The Art of City-Making

The Art of City-Making

Charles Landry

London • Sterling, VA

First published by Earthscan in the UK and USA in 2006 Copyright © Charles Landry, 2006 All rights reserved ISBN-10: ISBN-13: 1-84407-245-2 paperback 1-84407-246-0 hardback 978-1-84407-245-3 paperback 978-1-84407-246-0 hardback

Typeset by MapSet Ltd, Gateshead, UK Printed and bound in the UK by Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, UK Cover design by Susanne Harris For a full list of publications please contact: Earthscan 8–12 Camden High Street London, NW1 0JH, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7387 8558 Fax: +44 (0)20 7387 8998 Email: Web: 22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012, USA Earthscan is an imprint of James and James (Science Publishers) Ltd and publishes in association with the International Institute for Environment and Development A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Landry, Charles. The art of city-making / Charles Landry. p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-245-3 (pbk.) ISBN-10: 1-84407-245-2 (pbk.) ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-246-0 (hardback) ISBN-10: 1-84407-246-0 (hardback) 1. City planning. 2. City and town life. I. Title. HT166.L329 2006 307.1’216—dc22 2006021878 The paper used for this book is FSC-certified and totally chlorine-free. FSC (the Forest Stewardship Council) is an international network to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.


List of Boxes List of Photographs Acronyms and Abbreviations Acknowledgements Chapter One: Overture City-making and responsibility Art and science Push and pull Unresolved and unclear Secular humanism Shifting the Zeitgeist Cityness is Everywhere A view from above An imaginary journey Sameness and difference Chapter Two: The Sensory Landscape of Cities Sensescapes The car and the senses Transporting into a past sensescape Linguistic shortcomings Soundscape Smellscape The look of the city Chapter Three: Unhinged and Unbalanced The City as a Guzzling Beast The logistics of a cup of tea Washing and toilet flushing

xi xiii xv xvii 1 6 7 9 11 12 14 19 26 27 29 39 45 46 48 50 51 61 68 77 77 78 79

vi The Art of City-Making Food and eating Rubbish Transport Materials: Cement, asphalt and steel The ecological footprint Urban Logistics Has decivilization started? The Geography of Misery Organized crime and the rule of fear People-trafficking and the sex trade The human cost of change Grinding poverty and stolen childhood Filth Prisons and borders Tourism and its discontents Cultural prosperity among poverty Learning from Katha The Geography of Desire Ordinary desire Pumping up desire Mentally moving on before arriving Speed and slowness Trendspotting or trainspotting? The shopping repertoire Making more of the night The Geography of Blandness The march of the mall The death of diversity and ordinary distinctiveness The curse of convenience Shedland Chapter Four: Repertoires and Resistance Urban Repertoires From Prado to Prada Urban iconics The crisis of meaning and experience Capturing the final frontier: Ad-creep and beyond Gratification over fulfilment Urban Resonance The city as a fashion item 80 81 83 86 88 88 91 93 95 98 99 101 102 103 104 105 107 109 111 113 115 116 118 119 124 125 127 131 135 140 143 143 143 146 151 153 154 155 155

Contents vii Drawing power and the resonance of cities Forms of drawing power Cities on the radar screen Borrowing the Landscape Selling places The limits to tourism Urban Rituals Making the most of resources Meaningful experiences A Coda: Urban Resistances Chapter Five: The Complicated and the Complex The Forces of Change: Unscrambling Complexity A conceptual framework Faultlines Battlegrounds Paradoxes Risk and creativity Drivers of change Aligning Professional Mindsets Escaping the silo Whole connections and specialist parts Stereotypes and the professions Balancing skills Opening Mindsets and the Professions The professional gestalt Mindflow and mindset The blight of reductionism Professions and identity Performance culture Stretching boundaries Insights and crossovers Blindspots in City-Making The emotions Environmental psychology Cultural literacy Artistic thinking Diversity Towards a common agenda The new generalist 158 161 163 166 172 174 176 176 180 186 189 189 192 193 197 199 201 208 211 212 214 217 226 227 227 228 231 232 233 234 238 240 240 243 245 249 253 263 264

