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La Culture, un Pillier Stratégique de la Résilience, pas un Secteur

Thinking Sustainability to the End
Thinking Sustainability to its End
a plea for the acknowledgment of culture as one of the four strategic pillars of societal development and of public planning
a reminder and a wake-up call
by Luciano Gloor
This is the report of a fascinating journey along the borderline between official declarations,
scholarly science and the daily practice in the field of meaningful public planning of the future of
communities. It consisted of almost a decade of searching for enlightenment and an answer to
why, from a strategic point of view, culture puts itself in a defensive position and continues playing a marginal role in politics, public planning and public budgets, despite the on-going evolution
of our societies is calling for the contrary. Intrinsically connected is the question on the role of
culture in sustainable development1, in times where the future of human life conditions on this
planet are seriously put in danger by mankind itself, and the question why cultural sciences seem
not to feel the urge to contribute to the debate on the necessary shift towards fundamentally new
My working with culture actors and small cities with great passion but strong developmental
needs from countries in transition to the East of the EU motivated me to the considerations that
I present with this paper. I am thankful to the project PASSION CAPITAL 3.0 for providing me
with this opportunity. A European Co-Creativity Lab Stimulating Collaborative Economy and
Participatory Governance of Culture within Small and Medium Size Cities seems to be the most
valuable and fruitful context for communicating my reflections.
Originally I thought naively that I would be touching unsearched grounds, as in almost twenty
years dealing with development and culture I never came across any reference to the fundamental
relation between strategic development planning and culture, and no expert ever addressed these
topics. The research for this paper proved me being wrong and forced me to revise my concept
repeatedly. I will not tell the world anything new, I am humbly reporting what has been thought
and written by scholars before, but has been either forgotten, overseen, maybe even put to the
side, at least in Europe.
The paper will have achieved its purpose if it inspires civil society and culture actors as well as
policy planners and decision makers involved in public development planning to get familiar with
some approaches and ways of thinking proposed here.
The term “sustainability” has been vaguely present in my (not only professional) life since the
70ies, when the Club of Rome published its first report in 19723 . In our circles of 68 activists it
was seen as a welcomed contribution to our anti-capitalist discourse but the focus of our environmental concerns turned essentially around the risks of nuclear energy more than the planet
running out of resources, an option the report made us aware of, but we perceived it as a danger
far away. I must admit that the Brundtland Report published by the UN in 1985 “Our Common
The term of „sustainable development“ has been over-used in the course of the last two decades; to the point that
many think it has no specific meaning any more. Some propose to replace it by the term „regenerative development“, a wording that directly addresses the envisaged goal. I am in favour of proposal. Nevertheless, in this paper I
stick to the term to which the whole literature refers.
2 Coming from story-telling, I will tell my story along a 3 act structure, an attempt not to be taken too seriously.
3 Club of Rome (1972): The Limits of Growth, Rome
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Future” did not catch much of my attention, as I was fully engaged in launching my career as a
cultural entrepreneur. The Brundtland Report delivered the first definition of the notion of sustainable development4. In 1994, John Elkington5 coined the phrase of the triple bottom line
(TBL) that characterised sustainable business as encompassing economic, environmental and
social values. It should be noted that Elkington was not referring to public planning, but reflecting on corporate social responsibility (CSR). He intended to define sustainability for business, as
the title of his book suggests. Subsequently, political decision makers, public planners and scholars dealing with public planning have absorbed this notion, without additional reflections regarding necessary adaptions or extensions in view of the specificities of its use in public planning, as
opposed to business planning. It might even have been an instrument in enhancing an exclusively
economic view of the world. At least this is suggested by the fact that all references to sustainable
development go back to Elkington’s definition of the triple bottom line. Since then guidelines on
public panning propose a sustainability framework with the three categories being the economy,
the environment and the social domain.
To return to my story: although having worked 40 years in the creative economy, I came only
across the issue of sustainable societal development in connection with culture in the last two
decades, when I started dedicating myself mainly to capacity building and technical assistance on
policy, strategy development and strategic management. My work took mainly place in the field
of international cooperation between first Switzerland and then the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine). Working as a trainer,
expert and team leader for cultural programs I got the notion of sustainability connected to culture programs or policies on my table every day. No document on policies or public planning
that would not use the term as an adjective or a noun in its name or in the wording of objectives,
be it issued by the UN, the EU, be it national or local authorities. The other omnipresent phrase
that became a standard in those times in connection with culture was, and still is, that “culture
contributes to economic growth”. It were the years after the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)6 of the UN (2000) and the EU’s 2007 European Agenda for Culture7, followed by the discussion on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its Sustainable
Development Goals SDG8.
Being tasked with promoting and motivating cultural policy reforms, our team of experts9 got to
read many cultural strategy and urban planning documents, was requested to provide feedback
with regard to the role of culture and was invited to conferences, mainly by small and middle
sized cities of Ukraine and Georgia, for giving input. The specific insight gained from these experiences led to the observation that although all levels of authorities officially attribute to culture a
high priority for public planning and policies, the daily reality of written and implemented (or not
implemented) plans and related decision making shows regularly an impressive discrepancy with
the official statements.
UNWCED (1987): Brundtland Report - Our Common Future
“Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
5 Elkington John in Henriques, Adrian, Richardson, Julie, NetLibrary, Inc (2004): The triple bottom line, does it all add
up?, London
Elkington 2004:1,3 „In the simplest terms, the TBL agenda focuses corporations not just on the economic value that
they add, but also on the environmental and social value that they add – or destroy.
6 United Nations (2000): Millennium Development Goals
7 EC (2007): European Agenda for Culture, Bruxelles
8 United Nations (2015): 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Development Goals (adopted by all UM
member states in 2015
9 of the Eastern Partnership Culture Program Phase I financed by the EU; the team operating under a technical
assistance service contract with the EC
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Something felt not right. I could not get the logic of perceiving “economy/economic”, “environment/environmental” and “social” as strategic paradigms against which policies, programs
and projects for development had to be measured, while “culture” was tolerated to helping out
with “contributions”. Since the beginning, the impression grew that there was a serious undervaluation of culture in public planning and in politics in general and I wondered why culture scholars and practitioners did not argue. I remembered how in the 70s Western European metropolis
failed with many or their urban city “modernisations” projects that resulted in deserted areas; or
the failed youth policies leading to massive social unrest (to mention just two examples), because
policy makers had forgotten to take into consideration the cultural factors inherent to the project
or the policy in question. Similarly, in the region of operation of our culture program, the countries to the East of the EU, almost no conflict, and there were a whole number of them, be it
frozen or virulent, that had not cultural roots and that did not break out because of the negligence of dealing with those cultural issues. Starting to reflect which factors might have been contributing to what I felt was a flawed policy planning process in connection with culture, my preliminary findings basing on my practical experience were as follows:
1) Guidelines of International organisations on planning sustainable development define a
framework that encompasses the environment, the social domain and the economy. Thus
guided, planners and policy makers work along these strands. In consequence, the inclusion of other top-level domains or strands in the reflections of the planning processes is
excluded, so to say by the system, concerning particularly culture.
2) The concept of culture was and still is not perceived in its overarching meaning of the
values, attitudes, patterns and behaviours that define societies and hold them together,
which then are manifested or mirrored in both, cultural activities of the population, as
well as of the cultural sector. The notion is instead reduced to the sector in society that is
professionally dealing with culture. Thus, the view get lost on the role culture is playing all
across society, beside and in addition to the direct impact of culture sector activities,
which culture policies should address as well. And the view gets lost on the role culture
could be playing in all policies, other than culture policies.
3) Mainly in the last decade, the focus of research and of the policy debate has been on the
economic value of culture, on culture as a contributor to economic growth. As a consequence the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) attracted high attention, while a whole
range of other impacts and roles got neglected through which culture, both, as a sector, as
well as in its overall meaning, contributes to society.
This paper attempts to verify these findings from daily experience and to elaborate on an argumentation that is favourable to acknowledging culture as the fourth pillar of societal development.
