The European Union is a beacon of peace, security and human rights. It looks to be a space of exchange and democratic debate, of openness and creative possibilities. Nonetheless, this study is commissioned in a context of falling popularity and a crisis of the perceived legitimacy of the European Union. Increasing nationalistic tendencies, exploited and encouraged by political movements promoting short term gain, are seen across the continent. Key values are questioned and viewed differently between European countries, but debate and exchange of these values is often lacking or avoided. In... parallel, a fragmentation of the social fabric of our societies leads to a lack of participation and growing isolation. In a European Union aiming to find structural responses to these and other developments and challenges on political, social and economic levels, questions of culture, cities and identity hold key roles in finding solutions towards contemporary challenges. In view of numerous open questions and possible perspectives, the European Economic and Social Committee commissioned the present study on “Culture, Cities and Identity in Europe”. The study addresses political decision makers, professionals in urban administration and planning and cultural players alike, aiming to provide both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of findings highlighting culture, cities and identity in Europe. It also addresses those involved in the wider process of bringing democratic debate and governance to communities. Following the framework proposed by the EESC, it starts with a thorough overview of the facts and figures surrounding the economic contribution of culture in its broad definition. It is then split into four topic areas, which will be examined separately, all the while highlighting unavoidable overlaps and following connections, providing an overview of studies and European good-practice examples which address: - Culture as an instrument for reconverting cities, - Culture as a tool for integration and inclusiveness, and - Culture as a pillar of European identity within Europe and beyond.