Battlegrounds

Discussions and policy debates around faultlines often become battlegrounds because the nature of debate is intense and contested. Yet there are other battlegrounds less concerned with ultimate purposes, although at times touching on them. They are usually about significant policy choices and thus more concerned with pragmatics. Each battleground has implications on the future of cities. To elaborate briefly on a few Multiculturalism versus interculturalism. In the multicultural city we...

A conceptual framework

The central dilemma of our age is how we live together. Peaceful coexistence is the goal of civilization and avoiding the 'clash of civi-lizations'2 should be the overarching intent of politics. But in trying to achieve these goals we are to a lesser or greater extent prisoners of circumstance - of old habits, assumptions, battles and animosities, struggling with the physical and mental worlds. History circumscribes possible future trajectories. However, we can at least partially transcend this...

Environmental psychology

Environmental psychology measures the effect of the physical and social environment on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. The discipline has a rich history stretching back over 50 years. The vast evidence it has gathered includes the harmful effects of ugliness - this could be a building, cheap materials, bad urban design or townscape planning the restorative effects of beauty, even though what beauty is in a context will be subject to debate the impact on people of a...

The Geography of Desire

Let's look again at Rio de Janeiro, where desire and misery clash. The city has a powerful resonance sexuality, heat, glamour, energy. Our vantage point is the giant 38m-high Christ the Redeemer statue on the Corcovado mountain, 710m above sea level. The city's vista is unrivalled anywhere in the world, even by Sydney, San Francisco, Hong Kong or Vancouver. Even the favelas look enticing. But down on the ground, things are different. The 1950s and 1960s, as...

Speed and slowness

The consuming logic that is never fulfilled means people want to experience more, perhaps 30 hours of experience in a 24-hour day. There is more on offer, but the same amount of time. In our desire not to waste time, we are left with even less of it. Speeding things up means substituting quantity for quality and along the way a certain depth to life is lost. Travel is faster, communicating electronically is faster. Eating has become faster - fast food is just one manifestation of this. Lunch...

Trendspotting or trainspotting

'Fashion is not just a matter of life and death, it is more it helps define who we are.'87 Fashion is the cause and retailing the agent of the change hysteria. Fashion has a glow, yet also a withered sadness, as what we wear is always on the cusp of going out of fashion. The industry of fashion trendspotters inexorably forges the forward path. Trendy they may seem, yet in their own way they are as obsessive as trainspotters in their raincoats and anoraks. With their ear to the ground they read...

The Geography of Blandness

Fifteen years ago I started to count shops on the high streets of different cities to see how many names I knew. I was disappointed. I was already beginning to recognize too many and gave up. Last year I started the counting again and idly counted the shops in Cornmarket and Queen Street, the main shopping streets in Oxford, one of Britain's most distinctive cities. I knew the names of 85 out of 94. I experienced a lurching feeling of dullness. In those 15 years, the world of retailing in...

Creativity when culture matters

Barcelona and Bilbao (and Montreal46) believe their threatened identity was a spur to cultural creativity and originality. But another primary reason for their success has been budgetary control and local autonomy to perceive and trust the long-term vision without having to dilute it through external negotiation with national government. This can be contrasted to the relative lack of budgetary authority British cities have. Imagine what they might have achieved if they had not been treated like...

Ethics and creativity

To be a 'creative city for the world' or to be 'creative for your city' highlights how a city can (or should) project a value base or an ethical foundation in encouraging its citizens, businesses and public institutions to act. By acting in this manner the way a city operates and the results it achieves act as role models to inspire others. Creativity in itself is not necessarily a good, especially when it limits itself to mere self-expression. Linking creativity to bigger picture aims,...

The march of the mall

Regional malls initially started without too much of a threat to diversity. They had foundation stores to 'anchor' an end of the mall, typically then a department store. In between were several specialty shops, often smaller local traders relocating from older, declining shopping areas. But to ensure the highest possible rent, mall operators preferred leasing to stores with proven track records, especially those with marketing success in malls. Few small, local stores could match the track...

Creativity and the quinary domain

Economies are divided into sectors depending on distance from the natural environment. The first extracts resources, the second manufactures finished goods, the third, or tertiary, provides services, often using those produced goods, and the fourth, or quaternary, consists of intellectual activities associated with government, culture, scientific research, education and information technology. Some consider the fifth, or quinary, sector as a branch of the fourth, including the highest levels of...

Chapter Five The Complicated and the Complex

Thanks to Colin Jackson for pointing out Eric Young's speech at 'Policy learning and distributed governance Lessons from Canada and the UK', 5 June 2003, quoting Brenda Zimmerman. Huntington (1998). personal communication from Joy Roberts of the Musagetes Foundation. Jane Jacobs (4 May 1916-25 April 2006) was an American-born Canadian writer and activist. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in...

Enemies of the creative city

It requires seemingly contradictory conditions such as stimulation and calm. Great cities can provide opportunities for the breadth of human emotion. Vitality and vibrancy help creativity, but only up to a point. Too much can end up as noise and whirr and there is no chance for focus and reflection. Information overload is another problem for being a creative city a fragmented clutter of out-of-context facts leads to confusion rather than clarity of thought...