City Development Plans: the Gap between Brand and Plan
Due to our project’s workshops and on invitation by some cities to their congresses, in the year
2013 we had the opportunity to discuss City Development Plans or City’s Culture Development
Plans with local authorities and local culture actors from civil society in Lviv, Lutsk, Gori,
Vynnitsia and Tbilisi. As the whole question this paper discusses grew out of practice it is appropriate to make reference to those experiences.
The following discussion on city strategies serves to shed some light on practiced public planning
concerning the topic of this paper, which is the inclusion of culture under a strategic point of
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Two samples shall be discussed, for illustrating the cause. The two cities that came to have elaborated new development plans invited our team to giving feedback under the perspective of cultural policy reforms. This allowed for a very close exchange with city authorities. . A summary of
the plans is put in the annexe. Then, some reflections follow, to outline key similarities or differences in planning approaches and plans between small German cities and these two cities from
countries in a process of transition.
The Vinnytsia 2020 Development Strategy (2013)10
Economically, Vinnytsia, located South-West of Kyiv in the heart of Ukraine (371’000 inhabitants), profits from hosting the headquarters and a number of production facilities of ROCHEN,
the chocolate imperium of the oligarch Petro Poroshenko, since June 2015 president of Ukraine.
In 2013, Volodymyr Groysman was mayor of Vinnytsia, a close ally of Poroshenko who followed
him to Kyiv, where he was sworn in Prime Minister in April 2016. This economic background
and political context might explain, why the strategy does not express any major economic urgency.
The short form of the strategy’s vision formulates an image, a brand that shall characterise Vinnytsia in the future: to become a smiling city, populated by friendly and happy people. The single
components of the vision share one specific characteristic. Building a strong community requires
a strong sense of belonging, based on shared values. Equally, a modern, interesting, liveable and
energetic city will need inhabitants who share the values and feel ownership in the type of city
that shall be developed. Some of these values may be social, but most of them will be cultural
values. The so worded vision together with the short-form brand suggest that they head a strategic approach that is strongly marked by cultural components, if not to say it being a culture-led
strategy. Surprisingly, the goals barely make reference to values, not to speak of culture, except
where the strategy addresses specifically goals and measures for the culture sector.
Let’s assume the planners would have added a fourth key principle, worded, for instance, as follows: “Cultural vitality as the source for our values, for our creativity and for our force of innovation”. It is safe to expect, that it would have triggered a whole range of considerations with regard
to those strategic priorities, goals and measures that relate to values, behavioural, social and cultural patterns and traditions, shaping new or influencing actual measures with a cultural dimension that would give the strategy a new orientation, closer to the idea behind the vision. Now
missing transversal cultural components would strengthen community building and ownership,
support creativity, orientate education and ensure a type of urban development that places the
citizen and their needs in the centre.
The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) wave had not reached Vinnytsia yet, at that time,
while it was clearly noticeable in the capital. The strategy also, surprisingly does not manifest any
shortage of financial means with regard to the cultural sector. From the preliminary findings
listed in the introduction above, number 1 (the planning framework leads to a negligence of culture) and 2 (notion of culture is reduced to culture as a sector) can be deemed being confirmed,
while number 3 seems not applicable for Vinnytsia.
The Tbilisi City Development Plan (2011)11
Tbilisi is the capital of the Republic of Georgia, is located in the centre of the country and has 1.1
million in habitants. The year after the endorsement of the strategy discussed here, Georgian par10
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liamentary elections held in 2012 led to the first peaceful shift of power in Georgia, which subsequently also resulted in the election of a new mayor of Tbilisi. As a usual procedure in Georgia’s
public administration, plans and projects initiated by predecessors are put on hold or stopped.
This strategy, hence, was no in force a year after it had been endorsed. It is, however, still an illustration of the public planning approaches by the previous as well as by the actual administration.
The brand chosen by the document is an emotional one, a cultural one, so to say: “Tbilisi - the
city that loves you”. The strategy document does not further elaborate on this slogan, it can be
assumed that the wording of the vision shall make the slogan tangible. It describes the vision of a
citizen-friendly city, a tourist-friendly city and a business-friendly city. Topics addressed relate to
the economy, the social domain and the environment. Culture is not mentioned. The mission
describes roles and/or adjectives that the city shall earn/deserve if developing as planned: a regional key player, being proactive, being sensitive, being balanced. While the first two relate to
strength (influence and energy), the latter two relate to soft qualities (respect for citizens, heritage
and environment, inclusiveness), to cultural values, one could say. Of four strategic objectives, at
least three offer opportunities for creativity and culture playing a relevant role: international relations, competitive economy and finally attractiveness and liveability. Even the fourth strategic
objective “well governed city” contains more than just administrative efficiency, as it includes
also the objective to improving citizens’ participation in public decision-making.
Analysing the programs that are allocated to each of the objectives, as well as the projects under
the programs, the first impression of a strong fervour for a cultural approach proves being
wrong. There are a whole number of programs that one would expect to include strong cultural
components, but either they are absent or they are exploiting cultural activities for image building
purposes of the Georgian leadership. International cultural events are the only culture related
project, beside cultural heritage initiatives. They consist either in promoting Tbilisi abroad, or in
inviting international stars to the capital. The latter are barely accessible to the large audience,
seen the poverty of the population. Tourism is merely addressed as a prosperous business, without connecting it neither to culture and cultural heritage nor for instance to sustainable tourism.
None of the mentioned culture related projects does make any offers to the population. Cultural
heritage is focused on rehabilitation, documentation and capacity building for heritage workers. It
has to be said, however, that Georgia has very strong popular cultural traditions, and on many
occasions Georgians sing and dance, folk choirs and dance groups have a loyal audience and
children often learn to play a music instrument.
The document does not introduce any framework that informed the elaboration process. In fact,
the document gives the impression of an approach by key words and listing evident major topics
needing to be addressed by a city development plan. The logic between Vision, Mission and Strategic Objectives is not transparent.
Let’s assume again, a planning framework would have included culture, for instance by playing
with variances of the city’s central slogan, “Tbilisi – the city that loves you”. A simple framework
would have been created by specifying the “you” in the slogan, in the form of “the city that loves
its citizens” “… that loves its visitors”, “,,, that loves its environment”, and so on, allowing to ask
under each strategic objective, program or project, how the “love” transforms into plans and
actions. It is again safe to expect, that a more consistent and coherent plan with a clear cultural
orientation would have resulted by this simple structuring framework.
The conclusions with regard to the verification of the findings mentioned in the introduction
look as follows: finding number 1 (the planning framework leads to a negligence of culture) can
be confirmed for the city plan of Tbilisi; no clear framework could be identified, a missing
framework having the same effect. Finding number 2 (notion of culture is reduced to culture as a
sector) is confirmed, the strategy even reduces the culture sector to cultural heritage. Finding
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number 3 (over-emphasis of the economic effect of culture) is indirectly confirmed by the fact
that the cultural component of tourism is overseen, the attention being too closely on the spending of tourists, omitting their motivations to visit the country. Probably for a similar reason all
other sections of the culture sector having no major economic impact have been left out from
the plan, an assumption that however cannot be verified.
Comparison with some small German cities
To prevent the arguing that cities in Georgia or in Ukraine plan under completely different conditions and that consequently findings are not relevant for EU member states, a short look at
planning approaches of some German cities is added here, for a random verification by case.
The city development plans of the following cities have been chosen randomly: Heidelberg12,
Leonberg13, Feldkirch14, which have city development plans dating between 2006 and 2018, and
Bayreuth15, Kassel16, Recklingshausen17 and Regensburg18, which have culture development plans
dating between 2015 and 2019.
With one exception, the city plans are not of very recent date, while the culture development
plans do. This might be due to certain “waves” in policy elaboration; culture plans are very much
on demand in recent years.
The first difference that stands out is that the plans tend be elaborated following a more complex
approach, reflected also in the much longer timespan which is dedicated to their elaboration (implying that serious financial means having been made available, as well). However, often the plans
do not create much transparency with respect to chosen frameworks.
