Business Improvement Districts and cultural organisations should work together to drive economic growth and help their communities thrive says a new report from King's College London that was commissioned by Arts Council England and the Mayor of London. The report was launched to a large crowd in City Hall, London, this morning.

The report is structured around 23 case studies from BIDs across the UK, and two in the US, including many who are Institute members.

The report says that BIDs have an important roles in driving economic growth. "BIDs are taking the lead on an ever-wider range of urban renewal projects. This underlines their value as creators of economic growth. In London alone, BIDs have a total annual levy income of £25m. They are providing 287 additional services to their communities, like regeneration, planning and place-shaping, with around 150 employees. A London First study recommends that BIDs should play an even bigger role in campaigning for investment to create better places. The role of BIDs will continue to diversify as they run projects reflecting their broadening pool of levy-paying members." (Improving Places p10)

Likewise culture is an important contributor to economic growth as the report notes that according to the the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the UK's creative industries are worth over £84 billion a year. Before using the case studies to illustrate work already underway, the report suggests six areas where BIDs and cultural organisations can work together:

  • Placemaking — using their great local knowledge, both cultural organisations and BIDs are well placed to help develop bold, innovative neighbourhoods and support communities.
  • Place-branding — helping to promote an area as distinctive and attractive for locals and visitors. This can increase footfall and reach new audiences. Both can, in turn, improve retail spend.
  • Business development — helping industry professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow and develop their business.
  • Affordable spaces — finding affordable workspace, offices and shops – particularly in the context of rising business rates.
  • Community — building stronger communities by involving local people as ambassadors, volunteers and campaigners.
  • Creative programming — running activities that highlight a location’s unique offer and raise its public profile.