Revaluing hidden assets A creativity and obstacle audit

Every place has more assets than first meets the eye, hidden in the undergrowth, invisible, unacknowledged or under-acknowledged. The challenge is to dig deeper and to undertake a creativity and obstacle audit. For the first time in history, knowledge creation in itself is becoming the primary source of economic productivity. We are evolving from a world where prosperity depended on natural advantage (arising from access to more plentiful and cheap natural resources and labour) to a world where...

Reconsidering the learning city

There are many slogans that now declare the aspirations of cities 'the good city', 'the knowledge city', 'the intelligent city'. For me, the notion of the learning city has most meaning. A creative, learning city is more than a city of education. A learning city is a clever city that reflects upon itself, learns from failure and is strategic the city is a learning field. The dumb city, on the other hand, repeats past mistakes. Learning resources are everywhere, from the obvious, like schools,...

Diversity as a driver of creativity

Just as biodiversity guarantees the well-being and resilience of the natural environment, so cultural diversity strengthens the city. Creative places seem to need an influx of outsiders to bring in new ideas, products and services to challenge existing arrangements and bring together new combinations where insiders and outsiders meet. But there is a level at which a city can absorb the new - if it is too much it can overwhelm. What constitutes too much depends on circumstance. The history of...

The creative milieu

Given that people now have more choice and mobility about where they want to be, the physical setting, ambience and atmosphere is of upmost importance. This is the stage, the container or platform within which activity takes place and develops. It generates the milieu or environment. The milieu mixes hard and soft infrastructure. The hard consists of roads, buildings and physical things, the soft the interactions between people, the intangible feelings people have about the place. A creative...

Knitting the threads together

To drive a city forward there need to be a few powerful ideas around which disparate communities of interest can gather and coalesce. These should capture the imagination by tapping into deeply felt desires and widely acknowledged assets, or even problems, but only if solutions are also proffered. They need to be simply, but not simplistically, expressed in order to communicate well. The results need to be communicated not as a clutter of facts, but as visible achievements that can be seen and...

Reestablishing your playing field

Cities should pitch at the right aspirational level and identify a place in the urban hierarchy of their region or country or globally that reflects strong ambition and works with the grain of their cultural resources. Many cities are unrealistically ambitious and others hold back too much. An assessment of the city's drawing power will reveal the territory in which it is competing. It can then with calm urgency develop strategies to strengthen itself and capture territory in the imagination of...

Creativity and the past

So if the overall culture of a city is central to establishing creative potential, what about cultural heritage The triggers for creativity can be contradictory. For example, heritage can inspire because of past achievements, it can give energy because deep thought has gone into its creation, it can save time because much has already been thought through, it can trigger the desire to emulate, and it can give insight and generate pride because it has withstood the test of time - it is still...

A final coda Reconsidering jargon

Language is important - it is intrinsically linked to thinking and behaviour. A survey by the Centre for Local Economic Strategy (CLES), a British association for city development, quizzed 38 voluntary agencies in Oxford on their understanding of commonly used urban regeneration terms like capacity-building, community empowerment, project outcomes, strategic objective, synergy, joined-up thinking and exit strategy.56 In almost 90 per cent of cases, more respondents had heard of a term than...

Urban Resonance The city as a fashion item

Cities are now part of the fashion parade. Fashionability is used by cities as a global positioning tool in their attempt to anchor or shift their identity. But being fashionable is almost by definition unsustainable and on its own is incapable of achieving long-term recognition. Fashion can take on a life of its own that can send cities on a trajectory on which they do not want to be. Avoiding this fate is therefore of paramount importance. A city's resilience needs to reinforced and...

Forms of drawing power25

Political power implies assessing the number, level and importance of legislative functions or government institutions based in a city or region. If these only relate to a city and region, then the position is weak. The more national and international institutions based in the city, the better. For example, Leicester and Nottingham in Britain were equal regional powerhouses in the East Midlands. Over the last five years, however, the balance has tipped to Nottingham, even though Leicester is...

Redelineating urban roles

The bureaucracies that run cities have two core tasks which require completely different outlooks, attitudes and skill sets. Yet often they are done by the same organization with attendant stresses. The first task is the routine delivery of services, which are largely repetitive, such as street cleaning, road maintenance, and the management of schools and transport systems. This is essentially rule-driven and mechanical. The second task is managing urban change, which is developmental. This...

Cultural prosperity among poverty

As I have already suggested, acute misery is not confined to developing nations. Material poverty exists alongside prosperity. Nevertheless, culture can be wielded to alleviate poverty by recen-tring communities and by providing a foundation upon which tangible, material economies can be built. Paris' Val-Fourre sink estate is Europe's largest council estate, with 28,000 inhabitants, sky-high unemployment and growing school drop rates - inevitably worse for the immigrants, most of whom are from...