With regard to the approach to culture, the sector orientation is standard in city plans. There is a
slight difference with culture development plans, where in cases the effort is made to elaborate
on the notion of culture, if not delivering a definition of how culture is understood with regard to
the planning, in case a sector approach is chosen it is a conscious choice explained by pragmatic
needs of making choices within policy making.
The topic of economic contributions generated by culture appears in some plan, as do cultural
and creative sectors, but they do not seem yet to be on the radar of small cities. The more a plan
has bee elaborated by participatory approaches involving civil society and citizens, the more the
plans contain elements that look beyond a simple sector logic. Such plans underwent also essentially longer lasting and labour intensive processes.
The culture development plan of the city of Regensburg stands out and deserves to be mentioned
specifically. It took the city five years from decision to endorsement of the document (20102015). The plan documents the extensive involvement of culture actors, civil society and citizens
in the process during all phases. The document starts with a comprehensive definition of the
notion of culture as published in December 2007 by the German federal research commission
called “Kultur in Deutschland”. The methodology section however admits that cultural policies,
for feasibility reasons, tend to focus on ensuring support to culture actors and cultural activities,
hence the choice for a sector oriented approach. However, a chapter dedicated to so-called “leading themes”, which define the framework for the plan, elaborates on topics such as cultural par,Lde/HD/entwickeln/Stadtentwicklungsplan.html
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ticipation, access to culture, mental and physical spaces for culture, cultural district development,
education and life-long learning, networking and cooperation and finally regionalism and internationalism. Accordingly, this plan contains clear element of a culture-driven development approach that understands that culture is more than a sector. It is probably not a speculation to
assume, that this outstanding quality is a direct result of the time dedicated to the elaboration
process in connection with exhaustive participation of culture actors, civil society and citizens.
UN and EU policies on culture
As two scholars have observed, UN policies give culture little space19, despite words underscoring
the high priority that should be given to culture.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)20 mark a step forward insofar as for the first
time an UN agenda makes reference to culture within the framework. Quality education shall
ensure appreciation of cultural diversity and culture’s contribution to sustainable development
(without elaborating on how it does), safe cities shall strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard
cultural heritage, responsible consumption and production shall monitor impacts of sustainable
tourism with regard to creating jobs and promoting local culture and production.
According to UNESCO21, there should be further references to culture in the SDG, under food
security, environment, and economic growth, peaceful and inclusive societies. I could not identify
This feels very modest as a role attributed to culture at global level seen the pressing challenges
humankind is facing. It furthermore feels like “business as usual” as opposed to an urge for taking action.
In the EU, a new Agenda for Culture22 has been published by the EC in November 2018, setting
out five priorities for European policy-making: sustainable cultural heritage, cohesion and wellbeing, building an ecosystem to support artists, CCI professionals and European content, gender
equality and EU’s cultural diplomacy.
Heritage and CCI support belonging to the classic sector oriented priorities, hence consolidating
national tendencies in member states, the priority social cohesion evoked hopes for a broader
understanding of working with culture, also in view of the growing divide within EU member
sates and among them, which is putting the European project at risk. The target outputs described in the work plan sound promising, the allocated means, however, are, again, modest:
identifying best practices of cross-sectorial cooperation, which have social and economic
impact (OMC group followed by presidency conference, funding under Creative Europe
will be explored);
identifying best practices on culture shaping the environment (architecture, heritage, public space, landscape) (OMC group, conference plus);
the third target output refers to the mentioned audience development where guidelines
shall inspire cultural organisations in better connecting to their audiences in the everchanging digital environment (expert group);
De Beukelaer and Duxbury (2014): Real sustainable development requires change through culture
„So plenty of talk about culture. But there is little room – and, it seems, little time – to build a solid evidence-based
argument. (...) the big UN discussions tend to ignore the evidence around culture. And in any case “culture” is difficult to reduce to a handful of indicators“
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elaborating policy recommendations fostering the creativity of the young generation and
their innovation potential in the digital age (conference plus);
a study shall contribute to evidence-based policy measure and raising awareness about
the importance of culture for society and democracy (conference plus study).
Again, we seem to operate in a “business as usual” modus. Europe is not in crisis and culture has
not much to contribute to the crisis or to the debate on our future in general. Priorities are, similar as in the past, on social and economic contributions of culture that are the main focus of the
Creative Europe Program as well.
Culture, a driver and enabler of sustainable development, as seen by UNESCO
For entering into a fruitful dialogue with city authorities and civil society, but also to explain the
chosen approach to the contracting authority, I needed solid argumentative grounds. I knew everything about cultural management, but public planning of sustainable societal development and
urban planning was new to me. Hence I was also ignorant of the existing research and literature
that was dealing with cultural urban planning and creativity-led development models (Florida,
Porter, Sen, Sacco). Anyway, it would not have been recommendable for us to rely on single
scholars. Being a technical assistance project under a service contract for the EC, we needed an
approach and an argumentation that was as official as possible. I opted for UNESCO, an organisation respected as an authority on culture matters by all parties I was dealing with. I discovered
that the UN System Task Team of UNESCO came to publish (May 2012) a Thematic Think
Piece called Culture: a driver and enabler of sustainable development23. Finally I hold a document
in my hands that attributed culture a strategic role in connection with sustainable development.
The document was far from giving answers to all my questions, but the title alone already opened
a wide door for a “culture is strategic” approach. The Think Piece confirms24, how statistics and
indicators have underscored the role of culture for development, specifically mentioning community-wide social, economic and environmental impacts, with a particular relevance for the contribution to the economy and poverty alleviation. It mentions cultural heritage, the creative industries, cultural tourism and the cultural infrastructure being strategic tools for revenue generation.
UNESCO’s Think Piece promoted a strategic approach, but the perspective was once again
mainly a sectorial one; and it was again underlining the economic impacts of culture.
At least, after providing statistic evidence that CCI and tourism belong to the fastest growing
sectors of the global economy, the Think Piece continues by describing how culture-led development “also includes a range of non-monetized benefits”25, elaborating on the broader meaning
and broader role that culture has in society, using terms like “cultural factors”, that describe culture in action beyond the culture sector as such.
For not being misunderstood, there is nothing wrong in acknowledging the economic impact of
culture, in the contrary, and there is nothing wrong in working on culture sector development
plans or boosting the CCI. In fact, when the European Parliament announced on the 20 March
2019, that the European Institutions now recognized the Cultural and Creative Industries as an
UNESCO (2012)
UNESCO 2012:3
25 UNESCO 2012:4
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industry, marks this as a historical date.26 The mistake lies in the narrowing down of the notion of
culture, leading to a reduced understanding and awareness of what culture does, hence to the
negligence of important aspects until they risk to get forgotten.
Active cultural participation, one element of factual evidence for the strategic relevance of culture
On the occasion of the first regional conference on culture of the EaP Culture Program in Tbilisi
in early August 2012, Ragnar Siil, one of the speakers, thankfully used a table from a paper prepared by Pier Luigi Sacco27 for the EC for pointing at cultural spillovers as an indicator for the
relevance of culture for society. The table is reproduced below. It makes a comparison between
the rankings of EU15 countries in terms of their innovative capacity as measured by the Innovation Scoreboard metrics, and the rates of active cultural participation of citizens as measured by
the Eurobarometer (2007) survey:
Fig 1 Sacco
The two rankings have been compiled completely independently from each other; they share no
data. The comparison shows that all countries being above EU27 average in the Innovation
Score-Board, are also above E27 average in the ranking on Active Artistic Participation. This is a
strong factual indicator for an existing interrelation between innovation and active cultural participation in societies. It can be assumed that active cultural participation shapes mind-sets and behaviours that are favourable for fostering creativity, resulting, amongst other, in a higher grade of
innovative problem solution. An updated set of data would be interesting; Ireland, for instance,
would be expected to score substantially better 10 years later.