viii The Art of City-Making Chapter Six: The City as a Living Work of Art Re-enchanting the city Re-establishing your playing field Reassessing creativity Revaluing hidden assets: A creativity and obstacle audit Reassigning the value of unconnected resources Recycling and greening Recapturing centrality Revisualizing soft and hard infrastructures Redefining competitiveness Rethinking calculations of worth: The asphalt currency Rebalancing the scorecard: The complexities of capital Regaining confidence and a sense of self Renewing leadership capacity Realigning rules to work for vision Renaming risk management policy Reconceiving the city Reimagining planning Remapping the city Redelineating urban roles Reasserting principles of development Reconnecting difficult partners: New Urbanism and Le Corbusier Reshaping behaviour Reconsidering the learning city Reigniting the passion for learning Revaluing and reinvesting in people and home-grown talent Repairing health through the built environment Reversing decline Remeasuring assets Re-presenting and repositioning Retelling the story Knitting the threads together What is a creative idea? A final coda: Reconsidering jargon 267 268 268 270 272 275 277 278 281 285 287 287 290 291 292 295 295 298 300 301 304 305 308 310 313 315 318 319 321 323 326 329 331 332

Contents ix Chapter Seven: Creative Cities for the World Ethics and creativity Civic creativity Is Dubai creative? Is Singapore creative? Are Barcelona and Bilbao creative? Urban acupuncture and Curitiba’s creativity … and there are many more The Management of Fragility: Creativity and the City Creative ecology The creative rash An idea or a movement Creativity: Components Where are the creative places? Where next? Fine judgement and the formula Urgency and creativity Ten ideas to start the creative city process Endpiece ‘Why I Think What I Think’ Notes Bibliography Index 335 335 338 341 350 361 376 381 385 385 386 387 390 407 415 420 420 422 425 426 429 443 451 .


List of Boxes The long-distance lunch Trendspotting Weird = ‘of strange or extraordinary character’ Recreating the past for the future Blandness and city identity Urban acupuncture and social capital Synchronicity and origins 81 120 127 130 134 379 389 .


000 bunkers in Albania Libraries are among the most inclusive cultural institutions Speeding up the world allows no space for reflection Corporate blandness. a form. All photographs in the two colour sections are by Charles Landry.List of Photographs Sources are credited beside each photograph for those in the list below. pedestrians have to adapt The basic infrastructures of life simply do not exist in many places across the world One of nearly 600. Creative city-making is a fragile affair The city is more than ‘roads. a gestalt Too many people think of the city as simply bricks and mortar 4 20 25 47 84 92 103 112 117 126 129 144 146 150 190 229 264 . Ireland The urban regenerators repertoire The Guggenheim in Bilbao Canberra’s National Museum Anish Kapoor’s beautiful and popular sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park All professions have a shape. rates and rubbish’ Cityness sprawls into every crevice of what was once nature How many old industrial buildings are left to be regenerated? Cars being the priority. anywhereville A good secondary shopping street in Cork. a mindset.


Acronyms and Abbreviations 3PL BID BME CABE CDM CIAM CLES CNU GaWC IBA ICLEI IPPUC IR KVI MACBA MFP NPF PPS RFID TEU UDA UNESCO third party logistics business improvement district black and minority ethnic Commission on Architecture and the Built Environment Construction. Design and Management Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne Centre for Local Economic Strategy Congress of New Urbanism Global and World Cities International Bauaustellung International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives Institute of Urban Planning and Research of Curitiba integrated resort known value item Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona Multifunction Polis National Planning Forum Planning Policy Statement radio frequency identification twenty foot equivalent unit Urban Design Alliance United Nations Educational. Scientific and Cultural Organization .


