SYDNEY might have a reputation as a big-boozing town but it seems we might rather read than rage.
We have more bookshops per head than the literary meccas of Paris or New York but fewer bars than Tokyo.
The sobering statistics are contained in an international report into the cultural life of 12 world cities.
The study found that while Paris has nine bookshops per 100,000 people, Sydney has 10.
And while Tokyo has 108 bars per 100,000, Sydney has just 14.
Not that we are wallflowers. We love a festival and have more than almost anywhere else. But if we want to dance, we’re better off kicking up our heels in Sao Paulo or Shanghai than Sydney.
The World Cities Culture Report looked at 60 cultural indicators, including the number of cinemas, art galleries, dance clubs and libraries.
It concluded that festivals were one of Sydney’s strengths, with more than London, New York or Berlin.
Sydney draws on its climate and natural beauty to create ”a relaxed, convivial, inclusive culture”, the report states.
When we are not at festivals, we like a walk in a park. Sydney has more parks and gardens than all other cities except Singapore.
The 12 cities, across the developed and developing world, included Mumbai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.
They were chosen because they are expected to shape the world’s future direction and are places interested in strengthening the role of culture.
The large number of art and design students in Sydney was particularly encouraging, said the executive manager of culture at the City of Sydney, Rachel Healy.
”Researchers say that in the next 20 years, specialist understanding of visual language and design thinking skills are the most important asset the community can have,” Ms Healy said.
The in-depth study, the first of its kind, was prepared by Britain’s BOP Consulting and initiated by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, before the London Olympics.
The report says culture is as important in a world city as trade and finance.
”Culture, in all its diverse forms, is central to what makes a city appealing to educated people and hence to the businesses which seek to employ them,” the report states.
”In the globalised knowledge economy, having a well-educated workforce is the key to success, and such workers demand a stimulating creative environment.”
Paris has the most art galleries, cinemas and public libraries, New York the most theatres while London is the place for a laugh with the most comedy performances.
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