Full press release of the European Parliament under
Sacco, Pier Luigi (2011): Culture 3.0: A new perspective for the EU 2014-2020 structural funds programming,
OMC Working Group on CCI
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The comparison could also indicate to another correlation, which is the one between extent and
duration of democratic freedom of a society and the grade of active cultural participation and
innovation, meaning society-wide creativity can only breath and grow on the grounds of consolidated and stable freedom. At least, this might be the reason why the three EU countries that were
under authoritarian regimes until the 70s of the 20th century appear at the end of both rankings.
Cultural participation’s crossover impact
In this paper Sacco summarises his analysis of the evolution of the economy of culture through
time, where he calls the next phase, Culture 3.0, which according to Sacco we are actually about
to enter. It is beyond the purpose of this paper to present the concept of Culture 3.0, but it’s
extremely worthwhile getting familiar with for who deals with the topics of societal development
and culture. In the described context the paper elaborates on what active cultural participation
means for the next phase of the cultural economy.
Sacco describes his approach as follows:
“The key of the argument lies in moving the focus from the economic outcomes of cultural activity to the behaviours that cause them: In order to understand the effects of culture outside of the cultural realm, we have to consider how cultural access changes the behaviour of individuals and groups. One of the most evident effects has to
do with the cornerstone of the Culture 3.0 phase: Active cultural participation.”28
Moving the focus from economic outcomes to behaviours does at the same time enlarge the view
from the culture sector to society.
Referring to the strategic importance of cultural innovation, Sacco elaborates on an impressive
amount of evidence of significant effects that cultural participation has across society: besides
innovation, of which we talked above, he mentions welfare, regenerative development (called
sustainability in the paper), social cohesion, new entrepreneurship models, lifelong learning, soft
power and local identityNow, cultural participation is only partly the result of activities of the culture sector, it is also
happening in schools, in the family, in recreational associations and clubs, and so on. If spillover
is the right term, it is certainly not a spillover of the culture sector alone. I would furthermore
argue that crossover is the more appropriate term in this case. The Oxford Dictionary describes
spillover as an instance of overflowing, the Cambridge Dictionary as effects of an activity that
have spread further than was originally intended. The term refers thus to somehow accidental
effects. But the impacts of cultural participation we are discussing here are not accidental effects;
they are direct or indirect effects of culture in action. Talking of crossover effects acknowledges
that culture impacts on society at large, comparable to crossover effects of the economy, the social domain, or even the environment. They all impact on society at large, none of the strategic
domains of societal development stand for themselves; they are all interrelated, interdependent
and interacting through crossover effects. There are good reasons why interdisciplinary approaches are required in nowadays-complex development planning.
The so far discussed two papers allow for the conclusion and deliver sufficient evidence for arguing that a) culture must be considered being one of the strategic pillars of contemporary public
development planning, and b) active cultural participation must be considered a core preoccupation of any societal development plans, not matter whether in advanced societies or in societies in
transition. They served for the purpose of motivating participatory culture policy reforms within
phase I of the Eastern Partnership Culture Program29, for conceiving two regional conferences
Sacco 2011:5
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on culture and for discussing national and local planning approaches as described previously. The
other tool developed for the purpose of the program has been a manual on collaborative culture
strategy elaboration processes.30
The need for a holistic integration of culture into public planning
European conventions, EU and national policy documents, public campaigns contain all the pertinent language, talking of sense of belonging, identity, diversity, inclusiveness, cultural heritage, creativity and
so on. Public campaigns tend to focus on the intrinsic value of culture (“Culture Matters”31, “Culture is Not a Luxury32”) or to communicate the growing contribution of culture to economic
growth. There are campaigns that discuss the question “what is culture and how does it work?”33,
too. In workshops the question regarding the notion of culture is often reduced to “what is the
culture sector?” and get usually answered with a graph (of concentric circles, for instance). Although experts underline the transversal nature of culture and the need for cross-sectorial interdisciplinary cooperation, and although the claim that cultural strategies need not only to be endorsed and implemented by all sectors of government, but also to be applied to all sectors, at the
end of the day, the planning processes produce regularly documents describing how to develop
the culture sector, not much more.
Estonia is the one mendable exception, demonstrating at the same time, the kind of questions the
cultural debate would have to face, for good reasons. Estonia’s constitution of 1992 states in its
preamble “preservation of the Estonian nation and culture among the main functions of the
state.34 The Culture Development Plan 2011-2014 describes the ministry’s mission: “to support
the maintenance and sustainability of the Estonian national cultural space”, which is said to be “a
far larger concept than creative arts and folk culture only.” The document defines national identity as “joint cultural belonging” and stresses the need for handing over the nation’s cultural “values, traditions, behavioural patterns and elements of life style” to the next generation and to “recent immigrants”. It is evident; nation building at the end of the Soviet Union has been the motivator for Estonian’s policy maker. Integrating culture strategically into overall policy making provokes a debate on central values: ethnically defined nation versus politically defined open society,
inclusiveness versus exclusiveness, integration through diversity versus integration through assimilation, and so on. But aren’t the big fractures that started to divide Europe in recent years the
effect of having led these debates? The priorities of cultural policies of Estonia, by the way, resulted as well in an essentially sector oriented plan.
In my understanding this is insufficient. I feel a need for shifting from a sector orientation to a
much broader apprehension of the phenomenon of culture. I was promoting the idea with
phrases such as “Take culture out of its box”, “Culture belongs right into the centre of society”,
31 European Commission, British Council
32 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
33 for instance Culture Action Europe CAE: their beautiful campaign “Why Culture Matters“ communicates a whole
range of elements belonging to a broad understanding of the notion culture. Nonetheless, this lobby-for-culturenetwork of European cultural organisations, some months ago decided in favour of a sector-oriented strategy.
34 Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends, initiated by the Council of Europe, country profile Estonia
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and “Culture has to interfere with society”. Lacking the theoretical means and expertise I could
not argue seriously.
Seen from a point of view outside the box of the culture sector, seen from society, the way the
sector communicates does not sound like the forceful call of a force within society that proudly
presents how it does contribute to society. It rather sounds like a group standing separate from
society claiming for support because what it does is important because of the inherent importance of what it does (intrinsic value simplified, with more elaborated reasoning with regard to
heritage, but still). An argumentation that does not necessarily become more convincing by the
“we too”-claim (“we too are contributing to economic growth and income generation.”) The
sector orientation expresses a defensive attitude that is not appropriate seen the real meaning of
culture. Again, it’s not wrong to cater for the culture sector needs. It’s the reduction to them,
which prevents culture from fully engaging with society and becoming a force that is part of the
solution in mastering the actual challenges. Imagine what a demand for cultural expertise would
be triggered by the simple recognition of culture as the 4th strategic pillar of societal development!
Two aspects might indicate the missing of a holistic approach:
1) With respect to economic impact, reference is made, for instance, to the highest growth
rates of tourism and to the potential that lies in the virtual cloud and the digital economy
for the creative economy. Tourism contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas
emissions; a study35 estimates that between 2009 and 2013 tourism’s global carbon footprint was four times higher than estimated. The cloud is not that virtual, insofar as it consists of heavy very tangible hardware and thousands of kilometres of cables. Its carbon
footprint is deemed to be equal to the one of Poland and.36 These are realities with which
culture should be dealing as well and it cannot afford to not have a stance on to what
kind of growth it wants to contribute or to whether growth is still an option for the future.
2) The above leads straight to the next aspect: values. Culture is not neutral. Culture has
wonderfully contributed to mankind’s wellbeing, it has made us who we are; and it has
been the masterfully handled tool of the worst totalitarian regimes in history. Culture is
connected to values, always; the attempt to disconnect it from values empties it from its
very meaning. Obviously, it cannot be “the culture sector” that is meant here, when talking of “culture”. I have already expressed the suspicion that the growing divide in our societies, in our countries as well as within the EU and beyond, could be the result of our
failure to deliver the narratives that keep us together in a changing world. Whom should
these narratives come from, if not from culture?
