Culturally sustainable development: theoretical concept or practical policy instrument?

David Throsby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


This paper outlines the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development, and considers the evolution of efforts to integrate culture into sustainable development policy and practice over recent years. The specific concept of culturally sustainable development (CSD), first promulgated more than 20 years ago, is re-assessed in the light of contemporary circumstances as a theoretically plausible proposition and as a basis for application to cultural policy formation. The paper proposes a set of principles by which consistency of a cultural policy or cultural development strategy with CSD can be judged. The application of each of the principles is discussed, drawing illustrations from particular policy areas in both developed and developing countries. The paper argues that CSD is a concept that has both theoretical substance and potential for practical policy application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
Journal The International Journal of Cultural Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


  • cultural sustainability
  • culturally sustainable development
  • ESD
  • Sustainable development
  • sustainable development goals


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