cultural heritage mistra urban futures

Cultural Heritage and Just Cities

Culture has been increasingly entering the global urban agenda – being recognised within the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, Agenda 2063 and through Agenda 21 that argues for culture to be recognised as the fourth pillar of sustainability. Cultural policy mobility through instruments such as UNESCO Conventions have resulted in a growing recognition for the important of cultural policy, and since Habitat III, this has increasingly coalesced around the urban. With this comes a range of risks and opportunities, and the purpose of this project is to explore how cultural heritage can better contribute to realising more just cities in different contexts.

To date the project team have produced a report on the cultural heritage and urban development through the lens of festivals; an article for a Special Issue in the International Journal of Cultural Heritage; have engaged in collaborative writing and speaking –CHIME Conference and have collaborated in the search for new funding. This has culminated in a new project funded by the British Academy on Mapping and Mobilising Heritage Values for Sustainable Urban Development. 

Current priorities include 

Contributing / shaping global debate and narratives on culture and development. This will involve engaging the SDGs, New Urban Agenda, Agenda 2063, Agenda 21 and other relevant documents, in the interest of exploring how these narratives can contribute to the process of realising just cities. 

Comparing the implementation of cultural planning, mapping and cultural impact assessments in the various Local Platforms. Cultural planning is about surfacing cultural practices and leveraging cultural and place identities through integrating culture into urban planning processes. The Gothenburg Platform is planning to implement the City-developed CIA tool in collaboration with officials. The Cape Town Platform is working with the City of Cape Town to implement and monitor cultural mapping and planning.  The Kisumu Platform is eager to implement a cultural mapping and planning process. This project will therefore collaborate and compare the implementation of cultural planning in three Local Platforms.

Securing funding through joint exploration of our work, for instance around cultural economy discourses in the Global South


It is acknowledged that culture and cultural heritage are necessary components in a process aiming at ‘Realising Just Cities’. This project draws on experience, knowledge and outcome of projects from different Local Platforms to inform policies and disseminate recommendations, knowledge and experience to a wider audience and to other cities, local governments and regions. 


Perry, B., Ager, L., & Sitas, R. (2019). Cultural heritage entanglements: festivals as integrative sites for sustainable urban development. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 1–16. doi:10.1080/13527258.2019.1578987
Type: Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Jones, P., Perry, B., Long, P. (2019). Introduction: bringing communities and culture together. In P. Jones, B. Perry, P. Long (Eds) Cultural intermediaries connecting community: revisiting approaches to cultural engagement. (Chapter 1). Bristol: Policy Press.
Type: Book chapter
Perry, B., Symons, J. (2019). Towards cultural ecologies: why urban cultural policy must embrace multiple cultural agendas. In P. Jones, B. Perry, P. Long (Eds) Cultural intermediaries connecting community: revisiting approaches to cultural engagement (Chapter 4). Bristol: Policy Press.
Type: Book chapter
Perry, B. (2019). Governing the creative city: the practice, value and effectiveness of cultural intermediation. In P. Jones, B. Perry and P. Long (Eds) Cultural intermediaries connecting community: revisiting approaches to cultural engagement. (Chapter 8). Bristol: Policy Press.
Type: Book chapter
Jones, P., Perry, B., Long, P. (2019) Conclusion: where next for cultural intermediation? In P. Jones, B. Perry, P. Long (Eds). Cultural intermediaries connecting community: revisiting approaches to cultural engagement (Chapter 17). Bristol: Policy Press.
Type: Book chapter


  • Festivals as Integrative Sites

Project members

  • Rike Sitas

    Ph.D. Researcher at ACC since 2013. Coordinates Mistra Urban Futures,, Cities Alliance Africa Think Tank, Public Art and the Power of Place. Fascinated by the intersection of culture and cities, and more speicifically the role of art in urban life. Unpacking the notions of public space and public life in Southern cityness.

    Contact me
Victoria Simpson

Victoria Simpson is the Research Programme Coordinator of the Sheffield-Manchester Local Interaction Platform for Mistra Urban Futures. After teaching, research and management appoints, Victoria joined the Urban Institute in September 2016. Drawing on her research background, Victoria coordinates support across a portfolio of UK and EU research grants.

Helene Brembeck

Helene Brembeck is Professor at the Center for Consumer Research (CCR), Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI).

Niklas Sörum

PhD, forskare, Göteborgs universitet, Centrum för konsumtionsvetenskap

Fredrick Z.A. Odede

Dr. Fredrick Z.A. Odede is a Deputy Lead Researcher at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.

Patrick O. Hayombe

Dr. Patrick Hayombe is the Dean of School of Spatial Planning and Natural Resource Management at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Te.hnology 

Vaughn Sadie

Vaughn Sadie is Research Assistant at the African Centre for Cities, ACC.

Alicia Furtuin

Alicia Furtuin is a Research Project Assistant at the African Centre for Cities, Cape Town.

Laura Ager

Laura Ager is a freelance event organiser and film programmer. She is currently a PhD candidate at the SURF Centre, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford Manchester, on the AHRC Cultural Intermediation project. She is researching how universities interact with urban creative economies, with a particular focus on the role of festivals as networks of creating and distributing meaning and value.