Rebalancing the scorecard The complexities of capital

The complexity of city competitiveness and reinvention means urban leaders should better understand, integrate and orchestrate the many forms of capital in their city. Not only financial capital, but also human capital - the skills, talents and special knowledge of the people social capital - the complex web of relationships between organizations, communities and interest groups which make up civil society cultural capital - the sense of belonging in and understanding of the unique identity of...

Renewing leadership capacity

Leadership ideas change with history. Each era requires its own specific form of leadership and a governance system to match prevailing conditions. Each city will assess whether it is in consolidation or change mode. In moments of dramatic change, transformational leadership is required rather than the skills of the coordinator or manager. Local leaders will need to move from being merely strategists to being visionaries. While strategists command and demand, visionaries excite and entice. They...

Creative ecology

The aim, for me, of creative city-making is to think of your city as if it were a living work of art where citizens can involve and engage themselves in the creation of a transformed place. This will require different creativities the creativity of the engineer, the social worker, the planner, the business person, the events organizer, the architect, the housing specialist, IT specialists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, natural scientists, environmentalists, artists of all kinds...

The logistics of a cup of tea

We start the day with a cup of tea, and Londoners drink enough tea or coffee to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools every day. The UK drinks 165 million cups per day, or 62 billion cups per year, which is 23,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. You put the kettle on. A standard kilowatt kettle uses some 80 (food) calories to come to the boil, about the same as the potential energy stored in five teaspoons of sugar. In a year, London consumes some 132,769,103,200,000 calories or 154,400...

Rethinking calculations of worth The asphalt currency

Translate the cost of every initiative into its asphalt equivalent. Revitalizing the atmosphere of an area might only be 300m of asphalt equivalent and a youth project 30m. Do a thought experiment. What would the comparative impact be of reinvesting 1km of road equivalent into strategically targeted network capturing What investment would have greater economic, image and cultural impact We are uncritical and rigid in reassessing value in terms of a money numeraire as well as the budget...

The engineer

'I am not a person who says engineers are a curse on you the most exciting structures are combinations of architects and engineers structural engineers are nearly always creative, as are civil engineers. But traffic engineers - they have become the bogeyman - their strict adherence to codes and rules without thinking of their consequences is the problem. Think of Calatrava today or Brunel, Eiffel, Roebling, Strauss or Khan.19 'Ah, did you know that in the past a mild form of autism was called...

Risk and creativity The landscape of risk5

We are caught between a rock and a hard place. The simultaneous rise of the risk and creativity agenda is one of the great paradoxes of our time, with risk avoidance strategies often cancelling out inventiveness. Creativity, openness and risk-taking are demanded of us to be competitive in a globalized world and to be inventive to adapt to 21st century needs. At the same time creativity is denied. The evaluation of everything from a perspective of risk is a defining characteristic of...

Risk and the urban professions

Thirty leading urban professionals, including engineers, architects, project managers, valuers, quantity surveyors, estate agents and property developers, were interviewed to assess how their work and perspectives are shaped by risk consciousness. They concluded 'Risk has moved into the core of what we do.' 'Increased risk process tends to focus on managing the downside rather than considering potential.' The consensus is of a clear increase in the awareness of risk, especially with the...

Creativity Components Creativity and resilience

An overarching goal of being creative is to generate urban resilience and build overall urban capacity. It is not about being fanciful. Resilience is the capacity to absorb change, ruptures and shocks and to be supple enough to adjust. Resilience is strong adaptability. It means a city has the right attributes of inventiveness and openness to bounce back if its industrial base has been eroded or a new competitor, say India or China, has taken its markets. This requires the city to evolve a...

The creative rash

Creativity is like a rash it is all-pervasive. Everyone is in the creativity game. Creativity is a mantra of our age, whether we are referring to creative individuals, companies, cities, countries or even creative streets, buildings and projects. At my last count 60 cities worldwide claimed to be creative cities. Twenty were in Britain, from Creative Manchester, Bristol, Plymouth and Norwich to, of course, Creative London. And ditto Canada Toronto, with its Culture Plan for the Creative City...

The property developer

This is true but untrue - when you work in a quasi-public realm, as we inevitably do, you can't just chomp cigars.' 'The other stereotype is fat cat developer, brash, knock up stuff quickly. They do not pay attention. They want to make money as quickly as possible.' 'They do make money when it works - but many fail - property development is vulnerable.' 'Many people working in the public sector think they are non-elected interlopers without a mandate who want...

Fear of creativity

Quite rightly people argue, 'Why should people want to be creative, as being so involves adjustment and change ' It is painful. Better to leave things as they are. The desire to be open and inventive depends on what we do. For the artist exploration is a raison d'etre, for many scientists too. For the traffic engineer continuity and predictability are at a premium, as they are for the property developer. Ideally even certainty. The lawyer thrives within a plethora of rules to be nit-picked to...

Artistic thinking36

The values and attributes that dominate and are responsible for the malaise of the modern world - narrow conceptions of efficiency and rationality - are almost diametrically opposed to the values promoted by artistic creativity. The former worldview is summed up by words such as 'goal', 'objective', 'focus', 'strategy', 'outcome', 'calculation', 'measurable', 'quantifiable', 'logical', 'solution', 'efficient', 'effective', 'economic sense', 'profitable', 'rational' and 'linear'. In contrast,...

