From the Fourth Pillar to Takso

In 2001, CDN published the Fourth Pillar of Sustainability in which we discussed the position of culture as a distinct domain of public policy and one that must be considered and understood for a sustainable society. The immediate international recognition of the publication its ideas spurred us on to begin research in understanding and defining the unique activities and impacts that make up the cultural domain.

We did this by working closely with the cultural sector, governments, and academics to research, refine and trial our work resulting in three key frameworks that form the basis of Takso.

The Takso system is underpinned by three key research outputs:

This research is embedded into Takso in the form of the '8-Step Activity Workflow' that reflects what cultural managers have told us they already do.
CDN’s Planning Framework
This framework consists of six connected planning principles that ensure activities focus on the impact that they wish to achieve, decisions are based on evidence and learning can be incorporated into a reflective cycle.
CDN’s Schema of Measurable Outcomes of Cultural Engagement
This framework outlines 22 outcomes across the five (cultural, social, economic, environmental and governance) domains that engagement in cultural activity can have on participants. Most significantly this schema is the first to include a set of cultural outcomes. These outcomes ensure that planning and evaluation is focused on the impact you want to achieve.
CDN’s Schema of Inputs and Outputs.
This framework provides a comprehensive articulation of the resources (inputs) and what is done (outputs) across all cultural activity from the very smallest to the largest. The provides a consistent framework for the recording of all activities meaning that everything recorded in Takso can be aggregated, reported and understood.

Cultural outcomes

Our most significant research is the development of a schema of cultural outcomes that can be achieved as a result of cultural activity. These outcomes articulate the impact on those who engage in our cultural activities.
Creativity Stimulated
Aesthetic Enrichment Experienced
knowledge, ideas and insight gained
Appreciation for the diversity of cultural expression appreciated
Sense of belonging to a shared cultural heritage deepened
The schema was developed over six years of research, consultation and trials with the sector, academics and communities. The five outcomes have been endorsed in Australia by the National Local Government Cultural Forum and internationally by UCLG.

To learn more about these outcomes and how they were developed read our article in the journal Evaluation.
Learn More


The Takso platform is a public sector funded initiative led by CDN in collaboration with artists, cultural producers, regional & urban councils, as well as national and regional arts and cultural agencies. Together, they conduct trials to ensure Takso's applicability across diverse cultural sectors. The platform’s immense potential has received an enthusiastic response from Australian councils, trial sites and international arts agencies, earning an endorsement by the international local government body UCLG (United Cities and Local Government.)

Since 2016, the planning and evaluation frameworks developed by CDN have been presented via a series of workshops for local and regional governments across the Asia Pacific and Europe, further validating the theory and application in any setting.

Need to Know More?

Contact us to find out more about our frameworks. You can download a free copy of the Fourth Pillar of Sustainability below.