European Capitals of Culture: Success Strategies and Long-Term Effects

Study 15-11-2013

The European City/Capital of Culture Programme was launched in 1985 and the ECoC title has been awarded to nearly 60 cities in 30 countries. The Programme has become a key platform for city positioning and a catalyst for economic and cultural regeneration. Immediate cultural, social and economic impacts are common and the capacity to secure long-term effects, though harder to evidence, has grown in key areas such as urban image change and tourism development. The latter is evidence of the stronger commitment towards sustainable legacy planning and ever more defined and locally sensitive vision statements. This report documents common approaches and success strategies, highlights the strongest claims of long-term effect and analyses recurrent challenges that limit the Programme’s ability to reach its full potential. Key recommendations are the establishment of a standardised evaluation framework, greater emphasis on comparative research and the creation of a formal knowledge transfer programme so that future hosts can better benefit from the wealth of experience developed in the last three decades.