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What is MCPI?
Members of the Municipal Cultural Planning Incorporated (MCPI) have come together out of a shared belief in the power of culture to transform local economies and communities. It began with a small working group led by the Ontario Ministry of Culture in 2003 that set out to organize a series of Municipal Cultural Planning Forums. Ten Forums took place between 2005 and 2007 attracting almost 1800 people, with strong representation from senior municipal leaders.
MCPI was subsequently formed as a coalition of provincial government agencies, municipalities, cultural service organizations, post-secondary institutions and others dedicated to promoting MCP across the province.
Why Cultural Planning?
MCP touches touch many important issues in your community: public art and urban design, youth engagement, immigration and diversity, building strong, healthy neighbourhoods, and more. Creativity and culture builds community pride. It is the basis of the shared identity that gives communities the capacity to work together to achieve shared goals.
One of the strengths of MCP is that it embraces a broader definition of culture including the traditions and forms of expression of diverse communities. It is a tool for combating social exclusion and enabling all groups to participate fully in the economic and social life of the community.
Glen Murray & Greg Baeker, "Culture + Place=Wealth Creation", Municipal World, Sept. 2006, p.14
Cultural mapping is the first step and defining feature of Municipal Cultural Planning. It is a tool for deepening understanding of local cultural systems and engaging communities in this process. With a completed cultural map in hand, the next step in the Municipal Cultural Planning process is the identification of opportunities to leverage resources for larger economic and community benefit, build on and enhance the strengths of existing resources and addresses gaps and deficiencies.1
While the outcomes of cultural mapping can be applied in a number of ways, the results have a particular bearing on tourism product development. An important part of tourism market readiness is clearly understanding what your community has to offer and what it lacks. Mapping facilitates this analysis. As an economic sector, tourism takes existing businesses from many diverse sectors and shifts them into new external markets. Like the creative class, travellers are always looking for new and different experiences. Culturally rich environments are a draw.
1. Artscape, Spacemaking in Culture-Led Regeneration, p.7
“Remix works because we are working at the root of the problem…we understand it because we live it. Young people in the GTA do not lack talent, drive, intelligence or ideas. What the young people in this city need are outlets, support and resources.”
Gavin Sheppard, Founder of IC Visions and Remix Project Coordinator
Cultural participation and education can support education goals generally and engage youth in socially positive activity that supports their personal and professional development. Educated creative workforces support the development of local creative economies, and youth that are engaged in their communities and see their own cultural expression developed and valued are more likely to either stay in those communities, or return to those communities later in life. Tangible elements of urban form, workspaces, galleries, theatres, cafés, streets and public spaces provide creatives with critical hubs of interaction and support.1