Transporting into a past sensescape13

To understand the sensescape of cities today, transport yourself back into a yesterday perhaps 250 years ago somewhere in Europe. Subtract the noises, smells and what you can see, touch and taste one by one the car, petrol fumes, the hum of electrical appliances, air conditioning, grinding mechanical noises, asphalt, tall buildings, the profusion of glass, plastic materials and concrete. Mid-18th century, a central street like Oxford Street in London, Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg or Via...

Are Barcelona and Bilbao creative Barcelona

Spanish cities like Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville and Valencia have perhaps more to teach us about creative physical urban reinvention than cities in any other country in Europe or elsewhere. The pent-up energy contained during the Franco dictatorship period burst forth from the 1980s onwards as cities and regions sought to reassert their identity and presence and become part of the heart of Europe again rather than pariahs at the edge. Barcelona and Bilbao have inspired each other. For...

Reassigning the value of unconnected resources

Creative potential is often revealed when one connects things others see as unrelated. Each element might be small but brought together the whole is large. This is how the creative or cultural industries concept initially developed. The individual music, film, graphics, theatre, dance and visual arts sectors were relatively small and usually assessed in isolation, yet when the interconnections between sectors were identified and their overall scope and scale assessed, it was realized they made...

From rhetoric to reality

The Renaissance City concept was theoretically strong and many subscribed to its intentions. The Renaissance City strategy implied a completely different way of operating, but this has not yet occurred. The historical mindset that worked so well for the past has not adjusted. The notion of a creative city implies a level of openness that potentially threatens Singapore's traditions of more top-down action. Nevertheless, this issue is at least being openly discussed. As an instance of how...

The City as a Living Work of

This chapter of The Art of City-Making begins to draw conclusions together and approaches the questions 'Where next ' and 'What to do ' Many of the ideas raised here were first developed in Adelaide, where I was employed as Thinker in Residence.1 Adelaide has great qualities, from wine to engineering to its lifestyle, and any passing criticisms made of the city should be put in the context of the openness which Adelaide displayed to me. The city was courageous in allowing itself to be used as...

Washing and toilet flushing

Shortage of water is emerging as a global crisis and many predict that the wars of the future will be fought over control over water. Water gets to us through a daunting network of pipes to households and Londoners use approximately 155 litres a day each, compared to the average for England of 149 litres, a third of which is used flushing the toilet. An American uses more than treble the amount, while the average African uses only 50 litres a day.5 In taking a 5-minute shower, we use about 35...

Transport

About a billion trips are made on the London Underground each year, 70 per cent more than in 1980.28 Four thousand London Underground carriages whiz around 408km of route (181 in tunnels), travelling at an average speed of 32km per hour, including Cars being the priority, pedestrians have to adapt stops. The metro uses 1091 gigawatt-hours of electric power a year - less than 1 per cent of the total for London. On the surface things move more slowly inner London traffic speeds are between 19 and...

An imaginary journey

How you view the city varies according to who you are, where you come from, your culture, your status, your life stage and your interests. Yet some experiences of the city are the same for everyone. The city announces itself a long way off through the senses sight, sound and smell. Take yourself on an imaginary early morning journey from out of town in summertime to a big city, the most common journey on Earth. We could be in Europe, the US, Australia, China - anywhere city-bound. The...

Is Singapore creative

Singapore has a reputation for cleanliness, clockwork efficiency and a well-behaved citizenry. Your baggage has arrived on the airport belt before you have cleared immigration. The route into the city was the first in the world to be completely tree-lined and boulevarded and it exudes a contagious calmness. Shanghai has followed the example. These constitute positive first and last impressions. Things work the metro is on time, wireless internet connections are nearly ubiquitous, electronic...

Urban acupuncture and Curitibas creativity

Brazil's Curitiba, a city of 1.7 million, has tripled in population over the last 35 years. It is a byword for urban creativity and eco- urbanity. Curitiba, with Freiburg in Germany, is a forerunner in its concern for ecological urban development. Curitiba's public transport and park system and creative ways of turning weaknesses into strengths are its trademarks. Emblematic is its Open University of the Environment, the first of its kind in the world, set up in 1992 and located in a reclaimed...

Faultlines

Faultlines are change processes that are so deep-seated, intractable and contentious that they shape our entire worldview. They determine our landscape of thinking and decisions across multiple dimensions and can be global in scope, affecting our broadest purposes and ends. They may create insoluble problems and permanent ideological battlefields. Even if they eventually solve themselves, such problems are likely to take a very long time to resolve 50 years, 100 years or more. It is then more a...

Cultural literacy33

Cultural literacy is the ability to read, understand, find significance in, evaluate, compare and decode the local cultures in a place. This allows one to work out what is meaningful and significant to people who live there. We understand better the life cycle of the city in motion. We understand more what we see, feel, smell and hear. We grasp better the shapes of urban landscapes and why they came about. We sense history in how the city goes about its business, who the historic names of...

