from nobel prize winning economists to renowned architects, 24 of the world’s leading thinkers and creatives have signed a manifesto for a cultural revival of the economy, as reported in european news outlets el pais and corriere della sera. written in response to the current health pandemic, the open letter underlines the importance of culture and how society can evolve to pave the way for global prosperity and sustainable development. 


in addition to key cultural facets such as food and tourism, the manifesto also highlights the vital role architecture and design will play in ‘reinventing an urbanized world that encompasses the lines of ecology, coexistence and beauty.’ seven prolific and world-class architects, including shigeru ban, kengo kuma, jean nouvel, renzo piano, have all signed the manifesto, which you can read in full below:



‘the current crisis and the restrictions it imposes have emphasized the importance that each one of us gives to the surrounding environment. at the same time, all the dimensions of this environment, formed by culture, nature and social ties, stand out. this coincides with one of the observations made over many years by the international community – and in particular by UNESCO -, recognizing that culture has its place in the concept of sustainable development.


this cultural dimension in question shapes our living conditions; it is inseparable from the daily economy and that is why it finds such a strong echo in current circumstances. growth in the cultural component of value added has become a powerful trend, which is already finding its place in public policies and business strategies. in this context, the territories that best preserve the original elements of their identity may benefit, if they manage to develop them successfully, in true ‘competitive advantages’.


this cultural revitalization of our local environment does not mean a lack of interest in distant societies. our appetite for other cultures and the need to know them better cannot avoid expanding into the world of tomorrow. all territories, including those with less economic and technological resources, may have a cultural message to convey. therefore, it is about offering each of them the opportunity to show what makes them unique, in a world whose standardization would signal impoverishment and devitalization.


despite its growing importance, culture has not been sufficiently considered as an ecosystem; it remains perceived from a collateral angle. cities and towns are emblematic of this fact. public and private spaces must be functional and in harmony with the aspirations of the inhabitants. architecture and design can contribute to reinventing an urbanized world that encompasses the lines of ecology, coexistence and beauty.


this dynamic will encourage a continuous market of cultural appreciation for the habitat. furthermore, enthusiasm for the art of living will continue its rise. this is true in the case of food that from now on we would like it to be simpler for the planet, more just and meaningful. this will also apply to tourism, which must take a more responsible role. as for digital technologies, their credibility will increase through the quality of the content created and disseminated.


in this movement, the purple economy proposes a change of scale and perception, favoring a systemic approach where the diverse activities and cultural factors (education, information, communication and all goods with a strong imaginary and sensitive component) are not considered in a formal way isolated. thanks to this transformation, the economy, imbued with the full potential of culture, will fully express its human character. this evolution would pave the way for global prosperity, more respectful of the natural environment and more equitably distributed. what was once an opportunity must now become the present of sustainable development.’




ferran adrià, chef
massimiliano alajmo, chef
elena arzak, chef
rafael aranda, architect (pritzker prize 2017)
shigeru ban, architect (pritzker prize 2014)
massimo bottura, chef
mariya gabriel, european commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth
ángel gurría, secretary general of the organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD)
jérôme gouadain, secretary general of the prix versailles
iris van herpen, fashion designer
kengo kuma, architect
pascal lamy, president of les musiciens du louvre
eric maskin, 2007 nobel prize in economics
jean nouvel, architect (pritzker prize 2008)
edmund phelps, 2006 nobel prize in economics
renzo piano, architect (1998 pritzker prize)
annesophie pic, chef
carme pigem, architect (pritzker prize 2017)
christopher pissarides, 2010 nobel prize in economics
zurab pololikashvili, secretary general of the world tourism organization (UNWTO)
david sassoli, president of the european parliament
vera songwe, executive secretary of the united nations economic commission for africa
jean-noël tronc, general manager of the society of authors, composers and music editors (SACEM)
ramón vilalta, architect (pritzker prize 2017)



article via el pais and corriere della sera

main image: shigeru ban by shigeru ban architects / courtesy of the pritzker prize; kengo kuma image © designboom