge economy, in which skills and creativity count for more than raw materials; the growth of cultural and urban tourism; the emergence of the ‘creative industries’ paradigm; the theories of Richard Florida, Charles Landry and others, with their emphasis on the role of culture in attracting businesses to cities; and the contribution of the Guggenheim Museum to the regeneration of Bilbao-have led to a new focus on the value of culture within urban development. This view attributes a key role to culture in stimulating long-term economic and social growth in cities-not so much through creating short-term economic returns (though these may occur), but by shaping a sense of place and social space that increases the city’s attractiveness to an educated workforce and the businesses which seek to employ them.

4. Analytical Framework

4.1. In developing the Cultural Placemaking proposals, our thinking was informed by a number of key considerations:

· The creative economy contributes 15 percent of all jobs to the Royal Borough.

· There are 4,000 creative businesses in the Royal Borough.

· RBKC is home to some of the world’s most significant museums, artistic institutions and creative businesses.

· RBKC is a diverse and creative borough

· RBKC’s cultural heritage is as diverse as Exhibition Road and the Notting Hill Carnival. The Royal Borough’s cultural and economic future is modern and internationally focused.

4.2. Our approach to Cultural Placemaking led us to identify the following types of Creative District:

· The Established Creative District

· The Organic Creative District

· The Emerging Creative District

· The Planned Creative District

4.3. These are complemented by a Creative District Profiler, which is a tool developed by to identify the strengths that any neighbourhood can draw on to become a Creative District with an exciting cultural life which is attractive to both visitors and investors. The Profiler also highlights any weaknesses. We define the neighbourhood as a circle extending for half a mile around a central point-equivalent to a ten-minute walk. The neighbourhood is then scored against eight factors associated with successful Creative Districts, with scores derived from robust national and London data sources. The factors are:

· Creative Residents

· Younger Residents

· Ethnic Diversity

· Cultural Offer

· Retail Offer

· Public Transport

· Land Availability

· Desirability

5. Key Features

· The proposals in Cultural Placemaking in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea place culture and the creative industries at the heart of future development

· In acting on these proposals, we believe that Kensington and Chelsea would become the first local authority to undertake a borough-wide approach to cultural placemaking and to integrate culture into the borough’s development through planning.

· At the core of this approach is a focus on modern, international excellence: creative thinking and work of an international standard that benefits, visitors, business and residents alike.

· We believe that the Council’s new approach will build a stronger and more sustainable creative economy.

· We see the role of the Council is an enabler and catalyst. It can broker successful partnerships which benefit developers, artists, residents, local businesses and visitors alike.

6. The full publication is available here: Cultural Placemaking proposals. [1] I would be happy to submit copies of the print publication on request and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

November 2012


[1] http://subscriber.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/subscribe.aspx?source=4&eid=ba4fed3a-ce0e-4797-b565-3b8f54a9d5b2

Prepared 17th November 2012