City Hall launches cultural map of the capital

City Hall has launched a new interactive online map which captures the capital’s cultural riches for the first time.

The new map has collated London’s cultural facilities and locations, from pubs and LGBT+ venues, to music recording studios, community centres and local libraries.

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, is asking Londoners, local authorities and cultural organisations to work with City Hall to create the fullest possible picture of the capital’s cultural infrastructure with the new map.

It has been published as part of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan, which is designed to protect and champion the capital’s cultural riches. The map and data has been released alongside an online toolkit with resources to help local authorities, property developers, businesses and cultural institutions protect and grow the culture on offer in London.

In order to cement London’s place as an international cultural capital and protect these important spaces, the new Cultural Infrastructure Plan will show where London’s cultural infrastructure is located, highlight any gaps or risk areas, and enable business, local authorities and cultural leaders to support and develop London’s cultural venues.

Culture plays a vital role in the capital’s economic success, making the city a place where people want to live, work and do business. The creative sector generates £52bn for London every year and is responsible for one in six jobs in the capital. Culture is the reason that four out of five tourists visit the city. However, there has been a worrying decline in London’s cultural spaces, with the numbers of LGBT+ venues and grassroots music venues stabilising in the last year following a decade of steep decline.

The Cultural Infrastructure Map paints a rich picture of culture across the city, from central London to outer-boroughs. The map currently reveals London has 240 artists’ workspace buildings, 3,530 pubs, 52 LGBT+ night-time venues, 94 grassroots music venues and 263 theatres, among much more.

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, said: “Culture has always been London’s DNA, it is the story of our city and gives London its character and authenticity. Yet, while we’re all used to seeing big cities plan their future needs when it comes to trains, roads and hospitals, it’s never been the same for culture. Now thanks to this map, we have a live, fine grained picture of the city’s cultural assets, giving us for the first time, a snapshot of the true riches and clusters in the capital. From local facilities like arts centres, libraries, community centres and pubs, to LGBT+ venues and musical theatres – these spaces play a vital role in bringing our communities together. That’s why it’s so important that we protect our creative communities and help Londoners access the wide range of culture on their own doorstep. By doing this we will ensure that London remains the thriving, creative and innovative city we all love.”

The action plan includes establishing the first ever Culture at Risk Office, which has already supported 350 cultural spaces across the capital at risk of closure, and creating the most pro-culture planning framework the capital has ever seen. The Mayor’s draft London Plan includes a requirement for developers to ensure existing venues, clubs and pubs still have a home in new developments, and includes the Agent of Change principle, which helps protect venues by putting the onus on developers to meet the cost of soundproofing and noise-reduction measures.

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