On May 2013, the first International Congress, specifically focusing on the linkages between culture and sustainable development, organized by UNESCO since the Stockholm Conference in 1998 took place in Hangzhou (China). As a result of this event, delegates adopted a declaration entitled “Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies“ urging governments, civil society and the private sector to harness the power of culture in addressing the world’s most pressing developmental challenges such as environmental sustainability, poverty and social inclusion.
Those challenges are faced by local authorities and in particular cities. In cities and their neighbourhoods, people of Europe live and think, dream and despair, create and consume, partner and fight. What local authorities with their constituencies decide shapes the future of Europe. A sustainable Europe largely depends on daily decisions by local authorities.
What role culture can play in the urban and territorial development? How including culture as part of the local development strategy can be key to ensure sustainability at local level, but also at national and European levels?