Nordicity's Insights on Emerging Trends in Cultural Planning

Last fall, Nordicity's Peter Lyman and Mila Dechef-Tweddle spoke about cultural planning with Arts Consultants Canada (ACCA) on the “At the Mic” podcast. Building on their respective work across Nordicity’s culture planning practice, Peter and Mila discussed the evolution of cultural planning over the last decade and the strategies our team at Nordicity employs to ensure successful community engagement.

The discussion explored how local and regional governments are increasingly emphasizing the essential role of community engagement and participation in how they approach culture planning and strategy. Peter and Mila also shared insights into our engagement approach at Nordicity, highlighting the use of both internal and external expertise, partnerships, and community connectors to ensure alignment with current trends and community development goals. They examined a ground-up approach, creative and accessible outreach, treating each community uniquely, and building trust as some of our best practices for engagement.

Expanding on this conversation, below are several key themes in the emerging trends of how municipal and regional planners approach cultural planning and cultural service delivery according to Nordicity.


  • Inclusive Community Engagement: There is a growing recognition of the need for inclusive and representative community engagement. Equity-deserving communities, often historically excluded from the cultural planning processes, are proactively being brought into the planning process.
  • Community Validation: community engagement is shifting towards a full-circle or two-way feedback loop, establishing a community validation process.
  • Cultural Plans and Social Development: Increasingly, there is recognition that cultural planning and social development go hand in hand. The vibrancy of local art and culture is essential for overall community well-being and sustainability, helping to build social cohesion and attracting residents and visitors alike. As a result, culture planning and culture service delivery are increasingly emphasizing placemaking, nighttime economy, and community events among municipal and regional culture priorities that support social development goals.
  • Economic Value of Culture: While culture’s impact on social development goals is gaining importance, the economic value of culture is still. Organizations can make the case by using data to demonstrate the positive financial impact of arts investments, for example, in job creation.
  • Facilitating Collaboration: Municipalities are increasingly fostering collaboration with and between arts and culture organizations. This collaboration often involves pooling resources to meet shared needs. Many are adopting a more ‘grassroots’ approach that allows smaller arts and culture organizations to have a say in planning local cultural investment.
  • Materializing the Plan: This trend includes refurbishing, adapting, or creating new spaces for cultural activities. This capital-intensive approach requires

Listen to the episode here.

About Nordicity

Nordicity, an international consulting firm with offices in London, Toronto and Vancouver, specialises in economic analysis, strategy, business, policy and regulation across diverse domains, including arts, culture, heritage, and digital and creative media industries.

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Nordicity is a leading international consulting firm providing private and public-sector clients with solutions for Economic Analysis, Strategy and Business, and Policy and Regulation across four priority sectors: arts, culture and heritage; digital and creative media; and information and communication technologies (ICTs) and innovation. With offices in London (UK), Toronto, and Vancouver Nordicity is ideally placed to assist our clients to succeed in the rapidly evolving global markets.