UNESCO Names Seven Cities in Literature Among 64 ‘Creative Cities’

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Nine African cities are included in the new listing of ‘Creative Cities’ from UNESCO, seven of them for an emphasis on literature among urban settings.

In Royal Square, part of the old town of Québec City, named one of seven literature-based Creative Cities by UNESCO. Canada is Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2020 Guest of Honor. Image – iStockphoto: Gim42

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Bucheon and Milan Among Literature Cities
The outgoing UNESCO dircctor-general Irina Bokova has named 64 cities from 44 countries to the organization’s Creative  Cities network.

The concept is meant to position literary initiatives and other cultural development as a driver of sustainable and more inclusive urban development. Designation can mean more interest in a city’s cultural life from local authorities, thanks to the world organization’s attention.

Here are the newly named cities, seven of which have attracted the honor specifically in recognition of literature as a feature of their cultural life in South Africa, South Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA and UK, and upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair Guests of Honor Norway and Canada:

  • Alba (Italy) – Gastronomy
  • Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Music
  • Amarante (Portugal) – Music
  • Auckland (New Zealand) – Music
  • Baguio City (Philippines) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Barcelos (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Braga (Portugal) – Media Arts
  • Brasilia (Brazil) – Design
  • Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Film
  • Brno (Czechia) – Music
  • Bucheon (Republic of Korea) – Literature
  • Buenaventura (Colombia) – Gastronomy
  • Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Cape Town (South Africa) – Design
  • Carrara (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Changsha (China) – Media Arts
  • Chennai (India) – Music
  • Chiang Mai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Chordeleg (Ecuador) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Cochabamba (Bolivia [Plurinational State of]) – Gastronomy
  • Daegu Metropolitan City (Republic of Korea) – Music
  • Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Design
  • Durban (South Africa) – Literature
  • Frutillar (Chile) – Music
  • Gabrovo (Bulgaria) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • [City of] Greater Geelong (Australia) – Design
  • Guadalajara (Mexico) – Media Arts
  • Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) – Gastronomy
  • Istanbul (Turkey) – Design
  • João Pessoa (Brazil) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Kansas City (United States of America) – Music
  • Kolding (Denmark) – Design
  • Kortrijk (Belgium) – Design
  • Košice (Slovakia) – Media Arts
  • Kütahya (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Lillehammer (Norway) – Literature
  • Limoges (France) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Łódź (Poland) – Film
  • Macao Special Administrative Region, China (Associate Member, UNESCO) – Gastronomy
  • Madaba (Jordan) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Manchester (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Literature
  • Mexico City (Mexico) – Design
  • Milan (Italy) – Literature
  • Morelia (Mexico) – Music
  • Norrköping (Sweden) – Music
  • Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Panama City (Panama) – Gastronomy
  • Paraty (Brazil) – Gastronomy
  • Pesaro (Italy) – Music
  • Porto-Novo (Benin) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Praia (Cabo Verde) – Music
  • Qingdao (China) – Film
  • Québec City (Canada) – Literature
  • San Antonio (United States of America) – Gastronomy
  • Seattle (United States of America) – Literature
  • Sheki (Azerbaijan) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Sokodé (Togo) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Terrassa (Spain) – Film
  • Tétouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Toronto (Canada) – Media Arts
  • Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Utrecht (Netherlands) – Literature
  • Wuhan (China) – Design
  • Yamagata City (Japan) – Film

Beginning in 2004, UNESCO has named its “Creative Cities” in the seven categories of literature, drafts and folks art, design film, gastronomy, media arts, and music.

After this newly added group, the program comprises 180 cities in 72 countries.

In a prepared statement, Bokova is quoted, saying, “These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the network.

“The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region—a UNESCO Global Priority—has been a true success with nine African cities now joining the network.”

Within the framework of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, the Creative Cities program provides a platform for cities to demonstrate culture’s role as an enabler for building sustainable cities.

The next annual meeting of the Creative Cities network is scheduled to take place in Poland’s Krakow and Katowice in June 2018.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. Prior to that he was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, a channel at The Bookseller focused on digital publishing. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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