Its time forTreo kft

Speeding up the world allows no space for reflection saw in a lifetime in the Middle Ages, around 3500. Yet in a survey it was discovered that 99 per cent of messages are not consciously remembered.85 A reaction to speed is 'slowness'. Now joining the stress consultants, therapists and time-management consultants are 'slow coaches' to treat 'rushaholics' At work they are management freaks, on holiday they are activity freaks, in the evening their time is jammed with social functions they're...

Bilbao

Like Barcelona, Bilbao draws on its sense of history and a self-understanding of having a unique and unusual culture to give it strength and motivation. Added to which it is entrepreneurial. It fears the danger of being trampled upon. It is thus fiercely independent. Just in case we forget, it reminds us of its famous people Elkano, who completed the first circumnavigation of the globe after Magellan was killed in the Philippines, Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuits, Maurice Ravel,...

Civic creativity

In all great cities public-spirited generosity to the city is evident. Yet the question now for acknowledged creative cities such as New York, Paris, London and many others is whether they are creative enough or could they be more creative. There are many smaller cities coming up and challenging the formerly great centres, from Hong Kong to Singapore, from Vancouver to Zurich, from San Francisco to Melbourne and smaller still. And let's not forget the newly fashionable cities like Shanghai,...

Weird of strange

Keep Louisville Weird is a grassroots public awareness campaign, recently and quietly begun by a small but growing coalition of independent Louisville business owners who are concerned with the spreading homoge-nization of our hometown. We're concerned that the proliferation of chain stores and restaurants in Louisville is not only driving the independent business owner out of business, but is also robbing the city of much of its unique charm. While we don't discount the need for the Wal-Marts...

Creating open conditions

The goal of cities which try to be creative is to create conditions which are open enough so that urban decision-makers can rethink potential, for example turning waste into a commercial resource revalue hidden assets, for example discovering historic traditions that can be turned into a new product reconceive and remeasure assets, for example understanding that developing social capital also generates wealth reignite passion for the city by, for example, developing programmes so people can...

Democracy and creativity

Creativity relies on openness and its political counterpart is democracy - that is when it actually works. Yet creativity is also the capacity to squeeze through imagination whatever the circumstances so creativity will also exist in places such as Beijing or Dubai that are undemocratic. Yet it will be circumscribed. A boom town booms. The sheer hype, buzz and activity gives the allure of creativity, but speediness, a building boom and hysteria are no guarantee that it is actually happening. In...

Recapturing centrality

For the first time in history size and scale does not matter any more. Large cities no longer have the automatic advantage. Size, indeed, can now be a disadvantage. The sheer 'cityness' becomes invasive, transactions are too cumbersome, you fight against the traffic, ease of movement is constrained, and open space is too far away. In short, quality of life is not good enough. This is why in surveys of world's best cities places like Copenhagen, Zurich, Stockholm and Vancouver always come out...

Mass creativity

An extension of the creative milieu notion is how you encourage groups of people to be imaginative en masse. Open-source amendments to software is a version of this in a more restricted area. What is a city variety Perhaps it does not need to be so dramatic if thousands of people were 'creative' perhaps it could be too much. Incremental creativity might be the answer, whereby the open mindset is legitimated by leadership groupings or the media. For instance the change of Copenhagen from a...

What is a creative idea

What is a good, catalytic idea that can drive a process, that becomes the roadmap to move forward A great idea needs to be simple but complex in its potential. A good idea is instantly understandable, resonates and communicates iconically - you grasp it in one. A good idea needs to have layers, depth and be able to be interpreted and expressed creatively in many ways and involve many people who each feel they have something to offer. A good idea connects and suggests linkages. It is dynamic. It...

The creative city idea is allembracing

This is a pity, as the creative city concept is all-embracing. It is a clarion call to encourage open-mindedness and imagination from whatever source. It implies, too, a regard for tolerance, a precondition for cities to foster inventiveness. Its assumption and philosophy is that there is always more potential in a city than we imagine at first. It posits that conditions should be created in places for people to think, plan and act with imagination. This implies a massive opening out process...

The hard and the soft

To make a milieu happen requires infrastructures beyond the hardware - the buildings, roads and sewerage systems. Soft infrastructure includes the mental, the attitudes of mind, and even spiritual infrastructure, the aspirational core. It is the informal and formal intellectual infrastructure. The soft also includes the atmosphere which is allowed to exist by giving vent to the emotional realm of experiences and which is more visceral. We need to remember that essentially no city plans start...

Drawing power and the resonance of cities

The drawing power concept pulls the various aspects of a city's desirability together. It assesses the dynamics of attraction, retention and leakage of power, resources and talent. Equally, it looks at what repels people from a place. It is the blend of elements that make a city attractive and desirable. And different aspects will tempt different audiences power brokers, investors, industrialists, shoppers, tourists, property developers. The sum of these threads of attractiveness creates the...

