The European Capital of Culture has been running since 1985. Oriane Nermond, Neil Lee and Dave O’Brien assess the economic impact of previous tenures.
The European Capital of Culture (ECOC) is an important programme of cultural events. Originally called European City of Culture, the programme has run each year since 1985, and 62 cities across Europe have been chosen as hosts. The host city puts on a series of events as part of a programme which is part city-branding, part civic organisation, and part economic development strategy. The goal of the programme is not just cultural, but also economic, and it is seen as a powerful tool in the regeneration of local economies. When bidding for the ECOC many cities and regions assert that it is likely to lead to a structural transformation in the local economy towards higher level economic activity - in particular to the creative industries (Griffiths, 2006).
The ECOC programme has become one of the most studied festivals in the world and a large evidence base has developed which considers the impact of the ECOC in different local contexts. Policy evaluations and academic literature have provided important findings regarding the ECOC’s potential impact on local economies (Garcia and Cox, 2013). This includes studies which consider the impact on life satisfaction, tourism, GDP, employment and creative industries... Keep reading on Policy & Evidence Centre.