What is Cultural Mapping? 

Cultural mapping is recognized as an essential planning and economic development tool in municipalities across Canada and around the world. Cultural mapping is defined as:

A systematic approach to identifying, recording, classifying, and analyzing a community’s cultural resources.

How is this useful?

Cultural Mapping informs municipal planning:

Identifying and mapping cultural assets strengthens the base of information that can be used to inform future planning and decision-making in any municipality.  Cultural planning of course benefits from cultural mapping, but so does land use planning, economic development, and tourism.

Cultural Mapping raises awareness of cultural assets:

Consolidated databases of cultural assets support marketing and promotion to both residents and tourists.

Cultural Mapping supports cultural development:

The subjective nature of what “counts” as culture can lead to disconnection and distinction within the cultural community.  A cultural map is a stronger base of information that strengthens and creates networking and partnership opportunities, and encourages people to view their community using a cultural lens.  More collaboration contributes to a higher quality of life and overall community well-being, and stimulates new economic opportunities in multiple sectors.

For additional information on Cultural Mapping in Canada, see:

Creative City Toolkit

Municipal Cultural Planning Toolkit

Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport

Core elements of Ontario’s draft Culture Strategy