for the conversations. Petra Bischoff and Elisa Fuchs gave me the chance to try out ideas in the book in Albania and the opportunity to survey projects throughout southeastern Europe. Gabrielle Boyle. the Premier of South Australia who appointed me as ‘thinker’. and then the many people I have worked with. Honor Chapman (formerly of Future London) and Greg Clark provided the chance to research the background to the sections on ‘Aligning Professional Mindsets’ and ‘Blindspots in City-Making’. The Adelaide period in 2003 gave me a real chance to think some things through and the chapter ‘The City as a Living Work of Art’ comes from that period. and Mike Rann. Jim Bage. Someone encourages you and gives you confidence. someone gives you a crisp turn of phrase that encapsulates a point well. you pick up ideas. Chris Murray commissioned work on creativity and risk. My Swiss friends Toni Linder. which is a theme throughout the book. from Ukraine to Bosnia. You learn from others. Besim Petrela managed many trips throughout Albania and his surgeon brother operated on my septic arm in the middle of the night in Tirana. Key ideas from those . who put my Adelaide Thinkers in Residence programme together. of which she is director.Acknowledgements Writing a book is never a lone endeavour. This has appeared as Culture at the Heart of Transformation. John Worthington of DEGW and chair of Building Futures gave me the opportunity to write Riding the Rapids: Urban Life in an Age of Complexity. especially Margie Caust and Richard Brecknock. who helped craft the text into a sharper form and did the research for the section ‘The City as a Guzzling Beast’. and the ‘Unscrambling Complexity’ sections benefited from that collaboration. I have many people to thank: Ed Beerbohm. Carol Coletta from Smart Cities is a friend but also asked me write a series of letters called ‘Letters to Urban Leaders’ to the CEOs for Cities network in the States.

my friends from Metaa in Korea. which are a good source of distraction. Masayuki Sasaki. Patricia Zaido. Doug Pigg. Richard Best.xviii The Art of City-Making appear throughout the text. . Nick Falk. Dickon Robinson. Hamish Ironside from Earthscan. Christine Sullivan. Jonathan Hyams. Simon Brault. Tim Jones. Robert Palmer. Andy Howell. Leonie Sandercock … and of course the growing family of wild ducks outside my window. Meg van Rosendaal. Evert Verhagen. Martin Evans. Theresa McDonagh. Marc Pachter. Erin Williams. Andrew Kelly. Paul Brown. especially in relation to the Intercultural City project. Others who need thanking include: Phil Wood and Jude Bloomfield. Thierry Baert. Susan Serran. Peter Kageyama. Richard Jackson.

but don’t copy them thoughtlessly. it is not a formula. It helps the aim of cities becoming places of solidarity. the group and the outsider to the city and the planet are in better alignment. Cities focused mainly on best practices are followers not leaders and do not take the required risks to move themselves forward. yet be open to outside influences. ten-point plan that can be mechanically applied to guarantee success in any eventuality.1 Overture City-making is a complex art. Balance local and global. It gives city-making an ethical foundation. Encourage projects that add value economically while simultaneously reinforcing ethical values.1 This one change of word – from ‘in’ to ‘for’ – has dramatic implications for a city’s operating dynamics. There is no simplistic. given the chance. But there are some strong principles that can help send good city-making on its way: • The most significant argument of The Art of City-Making is that a city should not seek to be the most creative city in the world (or region or state) – it should strive to be the best and most imaginative city for the world. where the relations of the individual. Go with the grain of local cultures and their distinctiveness. These can be cities of passion and compassion. Involve those affected by what you do in decision-making. It is astonishing how ordinary people can make the extraordinary happen. Learn from what others have done well. This means revisiting the • • • • .

Combining social and environmental with economic accounting helps identify projects that pass this test. We have forgotten how to understand the smells of the city. The imagination of people. lived experience. Sensory manipulation is distancing us from our cities and we are losing our visceral knowledge of them. Cities are like relatives: you never really escape. How often do strategic urban plans start with the words ‘beauty’. It will imply behaviour change to meet value-based goals such as putting a halt to the exploitation of the environment. Civic creativity is imaginative problem-solving applied to public good objectives. The new economy requires an ethical value base to guide action. ‘happiness’ or ‘excitement’. These include the following: • Our sensory landscape is shrinking precisely at the moment when it should be broadening. is our greatest resource. detached being. Foster civic creativity as the ethos of your city. The city is discussed in barren. This is naïve. Every place can make more out of its potential if the preconditions to think. ‘spatial outcome’ or ‘planning framework’? To understand the city and to capture its potential requires us to deal with five major blindspots: we need to think differently • • . it is a sensory. The city is more than hardware. eviscerated terms and in technical jargon by urban professionals as it if were a lifeless.2 The Art of City-Making balance between individual wants and collective and planetary needs relevant to the 21st century. though within the bounds of accountability. Instead there is information and sensory overload in the name of making the city a spectacular experience. The ‘fair trade’ movement is an example. to grasp the messages its look sends out and to be aware of its materials. In fact. and the private sector being more aware of its responsibilities to the collective whole. plan and act with imagination are present. • • You will come across recurring themes in The Art of City-Making. Too often value is defined narrowly in terms of financial calculus. combined with other qualities such as tenacity and courage. ‘love’. as opposed to ‘bypass’. to listen to its noises. emotional. It involves the public sector being more entrepreneurial.