Financial markets being ahead of culture in grasping the relevance of culture and values for shaping the future
Some months ago, while working on this paper, a report on Swiss television made me aware of a
new trend in financial markets. A new business model is conquering financial markets that is
handling only assets which are in line with ESG standards, E standing for “Environment”, S for
“Social” and G for “Governance”, the “E” for economy being implicit in this business. The triple bottom line of corporate social responsibility is well known: economy, environment and social domain, the standard for sustainable development. What stands “G” – Governance for? Investopedia writes: “Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which a firm is diLenzen Manfred, et al (2018): The carbon footprint of global tourism
Thinking Sustainability to the End
rected and controlled.”37 This system of rules and practices forms the culture of a corporation; it represents its values. The television report described, how profitability of this new type of financial
investment is higher, especially on a long-term perspective. ESG has been an initiative of the
former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan38. Today, ESG investing is estimated to manage a
quarter of all professionally managed assets around the world. The term ESG was coined in 2005.
Thus, the debate in financial markets on adding culture and values to the framework that guides
financial management is on-going since 15 years, but still largely not existent in public planning
and widely unknown amongst cultural policy experts and scholars. A short search unveiled a large
debate within the financial sector and competition between different approaches having all the
same objective, to add a missing dimension for achieving sustainable results.
The new buzzwords are “Total Social Impact”39, “Net Positive”40, “Integrated Reporting”41, “The
Quadruple Bottom Line”42, “Multiple Capital Models”43, and there are more.
The last two approaches are of special interest for this paper.
The Quadruple Bottom Line represents and extension from the Triple Bottom Line along a concept that is close to the reflections developed in this paper. The article, which is linked in the
footnotes, says:
“Adding purpose to the mix: The conventional three bottom lines (people, planet, profit) are said to be “transparent”they can be seen and seen through. The fourth bottom line, called purpose, is often expressed as spirituality or culture.”
Interestingly, in June 2018, Elkington published an article in the Harvard Business Review under
the title “25 Years Ago I Coined the Phrase ”Triple Bottom Line”. Here’s Why It’s Time to Rethink it.”44 In
the article he recalls the TBL model for not having led to the intended system change, instead
having been captured and diluted by accountants and reporting consultants. He writes:
“Fundamentally, we have a hard-wired cultural problem in business, finance and markets. Whereas CEOs, CFOs, and
other corporate leaders move heaven and earth to ensure that they hit their profit targets, the same is very rarely true of
their people and planet targets. Clearly, the Triple Bottom Line has failed to bury the single bottom line paradigm”.
The Multiple Capital Model is based on the consideration that both, resources and relationships
are “capitals”. A number of models considering multiple capitals have been developed in the last
10 years, for instance by the World Bank and the OECD.
Both models above confirm the strategic dimension of culture, relationships and values.
Culture scholars on the catch-up chase
The present project, which provides the much-appreciated context within which this paper is
being presented, refers to the multiple capital models by its name: Passion Capital 3.0. Aiming at
stimulating a collaborative economy and a participatory governance of culture within small and
medium size cities, I would expect it to be confronted with issues on strategy matters evoked in
this paper and I look forward to new findings and innovative approaches that may emerge out of
the project.
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Sacco45 uses the term Cultural Capital in connection with a framework matrix model that he proposes for the strategic planning of what he calls System Wide Cultural Districts (SWCD) a new
form of horizontally coordinated clusters/districts/quarters in which a role of culture emerges
“as a system-wide leverage of coordination and cooperation among local actors within a social learning process focused on radical innovation practices”46 I will come back later to Sacco’s framework matrix.
The point, however, is that its main contribution to the new local development paradigm stems from its capacity to promote system-wide (horizontal) integration of diverse activities. That is to say, even if culture would not be profitable from a
sector-based perspective, it would nevertheless be a key developmental engine: This is why, rather than merely speaking of
cultural districts, we prefer to speak of system-wide cultural districts. 47
Sacco as well insists on a system-wide approach and by this confirms the strategic dimension of
the inclusion of culture into public planning, which is perceived as a must.
Daring to ask the right question
Having reached this point of the journey, I dared to ask the search engines the simple question:
“what is the fourth pillar of sustainability”.
The answer was extremely surprising; surprising because of the date when it has been answered
and surprising for not having crossed my table long time before. It’s not conceivable that this
work is not known in Europe or that it got forgotten over time. No reference to it appearing,
critical rejection can also be excluded. Maybe, the world 20 years back, in early internet-times,
was less connected
In short, I discovered a monograph by John Hawkes, published in Australia in 2001 with the title
“The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability, Culture’s essential role in public planning”.48
This monograph of barely 70 pages gave the surprising twist to my journey and to my mind leads
to the resolution of my story. It forced me to go back to square one and to revise my concept for
this paper. Everything was already said, and much better than I would have been able.
I will produce a summary of Hawkes’ monograph focusing on the elements that fit purpose. The
paper, back then, was addressing Australian culture policies.
Hawkes work aimed to demonstrate the value of largely ignored culture as a tool “in planning the
future and evaluating the past”49, as he worded it. He intended to argue that governments’ understanding of culture in planning service delivery and in evaluating activities had been limited; that
careful planning of cultural activities was crucial for the achievement of sustainability and wellbeing; that a cultural framework was to be developed for evaluating public planning; and that active
community participation in arts practice was an essential component of a healthy and sustainable
Already in 2001, Hawked had identified the relevant topics that nowadays still challenge cultural
Sacco Pier Luigi, et al (2013): Culture as an Engine of Local Development Processes: System-Wide Cultural Districts I: Theory
in Growth and Change Vol 44 pp 555-570
46 Sacco 2013:556
47 Sacco 2013:560
48 Hawkes, John (2001): The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability, Melbourne
49 Hawkes 2001:1
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The paper is structured along three aspects of culture: its meaning – its application – its results.
In describing the meaning of culture Hawkes states that culture is both, the message and the medium, the inherent values of culture as well as the means and the results of its social expression.
Furthermore, no facet of human intercourse that would not be enveloped by culture He insists
that culture is not the decoration added after society has dealt with basic needs, culture IS the
basic need.50 Culture is what makes us human.
In defining the notion of culture Hawkes distinguishes between three spheres
à values and aspirations
à the processes and mediums through which values and aspirations are being developed, received and transmitted, and
à the tangible and intangible manifestations of these values and aspirations in the real world.51
Reference is made to Grogan52, where the three spheres are called the “mind-set”, the “mediums”
and “the artefacts”.
The paper points at two usages of the word “culture” in everyday public discourse, leading to
misunderstandings or a division between official discourse and implemented practice: “culture”
meaning the values and (written with capital C) “Culture“ meaning the arts and the output of
artists. A revised edition nowadays probably, instead of “the arts” would talk of “the cultural and
creative sectors” (explicitly NOT “industries”, thus including the core culture sectors).
A paragraph on values elaborates on the fact that, explicitly formulated or not, any public policy
or activity is informed by the values of decision makers. Two questions are listed that need to be
answered with regard to public policy and decision-making: how can values held by decision
makers better reflect the values of the communities they serve, and vice-versa, how can values of
communities find voice and affect the values of decision makers.
Under “Culture and Government”53 the paper argues that “Cultural policy is often confused with
arts policy”54, quoting a statement by Yencken of 1982 (!), a sector orientation driven by the sector’s lobby, leading to an exaggerated emphasis on “industry”. This emphasis on the economic
dimension of culture, produced polices that focused on the third sphere, the tangible manifestations, specifically on transactions in the market place, rather than on wider issues that would belong to the first sphere of values and aspirations.
