If creative cities are the end, cultural planning is the means.

MCP is a process for leveraging a community’s cultural resources to support economic development and integrating culture across all facets of local planning and decision-making. The Municipal Cultural Planning Partnership defines municipal cultural planning as: “The strategic and integrated planning and use of cultural resources for economic and community development.”

The following are defining features of MCP:

  • Cultural resources – rather than attempting to define culture (an impossible task), the focus of MCP is on the concept of cultural resources. Cultural resources are both tangible (specific facilities, organizations, etc. – see below) and intangible (the unique stories and identities of individual communities).
  • Cultural mapping – cultural mapping is a systematic approach to identifying and recording a municipality’s cultural resources usually using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and analyzing local cultural systems.
  • Municipal roles – MCP requires municipalities (under the direction of council) to integrate culture in plans and policies across all departments and to help build local capacity through collaboration among cultural groups.
  • Cross-sectoral strategies – MCP relies on effective collaboration and partnerships between the municipality and its community and business partners.
  • Networks and engagement – MCP depends on systematic approaches to networking and engagement across the community in planning and decision-making related to cultural resources.