CATALYZING the Conversation: Creative Cities
By Dr. Mary McBride
Issue 13 Fall 2014
We are increasingly an urban planet. Our cities attract capital and talent, aggregate and organize activity and act as cultural and commercial hubs. But, our cities are also located on a larger planet, a biosphere upon which we citizens depend. If human beings are to thrive in dense urban spaces then these spaces will need to be generative. They will need to encourage human enterprise that can create both immediate and enduring value.
In this issue of Catalyst we explore the idea of Creative Cities as agents of radical re-imagination which can enable large numbers of people to live and work, profit and prosper together. Our contributors examine the degree to which increasing urbanization will reshape our relationship with our biosphere. They provide insight about how a city might organize its activities to minimize any negative impact on the planet. They suggest ways that we might organize our enterprise to encourage sociability, responsibility and delight. They offer examples of the impact of culture on a city’s ability to attract, retain and support creative enterprise.
Creative cities value the creative arts and use them to engage and stimulate community. Economic vitality and cultural vitality are necessary to each other. State sponsored A+E Districts have helped redefine Baltimore connecting community, culture, and commerce to increase the vitality of each. But, valuing the arts does not necessarily equate to valuing either equity or our environment. Sustained cultural and commercial vitality requires a cultivation of the relations between people and our shared world. Where socio-economic equity and environmental stewardship are not cultivated development is fragile.
Finally, cities must be home. And, they must be home to many and diverse energies. Those cities that feel like home encourage us to invest our hopes and talents, to create and to thrive-together.