Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Interreg Baltic Sea Region

What is Cultural Planning?

Over this past two decades, this approach often referred to as “cultural planning” has offered alternatives to the mainstream public authority approach to urban planning, which is often lead by infrastructural led, investment, top down and long-term planning and primarily concerned with a spatial approach.

Here you can find a poster in german language.​​​​​​​

The cultural panning approach is closely linked to a number of key elements:

  • Using the neighbourhood (physical/infrastructure) and the community (human/cultural) as the human framework for strategic change, and this approach covers both the aspect of engagement, of resources, of identity and of sharing responsibility and ownership of the program.
  • Using the enabling capacity of cultural processes, creative industries and of cultural magnates and attractions to form and boost the identity of communities and to communicate a process of change which can engage the larger community.
  • Using arts and culture to stimulate innovation and to engage communities with creative processes and thus generating social innovation and using co-creation and knowledge exchange.
  • Interpreting the need to create sustainable cities as something which needs to be based on culture of sharing resources, skill-sharing, sharing of visions and sharing of environment and urban infrastructure.


“Analytically urban culture is the new metaphor for collective life and the new space for exploring both identity and difference”

Jenks, 2005

The 5 phases of Cultural Planning

1. Cultural Mapping (CM)

The role and methodology of CM and individual mapping formats with stakeholders/ artists and community to create a common knowledge platform covering character, identity, resources of the neighborhood /town.

2. Visioning

Creating a common platform and process to imagine future state of society/ neighborhood and to explore possibilities of change using a.o. artistic, gaming, digital tools.

3. Designing

The formation of open inclusive design and co-creative processes to design concrete projects with specific user groups/neighborhood groups e.g. children/ youths, examples of organizing projects/ programmes  for culturally driven change.

4. Implementing and Managing

The on-going process of sustaining and connecting with the community and city/ stakeholders and external partners and the (self) management of complex projects with multiple stakeholders.  

5. Anchoring/ Diffusion/ Learning strategy

Sustainability (social, urban, resources) as the key to securing a long term “legacy” and integrate the project in to strategic programs of the city/ region business models etc. How to ensure dissemination and learning of cultural planning?