The fact that material wealth itself is but a means for achieving a healthy and happy life is overlooked and the
fact that culture is the context in which our aspirations are formed and expressed is ignored.55 But ‘[c]ulture’s
role is not exhausted as a servant of ends – though in the narrow sense of the concept this is one of its roles –
but it is the social basis of the ends themselves. Development and the economy are part of a people’s culture’56
Finally the paper observes, that while the rhetoric of government policy statements are informed
by the value sphere of culture, when it comes to the implementation, activities take a sector orientation, thus culture becoming Culture, according to the dual use of the word as described
“Developments in the Public Planning Arena” describes the appearance of new development
models, among others the Triple Bottom Line approach, and many community and well being
Hawkes 2001:3
Hawkes 2001:4
52 Grogan David et al (1995): The Cultural Planning Handbook: An Essential Australian Guide, Brisbane
53 Hawkes 2001:7
54 Yencken David (1982): The Deep Dung of Cash: Cultural Policiy in Australia, in Overland 88, Victoria
55 Hawkes 2001:8
56 From a summary of the visionary publication, World Commission on Culture and Development Our Creative
Diversity (1995) Paris, UNESCO.
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oriented approaches, all gaining support in policy circles as ways to enhancing the exclusively
economic view of the world that had dominated policy-shaping for decades but in-between had
unveiled of being insufficient for ensuring a healthy society. The grown awareness on limited
resources and researches demonstrating economic growth having left groups excluded added
environmental sustainability and social wellbeing to the agenda. However, none of the three paradigms (economy, environment, social domain) acknowledged the cultural nature of the issues
with which they were dealing with.57
Nor indeed do any display a rigorous approach to culture at all. Most seem to have tacitly accepted an ‘arts
plus’ assumption about culture. This approach has marginalised the concept of culture and denied theorists and
practitioners an extremely effective tool.
In the second chapter “The Application of Culture” Hawkes elaborates on the relationship between culture and the key concepts that informed the emerging planning frameworks, along the
topics “Sustainable Development”, “Wellbeing”, “Diversity”, “Globalisation and Distinctiveness”, “Engagement, Active Citizenship and Civil Society”, “Creativity and Innovation”, “Community Building, Cohesion Capacity and Social Capital”, “Liveability and Quality of Life”, “Identity and Character”, “Belonging and a Sense of Place”, “Ethics and Morality”, “Progress and Development”, “Vitality”, and “The Arts”.
Alone the list of topics is astonishing for a 20 years old paper. I am looking forward to the feedback the present paper will evoke; in my understanding, the choice of topics and how Hawkes
elaborates on them is still of highest actuality at the end of the second decade of the second millennium.
The following quotes, from Hawkes or from quotes he quotes, all dating back to 2001 and before, shall illustrate my statement. I will otherwise not further describe this second chapter, reading the original is recommended.
‘Sustainable development and the flourishing of culture are interdependent.’
Principle 1 from the Action Plan formulated at the Intergovernmental Conference on
Cultural Policies for Development, Stockholm, 3–4/9858
A society cannot survive unless it is able to develop and maintain, amongst its constituents, a shared expression of, and commitment to, ‘a sense of meaning and purpose’. Developing and maintaining this
sense is cultural action.59
As with all cultural matters, the need to foster diversity is not simply a moral imperative. (...) cultural
democracy involves the exercise of rights, not simply the availability of opportunity60
We are all one, we are all different. Coping with this contradictory truth is a great challenge. (…) Perhaps authenticity is a better concept to apply in this context than distinctiveness. That is, it may be more
productive to concentrate on ensuring that the cultural manifestations in a community have a direct relationship with the culture of that community than to obsess on what makes a particular community different from, or better than, any other.61
Hawkes 2001:10
UNESCO (1998): Final Report Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development
59 Hawkes 2001:13
60 Hawkes 2001:14
61 Hawkes 2001:15
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There is an increasing awareness that more and more people are feeling disengaged from ‘their’ society.
(...) Once again, this is a cultural problem, and one that requires cultural solutions. That is, before it is
too late, ways must be found to re-engage the body politic. In a vital society, the meaning we make of our
lives is something we do together, not an activity to be left to others, no matter how skilled, or representative, they may claim to be.62
‘The twentieth century has transformed the entire planet from a finite world of certainties to an infinite world of questioning and doubt. So if ever there was a need to stimulate creative imagination and initiative on the part of individuals, communities and
whole societies the time is now. The notion of creativity can no longer be restricted to
the arts. It must be applied across the full spectrum of human problem-solving.’
World Commission on Culture and Development 199563
Cultural capital is the glue that holds a society together; social capital is the lubricant
that allows it to operate smoothly.64
Concepts such as urban iconography and neighbourhood character are grappling with community perceptions of what is valuable in their surroundings and attempting to allow this awareness to affect the public
planning process. Once again, this is culture in action65.
There is no doubt that the residents of a city or region identify themselves as being of that place (the big
picture) but each has many other identities that gradually focus down until we come to the unique individual (..) we all have a score of other identities: family, gender, work place, age, sporting club, drinking
hole, community group, religion, birth place, parents’ birth places, educational associations, artistic
tastes, fashion choice, sexual preference… A public plan must facilitate the celebration of all these identities, respect their existence, and use them to stimulate the vitality of the whole.66
Morality and ethics are simply a practical and overt application of culture.67
To achieve “ecological growth” we may need to move from an economy of production to
an economy of repair – of our damaged society, of our damaged environment, even of our
used products. The Swedes call this the “ecocyclic society”.’
B. Gleeson & N. Low68
(…) cultural vitality and authenticity may be more useful concepts than cultural development in this new
world of sustainability (…) a healthy society has a healthy culture and health is meaningless in the
absence of life. Culture is not a pile of artefacts – it is us; the living, breathing sum of us. 69
Hawkes 2001:16
UNESCO (1995): Summary of WCCD Our Creative Diversity, Paris
64 Hawkes 2001:18
65 Hawkes 2001:19
66 Hawkes 2001:20
67 Hawkes 2001:21
68 Gleeson, Brendan et al (2000): Australian Urban Planning: New challenges, new agendas, St Leonards; page 223.
69 Hawkes 2001:22,23
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(..) what we can learn from history is that a society makes (or discovers) meaning
through its arts. In our pursuit of a democracy that really does engage all citizens, that
facilitates active participation from the entire spectrum of the body politic, the democratisation of arts practice has to be at the forefront of our strategies.70
Chapter 2 closes with a critical discussion of “Ecologically Sustainable Development and the Triple Bottom Line, an approach that in 2001 just had become the standard of contemporary planning, seven years after the phrase had been coined by Elkington.
The four pillars of sustainability ‘Sustainability, as it has become formally adopted around
the world, has not one but three pillars: ecological sustainability, social sustainability and
economic sustainability. Some would argue that there should be four pillars and that cultural
sustainability should always be included. We agree with this view.’
D. Yencken and D. Wilkinson71
Ecologically sustainable development (ESD) with its three dimensions – economic, social and
environmental, has become the mantra of contemporary planning
Without a foundation that expressly includes culture, the new frameworks are bereft of the
means of comprehending, let alone implementing, the changes they promote. Culture has to be a
separate and ‘distinct’ reference point. Which is to say that the four pillars of sustainability are:72
vitality: wellbeing, creativity, diversity and innovation.
equity: justice, engagement, cohesion, welfare.
responsibility: ecological balance.
viability: material prosperity.
And thus we find one of the first descriptions of the Quadruple Bottom Line approach in a
monograph on culture in public planning, written only seven years after an economist had conceived the Triple Bottom Line.
It is worthwhile reminding some contextual elements of that period connected to cultural policies, to make us aware that Hawkes has not been a lonely wolf in Downunder. Yencken, to
whom Hawkes refers several times, has been an early partisan of culture as a pillar for sustainability. An article of the New Zealand Herald of 31 October 200273 reports on a controversial debate
Triple versus Quadruple Bottom Line, after Prime Minister Helen Clark returned from the Earth
Summit held in Johannesburg, where culture had bee added to the sustainability agenda, inspired
by Jacques Chirac’s reference to the Quadruple Bottom Line (which implies, that the notion was
known in France in 2002).
In 2004, Elkington questioned his phrase in an article referenced to in the exposition (Elkington
2004) in which he asked The triple bottom line, does it all add up?: assessing the sustainability of business and
In 2009 Romanian civil society activists initiated the Cultural Foundation Rosia Montana with the
objective to protecting the heritage of Romania through sustainable development. On their web-
Hawkes 2001:24
Yencken, David. Et al (2000): Resetting the Compass: Australia’s journey towards sustainability, Victoria; page 9.
