Major cities around the world continually grabble with the complexity of gentrification, at the recent World Cities Culture Summit San Francisco shared what they do. One of the city’s approaches is to protect cultural organizations that are unique to their neighbourhood. The idea is to protect what makes the city special while also keeping culture accessible to everyone. Indeed, what they’ve done is so effective that other cities are starting to copy it.
Like an idea London recently stole from San Francisco to reduce cultural displacement — Community Arts Stabilization Trust — or CAST for short.
“London has been completely inspired by the San Francisco CAST model, to the extent that we are setting up our own version of it,” Simons said.
CAST is a nonprofit real estate development and holding company that helps arts groups secure space through long-term below-market leases and a lease-to-own model funded by philanthropy and other sources. It has raised $36 million to support a handful of projects since 2013.
The company has also helped nonprofit cultural groups keep the lights on in the shorter term, through providing $1.8 million in grants and technical assistance to date.