Regaining confidence and a sense of self

The first step in getting a city back on its feet is to regain a sense of self, and psychological factors play an important role. Change processes initially cause places to lose their self-confidence as those things that are distinctive about them and the tried and tested ways of doing things are shown not to work. This might range from industrial decline, the loss of services or the brain drain of the more gifted leaving town. Gijon in Spain took two decades to regain some confidence after the...

And there are many more

Creative places both today and from yesterday. Let us remind ourselves of one from the past. Ragusa, now Dubrovnik, in Croatia was a classic example of a creative, knowledge-based city.52 Perhaps in its historical context it was a creative city for the world. For instance Ragusa's slogan was 'oblivi privatorum, publica curate' (forget the private issues and tend to the public ones). The government of the Ragusa Republic was liberal and early showed its concern for justice and humanitarian...

Recycling and greening

That the green agenda needs to rise up the priority list is obvious, but words and action remain kilometres apart. Statements of policy too rarely translate into imaginative incentives and innovative regulations to drive the green economy. Stringent guidelines for waste recycling, energy efficiency and green transport have been a start, but would create more impact if linked to incentives, such as central government giving a city a massive financial bonus for matching a green target. There are...

Redefining competitiveness

City competitiveness is usually defined as economic at core. But the competitiveness debate is becoming more sophisticated. Increasingly, new ideas are coming into play, such as an innovative business and cultural environment. Is the city a cradle of creativity with high rates of innovation within commerce, science and or the arts Does the city have clusters of cutting-edge niche specialisms requiring specialized networks of professionals Has the city got a strategic virtual location through...

A trajectory of risk consciousness

What social and political conditions have encouraged a risk perspective on life The question does not denigrate the contribution risk consciousness makes to addressing legitimate concerns. The pervasiveness of risk consciousness and aversion comes from deeper anxieties about life. They are part of broader historical forces impacting on our sense of self and how we view the world. From the early 1990s onwards a series of books highlighted a profound shift in our view of the modern world and...

Sensescapes

I use the suffix -scape in soundscape, smellscape and mindscape as I would in landscape. I want to convey the fluid panorama of perceptions. Building on the ideas of Arjun Appadurai,10 each scape is a perspective depending on the situation of those navigating their way within it and on how they view these scapes, how they perceive and act upon them. These are the shifting and fuzzy ways and shapes within which we construct our world and views about it. Appadurai defines further scapes which,...

Dilemmas for Singapore

The strengths of Singapore are known strong supporting factors such as good IT and telecommunications infrastructure, being a multicultural society with a bilingual policy, having a cosmopolitan and well-educated population, a well-developed arts and cultural infrastructure, its closeness to the huge Asian market and its new focus on 'translational' research which stimulates collaboration across disciplines. Its problem areas are its small local market, high costs of land, the relative weakness...

Linguistic shortcomings

We do not have a well-developed language to explore and describe the senses, let alone in relation to the city. This restricts our capacity to experience fully, as only when we have words can we build on primary sensations. Without suitable descriptors, it is difficult to create and work with a rich associational palette around a sensation. Often we have to turn to literature to seek linguistic inspiration. Sights are better articulated because in general we have a rich vocabulary around...

Food and eating

On an average day Londoners might eat over 3 million eggs in one form or another and the equivalent of about 350,000 large (800g) loaves of bread. As a nation, Britons eat nearly 10 billion eggs a year - 26 million every day - which placed end to end would reach from the Earth to the moon. Londoners consume 6,900,000 tonnes of food per annum. A good portion goes through Smithfield, which sells 85,000 tonnes of meat a year, and Billingsgate, which sells 35,000 tonnes of fish. Between 700 and 750...

A view from above

Cityness is what comes to mind when you stand back and let the essence of cities seep over you. Picture yourself arriving at a big city for the first time from the air. What thoughts and impressions come to mind On the whole, modern cities take on a Lego-like regularity when viewed from high altitude. Box-like buildings hug straight lines and curves while the general hardness of brick, cement and tarmac is occasionally punctuated by the dark green of trees or the lighter green of grass....

Has decivilization started

Between now and 2050 world population is expected to grow by 50 per cent and, as we have seen, our per capita consumptive demands on the planet are also growing fast. In the 1960s the world's ecological footprint was below the planet's biocapacity by the end of the 1970s it had risen to about one planet, where it stayed until about 1983. By the end of the millennium our footprint had reached 1.2 planets. We have now been living in ecological deficit for two decades.60...

The look of the city

When we envisage a city, we are quite likely - especially if we haven't been there before - to draw on previous, perhaps iconic, representations of it postcards, paintings, maps (London's wonderful though abstracted Tube map), TV programme opening titles (Eastenders for London, Friends for Manhattan) and news images (where else, alas, can you see a city's skyline changed live, as in the 9 11 disaster ). We may also recall personal memories of arrival -landing close to Las Vegas' Strip or...

Is Dubai creative

Having encouraged open-mindedness on your part, I must acknowledge that when it comes to Dubai, my own views aren't particularly charitable and it shows. By way of a justification for this polemic, while Dubai's modern history has a lot in it to be admired - determination and boldness, for example - I wish to provide a cautionary account of how great productive endeavour and transformation does not always equate to creativity. Remember that its productive endeavours contribute to the world's...

