We all know that both cities and the culture and creativity sectors have been hit particularly hard by the current COVID-19 pandemic, with large cities often containing the greatest share of jobs at risk. Cultural institutions have lost large shares of expected revenues and according to one estimate 1 in 8 museums may never reopen again. This is bad news not only for artists and cultural professionals but also for the entire city as the are the backbone of the cities and their growth.
Most of the artists are struggling to make ends meet and are often without access to social safety nets. According to Unesco, up to 90 percent of World Heritage properties have been shut down during the pandemic, along with halts in intangible cultural heritage practices and a massive drop in global tourism and mobility, with devastating economic consequences for communities whose livelihoods depend on these activities.
At the same time, its also true that COVID-19 has also brought to light the importance of culture as an invaluable resource that can be tapped into to support the resilience of affected communities, to rebuild societies, to foster economic development and contribute to post-crisis recovery.
To ensure a thriving and resilient creative economy and to enable our creative cities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take urgent action to support decision makers in facilitating their recovery, and enable the cultural and creative industries to continue to make important contributions to cities along the social, economic and spatial dimensions.
It’s worth noting that the United Nations’ declaration of the year 2021 as the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development and the opportunity provided by this declaration should be made full use of promote the creative economy and sustainable urban development towards creating opportunities for inclusive economic growth and for the empowerment of local communities.
World is urbanizing fast and its expected that 7 in 10 people globally will reside in urban areas by 2050 and cities are the epicenters of the creative economy. More than 80% of the global economy is generated in cities. This includes a large portion of the creative economy, which prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, contributed annual global revenues that were estimated to have reached US$2,250 billion and employed more young people than any other sector.
Culture and creativity are tremendous assets for local communities. They feed the creative economy, which is one of the fastest- growing sectors of the world economy with respect to income generation, job creation, and export earnings. Therefore, protecting culture and creativity make lot of economic sense too.