Music Policy and Planning

PAS QuickNotes 102

By Shain Shapiro


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Cities around the United States and the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of music in their communities. These "music cities" seek to define the role that music plays in planning and develop policies that proactively manage how music — in all its forms and functions — affects the wider community.

Music can have myriad benefits for economic vitality and resilience, equity and social justice, and placemaking and quality of life. But to understand and leverage these impacts, planners must better understand the role of music in planning, economic development, placemaking, and community engagement.

This edition of PAS QuickNotes outlines the components of a music audit, a key tool planners can use to inform data-driven decision-making around music, and shares examples of how cities around the United States are using music to improve quality of life and achieve community goals.


Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 1, 2023
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Shain Shapiro
Shain is a globally recognised thought leader at the convergence of music, culture and urban policy. This is showcased in his debut book, This Must Be The Place: How Music Can Make Your City Better, which came out on Repeater Books (distributed in the United States by Random House) on September 12, 2023. Shain has defined a new way to think about the value of music in cities and places and through it, influenced over 130 cities and places to invest in music and culture as founder and executive chairman of Sound Diplomacy and founder and executive director of the not-for-profit global Center for Music Ecosystems. He has authored authoritative reports on the role of music in cities, tourism, the night time economy, real estate and recovery, including the most extensive guide to music and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ever written, in partnership with the United Nations. He has spoken at hundreds of global conventions, such as SXSW and the UN World Urban Forum and delivered the first ever TEDx talk on music’s role in cities. Shain holds a PhD from the University of London and lives in East London.