Culture and the experiences of everyday life are multiple and paradoxical, shaped through the contradictions and rhythms of particular places and societies as well as through the structures of class, gender, ethnicity and nation (to name but four). There is no one unambiguous definition of what is meant by culture. It is simultaneously artefact, object and process and each of these understandings in various and often-competing ways is implicated in the discourses and concerns of cultural planning. Frequently, cultural planning is undertaken on the assumption that it is possible to identify and intervene in culture in all its guises. In spite, however, of the centrality of the concept to cultural planning there is often considerable slippage in the way it is mobilized variously referring to art, everyday life, creativity and a capacity to ‘create’ with scant consideration of intersections, tensions or inconsistencies. The aim of this chapter is to consider aspects and implications of the way in which culture is understood within cultural planning. To this end the chapter begins by considering the rationale for the discursive shift, which informs cultural planning, from understanding culture as ‘art’ and the expressive to focusing on the ‘ways of life’ of a population. In so doing, the chapter highlights both the role that the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies played in prompting the shift as well as suggesting that it was this definition that provided the justification for expanding the concerns of cultural planning to encompass a range of creative practices including those associated with popular culture and the commercial sector. Indeed, as is suggested in the chapter this changed focus has in part had the effect of pulling all forms of cultural practice, including the traditional arts, into the realm of the cultural and creative industries with the assertion of the economic importance of the sector having considerable currency within cultural planning. Finally, the chapter probes the notion of urban culture which is important to cultural planning because not only do most people on the planet now live in cities, but cultural planning is overwhelmingly a strategy focused on cities and, in particular, city centres.