Culture is an integral part of the creation of healthy, sustainable and desirable places to live, not an optional extra.
Ginkgo has been working with Rural Creation and consultant Mary Schwarz to produce a cultural development strategy for the new town of Cranbrook, Devon, which will grow to a population of around 20,000 in the next 10 years. Planning for culture in Cranbrook has been about improving quality of life for residents and nurturing local talent for the future. Our approach has been to help develop a distinctive Cranbrook identity, creating the town’s own traditions.
The case for well thought out and supported cultural activity is clear. Its value is well recognised in planning and The National Planning Policy Framework requires authorities and developers to support local strategies that improve social and cultural wellbeing, allow for cultural diversity and deliver sufficient cultural facilities and services to meet local needs (TCPA, 2013(a)). In this way culture in Cranbrook will be able to deliver against its economic, social and environmental potential as a cross cutting theme which contributes to health and wellbeing, social inclusion, education, wealth creation and sustainability. Community pride, culture and economic viability of development go hand in hand.
Cranbrook in Common maps the existing cultural activity in Cranbrook, looks at the surprising history of this place and asks the residents of Cranbrook how they see their future (artists Blind Ditch helped in this consultation process, creatively engaging with young people in particular)
In a time of austerity the strategy looks at how culture works across sectors and benefits the economy, the environment, education, health and the community’s well-being. Finally, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of stakeholders concerned with Cranbrook, a new model for culture emerges which starts with PEOPLE and builds through SKILLS and ACTIVITY to create a cultural INFRASTRUCTURE that will be relevant and flexible in years to come.
The cultural vision for Cranbrook, shaped by the people who live there, is to build a unique, desirable place to be, one brick at a time, to make a place that celebrates local identity and embraces global opportunity, supports cultural innovation and creates a sustainable future for all.