72 Hawkes 2001:25
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site the NGO elaborates on how it understands sustainable development. The graph on the next
page is the visualisation of their four- pillar approach74 as published on their website.
Under the Agenda 21 for Culture, the Executive Bureau of the UCLG (United Cities and Local
Governments), approved the Policy Statement “Culture is the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable
Development” on 17 November 2010, in the framework of the World Summit of Local and
Regional Leaders - 3rd World Congress of UCLG, held in Mexico City”.75 According to its website, the UCLG is the global platform of cities, organisations and networks to learn, to cooperate
and to launch policies and programs on the role of culture in sustainable development.
Fig 2 Rosia Montana Cultural Foundation
All this, while in the EU, only in 2005 the European Commission releases a communication to
the Council of Europe76 on guiding principles for sustainable development which states: “Key
Objectives: Environmental Protection, Social Equity and Cohesion, Economic Prosperity, Meeting our International Responsibilities”. The communication comes at a moment, where the Triple Bottom Line is
already seriously questioned. Thus, Europe lags behind from the beginning with regard to the
global discourse on sustainability and the role of culture in it.
There can be no doubt anymore, that culture IS the fourth pillar of sustainable or regenerative
development, at least for whomever is working with culture or has culture as a field of research. I
hope that the project Passion Capital 3.0 cooperating with small and medium size cities on stimulating new forms of collaborative economy and participatory governance will be an opportunity
for contributing to making the level of the European discourse on such a crucial topic of strategic
dimension match with the global debate.
My journey has come to the end. I found the answer to my question and I am satisfied to see that
considerations motivated by practical experience match find findings of scholars. I am however
deceived that I got familiar with an essential piece of work regarding culture in public planning
only almost twenty years after it has been published.
76 EC (2005): Communication from the Commission To the Council of the European Parliament - Draft Declaration on Guiding
Principles for Sustainable Development, Bruxelles
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The journey had the purpose of finding the fourth pillar of sustainability. Once the answer found,
however, is just the beginning of a next journey, which is drawing conclusions and putting them
into action.
Having established that this role belongs to culture, the next journey will be to make sure it is
integrated into appropriate planning frameworks, with the purpose to make public planning coherent with the four pillars.
In chapter 3 of Hawkes monograph, “The Results of Culture”, conclusions are drawn in the form
of what he calls practical mechanisms. He mentions four such mechanisms: restructuring, a cultural framework, cultural indicators, specific policy development and further instrumental initiatives. In a number of sections specific sectors are analysed with respect to restructuring needs,
such as education, communication, the constructed environment, the arts, history and heritage,
recreation and leisure, and sport. The analyses refer to Australia in 2001 but are worthwhile to be
taken notice of. Hawkes also proposes a set of cultural indicators covering three main areas,
which are Content; Practice; and Results. I will not elaborate on these topics, as they are not
within the scope of this paper.
There is however one topic that I would like to use, for completing my report on results of my
research. Hawkes proposes the elaboration of a cultural framework. This topic allows me to
close the circle between what Hawkes has been reflecting upon in 2001 and models and ideas
proposed by Sacco in these recent years.
Hawkes on frameworks
A ‘Cultural Framework’: just as social, environmental and economic filters are applied to all policy, so
should it be for culture.77
Hawkes proposes to structure the framework along the three spheres of which culture consist:
values (content); processes and mediums (practice); manifestations (results), as described on
page 15 above, on which cultural indicators are to be applied.
Sacco too, in 2013 suggested a strategic framework for cultural planning. What he presented is
however a far more elaborated model of a strategic framework matrix78. A fascinating aspect of
the proposed methodology is that according to Sacco it can be taken as a basis for the development of a full-blown society-wide planning approach. Thus, the framework matrix could be the
tool for a Quadruple Bottom Line planning approach with a strong cultural component.
The methodology of the framework matrix includes two vectors.
The first vector revolves around three main tenets: Themes, Facilities and Critical Dimensions. ‘Themes’ relate to the sectorial/sub-sectorial partition; ‘facilities’ cover the tangible and
intangible infrastructure, while the ‘critical dimensions’ refer to a set of 12 developmental factors
belonging to five groups: quality, genius loci, attraction, sociality, networking.
The twelve critical dimensions79
1 Quality of Cultural Supply (QCS)
2 Quality of Local Governance (QLG)
3 Quality of the Production of Knowledge (QPK)
Hawkes 2001: 27
Sacco, Pier Luigi, et al (2013): A Conceptual Regulatory Framework for the Design and Evaluation of Complex, Participative
Cultural Planning Strategies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Vol 37.5
79 Sacco 2013:1697
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Genius Loci
4 Development of Local Entrepreneurship (DLE)
5 Development of Local Talent (DLT)
6 Attraction of External Firms and Investments (AEF)
7 Attraction of External Talent (AET)
8 Management of Social Criticalities (MSC)
9 Capability Building and Education of the Local Community (CBE)
10 Local community involvement (LCI)
11 Internal Networking (INW)
12 External Networking (ENW)
The second vector consists of the multiple capitals (natural, physical, human, social, symbolic).
The framework matrix for participatory compiling
By logical combination of the three main tenets (Themes, Facilities and Critical Dimentsion),
strategic matrices can be produced each for specific policy purposes. 80
Comparing the two models, I do not yet perceive how the ‘values/content’ of Hawkes fits into
Sacco’s matrix model, something that I deem to be crucial for preserving the strategic notion of
culture as opposed to a sector oriented Culture.
The complexity of Sacco’s model might however require a long breath until it is accepted, integrated and applied by authorities, planning experts and civil society.
Hands-on simple framework to used by everybody
In a simple practice oriented approach, I dare to suggest a hands-on framework that is easy to
understand and can be immediately applied. Its lack of complexity, however, diminishes its degree of ‘objectivity’ and may risk to end in impasses in case of very diverging interests deducing
very differing conclusions in applying the framework. On the other side, shaping the compromise
from diverging interests is a core function of democracy and it can be assumed that even complex matrices will not lead ‘automatically’ to broadly shared evaluations of the past and plans for
activities in the future without needing any further debate.
Sacco 2013:1698
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My simple framework should be read in first instance, as an illustration of what I mean by sustainable societal planning with culture being integrated as a strategic paradigm.
Essentially it consists in asking four set questions at any level of decision-making. 1) Which existing economic, environmental, social and cultural factors (conditions, circumstances) need being
taken into consideration; 2) How are these factors interrelated, how do they interact, and which
are the conclusions to be drawn from these findings with regard to the decision/plan? 3) Which
economic, environmental, social and cultural impacts/changes are expected as a result of the
plan/decision? 4) Do the expected results interrelate or interact negatively, what corrections to
optimise overall impacts. Sustainable decision-making would thus consider the four paradigm
spheres with equal priority and relevance, seeing with four eyes and walking on four legs.
Which direct or indirect factors impact on the object, needing to be considered for the plan?
Cultural Factors
Social Factors
Environmental Factors
Economic Factors
How do these factors interrelate – conclusions?
Object of planning/
strategy, policy, action
How do planned impacts/results interrelate – conclusions?
Cultural Factors
Social Factors
Environmental Factors
Economic Factors
Which impacts/cost/damages/benefits are expected as the result of the plan/decision, needing
horizontal coordination?
Which expected or not expected factors impacted on the expected results, producing which effective result and with what variance to the plan (+/-)?
Cultural Factors
Social Factors
Environmental Factors
How did impacting factors interrelate?
Implemented plan/
strategy, policy, action
Economic Factors
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Project cycle management and evaluation guidelines and principles are not replaced by the above
scheme. The scheme is meant to coordinate and inform the set of considerations that need to be
undertaken, while planning or evaluating in view of obtaining sustainable results.
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c) Bibliography: Name, Full Prename (Year) DOUBLE-POINT: Title [italics] COMMA Place.
