Noema has a unique and innovative approach to cultural and urban development based on the concept of cultural planning.

Over the past twenty years, there has been an increased recognition of the importance of cultural capital for the economy of cities, and the many ways in which the presence of creative milieux and cultural activities bring widespread benefits, especially in enhancing the image of places undergoing regeneration.

Although, so far, this culture-led type of regeneration has been the preferred model for repositioning large and second-tier cities in the global economic hierarchy, issues are emerging regarding the sustainability of these developments over time. In particular, doubts have been raised about the capacity of large, culture-centred flagship developments to reflect the specificities of local life.

In Britain (and elsewhere), loss of place identity and a poor quality of life are often a by-product of narrow-minded and risk-averse forms of civic leadership and community engagement. Place sameness, poverty of aspirations and low social and human capital tend to go together.

To reverse this negative spiral, civic leaders and planners need to find new governance tools capable of linking place, community development and economic competitiveness.

Cultural planning is one such tool.

Cultural planning is not about doing cultural policy for a city, a region, or a nation. It is, instead, a creative way of identifying the distinctive characteristics of a place and integrating such 'cultural' resources in local development plans. It is a method, not a blueprint.

Cultural planning means thinking about place from different perspectives and points of view. This is done by putting together professionals such as architects, economists, artists, psychologists, planners, developers and community development specialists together with community representatives and civic leaders for the purpose of mapping local dynamics and contributing to more innovative urban development strategies.

This is why Noema's work is carried out by tailored teams of both UK-based and international experts from different disciplines.

The interdisciplinary character of our teams is a vital resource for our clients. We strongly believe that the complexity of today's urban environment is such that old solutions are not working any more. Our way of using cultural planning offers a fresh approach to those problems.