San Francisco Joins other Leaders from 31 Cities Across the Globe for Fourth World Cities Culture Summit in London

High level talks aimed at tackling challenges head on and ensuring culture, creativity and innovation remain at the heart of urban growth

SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2015 – San Francisco’s Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny and San Francisco Travel’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Howard Pickett are in London taking part in the fourth World Cities Culture Summit, one of the most important international meetings focusing on the critical role that culture plays in the success of cities.

They will be joining cultural leaders and city officials from 31 cities around the world at the event, which this year is hosted by the Mayor of London and takes place from 18-20 November. The high level talks will focus on sharing experience and expertise and formulating long-term policies that put culture at the heart of future city planning and development.

According to Mr. DeCaigny, “We are thrilled to have been invited to participate in the World Cities Culture Forum. With the global trend towards increased urbanization, many cities around the world are facing some of the same affordability challenges we are seeing here in San Francisco.  I look forward to sharing ideas and solutions that will help strengthen our arts and culture ecosystem and ensure San Francisco continues to be a vibrant cultural hub.”

“San Francisco has long been known as a center of innovation and culture.   In fact, these two attributes are central to how we market and promote the city as a global destination,” said Howard Pickett, Chief Marketing Officer of San Francisco Travel. “We are excited to have this opportunity to work with other innovative cities to create ways to contribute to economic growth through cultural tourism.”

Cities taking part include: Amsterdam, Austin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, New York City, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw.

Defined as world cities because of their scale, dynamism and diversity, which create fertile conditions for innovation and radical thinking in economic, social and cultural policy, those attending the summit want to highlight the benefits that culture brings to cities – which is where most of the world’s population lives – not just in terms of quality of life, but socially and economically.

With the global economy still fragile, political uncertainty in different parts of the world and concerns about growing inequality, the summit is going to look at how embedding culture into overall policy development – as opposed to being seen as an add-on or a luxury – can contribute to the continued social and economic growth of world cities. At the same time, the participants at the three day forum want to tackle perennial problems affecting world cities. Each has its own story to tell about successes and specific challenges.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson comments: ‘We are looking forward to welcoming cities from across the globe for this important gathering to discuss a vital part of city life and one that is too often overlooked when determining policy. Culture should of course be experienced and enjoyed for its own sake, but it also has a powerful role to play in helping our cities to thrive, economically and socially. At a time when we all need to tighten our belts, it may seem less of a priority, but it is intrinsic to what makes a successful city tick.’

A new report, the latest in the World Cities Culture Report series, is being published to coincide with the summit. The report has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and provides recent data and profiles of cities involved in the forum. Delegates will also review the findings of a new report providing the most definitive financial analysis of culture in each city, ahead of the final version being published in 2016.

Paul Owens, Managing Director of BOP Consulting, which manages the WCCF on behalf of London’s City Hall said: ‘The biggest challenge facing all world cities is fostering future growth in a sustainable way. The Summit is a unique opportunity for this group of international policy-makers to critically examine where and how culture fits into the growth equation and to share their experiences of how to embed culture into future strategies.’

The fourth World Cities Culture Forum takes place at various locations around London from Wednesday 18 to Friday 20 November 2015.

Notes to editors

1.    The World Cities Culture Forum is an initiative of the Mayor of London, organised and coordinated by BOP Consulting ( The World Cities Culture Forum is a leading collaborative network of world cities that share a belief in the importance of culture for creating thriving cities. It encompasses 32 cities – Amsterdam, Austin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw.

2.    For more information about the forum and the summit, go to You can also contact Yvonne Lo, World Cities Culture Forum Coordinator, by email at

3.    For press and media, you can contact Ben McKnight at the London Mayor’s office  on +44 20 7983 4071, or by emailing