Hawkes, Jon (2001): The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability, Melbourne
De Beukelaer, Duxbury (2014): Real sustainable development requires change through culture, The Conversation
Commented [LG1]: Still to be done
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Annex 1 The Vinnytsia 2020 Development Strategy (2013)81
In summary, the strategy looks as follows:
Based on a PEST Analysis (Politics, Economy, Social, Technology) and a SWOT Analysis (internal Strengths and Weaknesses, external Opportunities and Threads), the document defines vision
and mission, as well as key principles that guide the city development and sets then the strategic
priorities. For each priority a number of goals are identified; under each goal appropriate
measures to be taken are listed, complemented by indicators to monitor achievement.
Vinnytsia in 2020 – a City of friendly and smiling people, SMILE
Strong community, Modern, Interesting, Liveable and Energetic City
“We believe that citizens of Vinnytsia will greet every day of their life with a
smile, favour to each other and with welcoming smile for visitors; with
proud feelings that they are residents of a City with a strong community, a
modern, interesting, liveable city that is full of energy.”
Vinnytsia to provide for becoming a Comfortable City, an Innovative City,
a European City, and a Regional Centre.
Key Principles:
Social capital improvement, a key ingredient of city development;
Sustainability as the basic development principle,
Competitiveness as a fundamental present challenge.
Strategic Priorities: 1 A strong community built82
2 Economic development with high and quality employment
3 Environmental sustainability and improvement of communal services
4 Social quality
5 Coherent urban and spatial development
1.1 Strengthened civil society
Measures: Expand CSO participation, stimulate CSO development
develop urban identity (through citizens’ participation in local projects
and local government)
1.2 Improved efficiency and effectiveness of local government
1.3 Public services are citizen-focused
1.4 Expand communication and cooperation to the region and abroad
2.1 Supportive climate for sustainable business created
2.2 Infrastructure for SME’s developed
Measures: cluster development, technology park, industrial zones, business support centre
2.3 Skilled and educated workforce
2.4 Private investment attracted
3.1 Improved transport system ensures high mobility
3.2 Energy efficiency and environmental protection
3.3 Communal services delivered according to European standards
4.1 Child-friendly city
4.2 Youth city
Measures: youth policy, health, education, economic independency
participation in the social life.
Priorities where culture is expected to play a role are marked by italic letters, the same applies to goals, in which
case also the measures are listed under the relevant goal
Thinking Sustainability to the End
4.3 Healthy city
4.4 City of culture
Measures: support to cultural quality, cultural events, capacity building
in the sector, investment in cultural infrastructure.
4.5 City of social cohesion
Measures: Social security, social assistance services, active aging, social inclusion,
social and affordable housing.
5.1 Holistic approach to urban development
Measures: spatial development strategy, general plan and land-use-zoning,
design and development concepts.
5.2 Compact City
Measures: define optimum city borders, coordinate land use and transport planning,
support densification and diversification, creation of sub-centres, combining work,
education, services, recreation and entertainment; improving public space network,
improving quality of architectural and design decisions.
5.3 City over the Bug river
Measures: river space developed as part of the urban space, green public space,
use of the river banks areas.
5.4 Quality housing with options
Measures: implement modern standards in housing, develop condominium
associations, stimulate renovation of buildings, focus on building medium scale.
5.5 Delivering a creative urban space
Measures: creative networking, cultural and sports centres, improved service
infrastructure, designing a vibrant public space
5.6 City driven by knowledge and success
Measures: Revitalise abandoned industrial spaces (“brownfields”), favour business
cluster planning, assist in creating experimental and production spin-offs of
educational institutions.
Compatibility with EU policies:
the document proves by comparison of priorities how the Vinnytsia strategic priorities are in line with the Europe 2020 strategy of the EU, which
puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities: smart growth, sustainable
growth and inclusive growth.
Implementation/Monitoring: The document then describes a three-part implementation model
based on 1) annual operational plans and budgets 2) strategy communication processes and 3) monitoring and strategy adaption according to findings, for which a committee is created composed by representatives of city
authorities, civil society, local business, educators and researchers.
Thinking Sustainability to the End
Annex 2 The Tbilisi City Development Plan (2011)83
Tbilisi – the City that loves you!
The city of Tbilisi intends to offer its citizens a high quality of life and provide services that will allow it to cater for the needs of its users. The city will
be managed in a sustainable way, with an increase in service levels and reduction in pollution levels and appropriate use of energy resources (renewable and non-renewable).
In addition, the city intends to be attractive to tourists and business people
alike, offering an environment conducive to do business in, provide a safe
and profitable climate for investors and an attractive environment that
shows the Georgian identity.
The City of Tbilisi wants to:
• Be a key player in the region
connected to the world, globally competitive and attractive, an engine of the Caucasian region
Play a proactive role
dynamic, active and safe, with high aspiration and skills
Be sensitive
respectfully revitalized, carefully designed and built, environmentally friendly, open to
its citizens
Be balanced
a diverse metropolis, well managed, impartial and with a high level of service
Tbilisi, a world-class metropolis adapting to global challenges, a dynamic
and trustworthy business partner, offering high-quality living within a sustainable and well-managed environment.
Strategic Objectives84: 1 Worldwide Connected City
Enhance the connectivity of Tbilisi as a strategic, well-equipped location between
Europe and Asia.
2 Competitive City
Sustain an innovative and productive economy closely linked to the development of
human capital.
3 Attractiveness and Liveability
Improve the quality of the natural and built environment and sustain affordable urban
services and utilities
4 Well Governed City
Increase the performance of the public administration and citizens’ participation in the
public decision-making process
1.1 Accessibility and Mobility (Airport, Ring-Road)
1.2 City Net (Internet)
1.3 People Connected to People
Projects: Olympic Village, International cultural events
2.1 Competitive Economy
Projects: industrial clusters. Business-parks,
2.2 Creative Economy
Projects: high-tech research and development facilities, green energy research,
education in CCI, campus for creative and innovative technology and arts,
Objectives where culture is expected to play a role are marked by italic letters, the same applies to programs and
Thinking Sustainability to the End
research institute for biomedical and pharmaceutical industry
2.3 Enterprising Economy
Projects: advisory and training centres, incubators, arts & craft production,
agro-industry and markets
2.4 Tourism Industry
Projects: diversify tourism centres, facilities for business visitors, hotels, hostels,
wellness cluster
2.5 Develop Labour Force
Projects: vocational training, training for unemployed
3.1 Green City
Projects: green spaces, botanic garden and zoo rehabilitation, recreation facilities,
amusement parks creation of pedestrian zones, revitalisation of riverbanks, establish
green city cadastre
3.2 Cultural Heritage
Projects: Rehabilitation of building stock, collect information on heritage sites, art
centre network, elaborate guidance for historic areas, professional training centre for
conservation workers
3.3 Public Building and Housing
Projects; energy efficiency in public admin buildings and big apartment houses,
creating condominium associations, develop private housing
3.4 Social Inclusion Services (medical, educational and social services in hygienic, safe
Projects: urban health infrastructure, free annual medical check-ups, modernise
universities, schools and kindergarten, citizen in school management, ease access for
disadvantaged, support NGO who care for vulnerable groups
3.5 Urban Transport and Traffic Management
Projects: road infrastructure, parking scheme, access to new recreation zones,
municipal transport, integrated traffic control management/centre, extend highways,
build bridges & tunnels, extend metro
3.6 Municipal Utilities (water quality & network, sewerage network, wastewater
management & plant)
3.7 City Sites Regeneration & Hazard Risk Protection
Projects: brownfield d development, secure land-slide areas
4.1 Urban Management
Projects: strategy implementation unit, demographic data centre, quality management,
enterprise partnership, promoting Tbilisi abroad, Olympic organisation, financial
management capacity of city hall
4.2 Civic Engagements
Projects: city strategy website, toolkit for public participation, citizen’s information
4.3 Human Resource Development
Projects: municipal staff training, international best practice exchange
4.4 Public Finance
Projects: increase budget revenues (fees, taxes, sell properties), tax collection,
participatory budgeting