• London Recognized as UNESCO Music City

    How Being a City of Music Can Help Business Recovery


    As we emerge from the pandemic, it is very clear that business recovery needs to be a main priority for the city moving forward. What may be less obvious however, is how London’s recent recognition as Canada’s first City of Music will be a unique advantage for the city. Many of the challenges faced by businesses throughout the pandemic, such as labour shortages and an aging workforce, can be remedied with the help of this new designation. A focus on the culture of the city and its rich history in music will help drive interest and development in the city. According to a 2018 study by the University of Cambridge, a city’s culture is tied directly to its economic growth. The study found that, as a city develops a unique culture, more people will be willing to invest in the area. While the talent pool is somewhat limited currently, having a strong music culture will encourage young professionals to look to London as an attractive city for business development and fill the gaps created by the pandemic.


    What This Means for the City


    The UNESCO designation as a City of Music is meant to encourage growth in the arts and entertainment industry as well as to help preserve historical areas of the city that contribute to the culture of the area. Music and the arts are the forefront of building and reinforcing a city’s unique identity and the music history of London has certainly contributed to the city’s identity. Venues like Budweiser Gardens, Centennial Hall, and the London Music Hall are important landmarks in the city that attract jobs and tourism. As this identity as a hub for entertainment becomes more connected to the city, people will be encouraged to stay long term. Other Cities of Music, such as Melbourne and Austin, have seen economic growth in the billions of dollars as well as attracting millions of tourists per year. These benefits go beyond the entertainment industry and in places like Nashville, have encouraged job growth in the tens of thousands across all sectors.


    Going Forward


    In order to receive the full economic benefits that come with this designation, it is important that the city focuses on growing the music culture in the area. While there are current barriers to some of this growth, small policy changes can go a long way in encouraging growth in London’s music industry. The city currently has a music office that serves as a direct link between the music industry and City Hall. Policy changes such as updated noise bylaws and zoning regulations will provide artists with more options for performances and studios. The London Chamber of Commerce applauds this move by the City and will continue to work with them to take full advantage of all the benefits that this designation has to offer. Being Canada’s first UNESCO City of Music will be an incredibly useful tool to bolster the city’s economy post-pandemic.