Reigniting the passion for learning

Advances in knowledge about how effective learning works should drive educational policy, strategy and institution-building such advances cannot be guided by views that are etched into current institutional practices that come from a former era. Learning needs to focus on and be seen through the eyes of those wishing to learn. This implies a major conceptual shift in how schools work, what they look like, the role of teachers, who should be regarded as a teacher and what the curriculum should...

Revisualizing soft and hard infrastructures

One such is soft infrastructure - the enabling and connective tissue that makes a creative milieu or clusters work. Soft infrastructures are the atmosphere, ambiance and milieu which the hard infrastructures enable. They are expressed in the capacity of people to connect, inter-relate and generate ideas that turn into products and services. They include too the talent of people, measured not only by educational level but also by imaginative capacity. But...

Soundscape

With urbanization comes a proliferation in sounds. Sound can have positive connotations in the context of music, but more is less with the increased roar of noise in the city. It becomes less differentiated and variegated. Put simply, there are more decibels from more sources. Yet many sounds attract people the busy hum of a commercial district, the twang of a guitar from a busker, the murmuring of human voices in a tranquil park offset from the hubbub of the city, the shouts of market traders,...

The limits to tourism

The scale and growth of development is unsustainable, especially if the growing numbers of middle class around the world want the same experience. For instance, if not Dublin why not Serbia and Montenegro It's all the same. The Vega City theme park project that United Entertainment Partners (UEP) originally planned for north Dublin is now likely to be built in Serbia and Montenegro. Fingal County Council voted by a 19 to 1 margin to reject the scheme for the US 7 billion theme park on 2500...

Learning from Katha

The goal of the art of city-making is to create more liveable places with decent services, good housing and the possibility of a livelihood. If these are missing, not to mention the basics like shelter, food, drinkable water and elementary security, there is the danger of falling back into chaos in spite of the selfless and courageous acts of individuals. I want to conclude the geography of misery with the story of an organization I know well. It stands as an exemplar for all the other creative...

Reassessing creativity

What being creative is should be redefined, as well as its emphasis. We should move away from an obsession with the creativity in entertainment, of media celebrities and fashion, although invention in these areas is often impressive. There is a creative divide. Some activities are deemed to be creative and others not, such as social work, and the latter become disenfranchised by the fashionability of creativity in narrower fields. But creative heroines and heroes can be found in any sphere,...

Works Cited

Adams, J. (2005) 'Hypermobility A challenge to governance', in C. Lyall and J. Tait (eds) New Modes of Governance Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment, Ashgate, Aldershot Alibhai-Brown (2001) Who Do We Think We Are Imagining the New Britain, Penguin, London American Journal of Public Health (2003) 'The impact of the built environment on health An emerging field', Special issue guest-edited by Richard R. Jackson, September Amin, A. (2007)...

Sameness and difference Suburbia and its discontents

Some might say that this imaginary drive is an unfair depiction, only bringing out the worst of city life. We could have started with a more positive metropolitan adventure - one that skirts the more artsy, ethnically diverse side of things - but the drudgery of the daily commute is far more familiar. We could have driven the other way towards suburbia, the setting cognoscenti love to hate. One might tut tut at its popularity, but only 17 per cent against 83 per cent of Americans expressed a...

Push and pull

Transitional periods of history, like the Industrial Revolution or the technological revolution of the past 50 years, can produce confusion - a sense of liberation combined with a feeling of being swept along by events. It thus takes a while for new ethical stances to take root or to establish new and coherent worldviews. For example, the link between the individual and the group is gradually being reconfigured, as bonds to traditional place-based communities have fractured and been weakened by...

Prisons and borders

Think of the once-proud Shkodra in Albania, now forgotten at the edge of Montenegro, where electricity is still intermittent and the potholes are deep enough to conceal a small child. The population was transformed after the flight of many of the ambitious to Tirana, tempted by its glitz and apparent opportunities. The mountain villagers, who in turn are tempted by Shkodra, have replaced them. Clannish attitudes linger in the city and family blood feuds persist. For instance, in December 2000...

Smellscape

That smell is extremely evocative is evidenced by neuroscience. The olfactory system has close anatomical affinity with the limbic system and hippocampus, 'areas of the brain that have long been known to be involved in emotion and place memory, respectively.'31 Olfactory information is therefore easily stored in long-term memory and has strong connections to emotional memory. Smell can remind us sharply of a precise moment a very long way back. Perhaps the smell of an old relative or the whiff...

Peopletrafficking and the sex trade

After drugs and arms trading, the 4 billion global sex trade business comes in third in illegal trade. An estimated 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked in this way per annum, according to the US State Department. I witnessed for myself several instances in Iasi in Romania on the Moldavian border and then in Moldova's capital Kishinev burly, blurry-eyed men in their 40s shacked up in hotels with waif-like 18-year-olds waiting to be transported on. The contrasts in Kishinev are stark. The main...

Shifting the Zeitgeist Better choices politics and power

City-making is about making choices, applying values, using politics to turn values into policies and exerting power to get your way. Choices reflect our beliefs and attitudes, which are based on values and value judgements. These in turn are shaped by our culture. So the scope, possibilities, style and tenor of a city's physical look and its social, ecological and economic development are culturally shaped - culture moves centre-stage. If, for example, a culture invests its faith only in the...

The past is a prettier place

But the older fabric with which European cities can work is a true gift. It gives far greater scope to mould cultural resources. You can work with layers of history and the patina of ages, blending old and new. You can contain the car and make places walkable, and the density makes public transport very efficient. Yet finding novel, vibrant roles and purposes for the more ancient European towns, beyond keeping them pretty for tourists, is hard. Nothing wrong with tourists, but when there are...

Materials Cement asphalt and steel

In 2000 Londoners consumed 49 million tonnes of materials - 6.7 tonnes per person. Some 27.8 million tonnes were consumed by the construction sector, out of which 26 million tonnes of waste was generated 15 million by the construction and demolition sectors, 7.9 million by commerce and industry and 3.4 million by households. Buildings consume some 40 per cent of materials in the global community. And cement is a key component. In 2000 1.56 billion tonnes of Portland cement was manufactured...

Chapter Two The Sensory Landscape of Cities

Equilibrioception. Our 'metaphysical senses' include clairsentience, the ability to 'feel' energy and non-physical matter clairaudience, which is 'psychic hearing' and occurs when one is able to 'hear' vibrations that are outside the range of the human ear and telepathy, which is communication between minds by some means other than sensory perception. See www.powerwatch.org.uk . Gardner (1983). Lyons and Helsinki, for example, have renowned light strategies. A...

Chapter Seven Creative Cities for the World

For the general notion see, for instance, www.actsofkindness.org . Landry and Bianchini (1995) (the first version of The Creative City). Thanks to Professor Kian Woon Kwok for the karaoke comparison. Landry (2000) includes case studies of Emscher Park and Helsinki. See See www.libanmall .com main beirut.htm. See See EMAAR is a major Dubai developer responsible for initiatives such as the Burj al-Arab and increasingly operating globally. The government has a 32 per cent stake in the company and...

The Sensory Landscape of Cities

What do things look like What colours do you see How far can you see What do you smell What sounds do you hear What do you feel What do you touch The city is an assault on the senses. Cities are sensory, emotional experiences, for good and for bad. But we are not accustomed to articulating things in this way the smelling, hearing, seeing, touching and even tasting of the city are left to travel literature and brochures. It taxes our vocabulary as we are used to describing the city in an...

Mindflow and mindset

From the above we can say that every professional practice coalesces around a mindflow and a resulting default pattern in looking at the world - a mindset. Clearly other personal characteristics come into play, such as the qualities of being humorous and All professions have a shape, a form, a mindset, a gestalt that follows them like a shadow All professions have a shape, a form, a mindset, a gestalt that follows them like a shadow confident, willing to listen or being pleasant. For this...

The car and the senses

The fact that city-making impacts on our senses is no better illustrated than by reference to the automobile. When a city is built with the car rather than the pedestrian - the person - in mind, the car underpins the sensory experience of that city. Too often, the urban background of what we see, smell and hear is car-related a sound wall is generated by the background hum of engines, punctuated by beeps and horns the lingering, pervasive smell of petrochemicals permeates the air the...

The City as a Guzzling Beast

Stark images like those in One Planet Many People Atlas of our Changing Environment by the UN Environment Programme can sear into your mind.1 Everywhere you look there is cityness. It has invaded our landscape, so shaping our mindscape. Comprised of time-series satellite images of the globe over the last few decades, the images provide powerful visual testimony to our increasing dominion over the planet. Considered ecologically, these images should sound alarm bells industrialization and...

Urban iconics

In The Creative City I make the distinction between narrative and iconic forms of communication. Narrative communication is concerned with creating arguments it takes time and promotes reflection. Its 'bandwidth' is wide as its scope is exploratory and linked to critical thinking. It is 'low density' in the sense of building understanding piece by piece. It is about creating meaning. Iconic communication, by contrast, seeks to be instantly recognized. It has a narrow 'bandwidth' and highly...

Capturing the Zeitgeist

In every age there are battles to capture the Zeitgeist, because when on your side it is a powerful ally. The goal is to portray adversaries as if they are acting against history in some sense. So, for instance, hardened reactionaries will accuse emergent trends of being woolly or devoid of reality in an attempt to put them down. Today the battles and dividing lines centre on your views around a series of faultlines, which determine whether you are 'one of us'. The emergent spirit has an...

An idea or a movement

Today we can even talk of a Creative City Movement,63 but back in the late 1980s, when most of the constituent ideas were being developed, the key terms discussed were culture, the arts, cultural planning, cultural resources and the cultural industries. Creativity as a broad-based attribute only came into common, as distinct from specialist, currency in the mid-1990s. Earlier Australia's Creative Nation, instigated in 1992 by Prime Minister Paul Keating, spelt out the country's cultural policy...