we need to perceive the city as a more comprehensively sensory experience. and we need to recognize the artistic in all of us. we need to feel the city as an emotional experience. It is thus a good medium through which to provide stories about the world. institution or practice for granted or treat them as immutable. Cities need stories or cultural narratives about themselves to both anchor and drive identity as well as to galvanize citizens. is a superior way of describing the world because it can explain change and its causes and effects and does not take any ideology. in so doing. This places responsibility on us. the market system shrouds our consciousness while plumping up desire and consumption. • • • • A conceptual framework is offered to help us unscramble complexity. however. that such cultural narratives are difficult to measure. of mutual caring or nurturing the environment. in contrast to economics or sociology. There is an imperative to make the market system serve the bigger picture – through incentives. It focuses on assessing deeper faultlines and problems that will . of social mixing. so understanding its effect on individuals. to break up social solidarities. These stories allow individuals to submerge themselves into bigger. Culture is concerned with human behaviours and so cultural analysis can be expressed in human terms we find familiar and engaging. we need to understand cities culturally – cultural literacy is the skill that will help us better understand the dynamics of cities. more lofty endeavours. The market logic has a tendency to fragment groups into units of consumption and enclaves and. We shall return to this contention later. Like a veil. A city which describes itself as the ‘city of churches’ fosters different behavioural patterns in citizens than a city that projects itself as a ‘city of second chances’. But the latter are needed if intractable urban problems such as meeting responsibility for the public realm or natural surveillance are to be achieved.) The internal logic of the unfettered market reveals a limited story of ambition and no ethics or morality. It has no view of the ‘good life’. regulations … or whatever. (Critics complain. which can lead us to a different level of experience. An understanding of culture.Overture 3 – in a more rounded way – in order to see the connections between things.

but they are only responsible for a part. This could be an invisible planner. All urban professions should consider thinking like artists.4 The Art of City-Making Creative city-making is a fragile affair. day-to-day. that because of this fragmentation and the competing rules of different professions and interests we cannot build the cities we love anymore – the current rules. and downstream impacts are not seen or costed. focusing much more on unleashing the mass of ordinary. Rethink who our celebrities are and what an urban heroine or hero should be. Some of the main points made in The Art of City-Making are that the overall dynamic of the system that governs city-making is far less rational than it makes itself appear – it does not look at comprehensive flows. forbid it. The Art of City-Making proposes that we: • Redefine the scope of creativity. And. not least. dormant creativity that lies within most of us. • • . requiring constant alertness within an ethical framework of values Source: Collin Bogaars take generations to solve: traditional drivers such as IT and the ageing population. that 6 billion people on the planet is too many unless lifestyles change dramatically. a business person. and paradoxes such as the simultaneous rise of a riskaverse culture with a pressure to be creative and to break the rules. connections or inter-relationships. that city-making is no one’s job – the urban professions and politicians may believe it is theirs. Creativity is in danger of being swallowed up by fashion. battlegrounds and the day-to-day contests over priorities. a social worker or an artist. especially concerning traffic engineering. planning like generals and acting like impresarios. This would represent a shift in attention from assuming creativity only comprises the creative industries and media. The focus should fall equally on social and other forms of creativity. Recognize artistic thinking as helpful in finding imaginative solutions and engaging and moving people.

while the soft is akin to the . Delhi. Over time. even hellish. The city comprises both hard and soft infrastructure. Infused throughout are the people who populate the city. It cannot be viewed as merely a series of elements. although each element is important in its own right. They mould the physical into shape and frame its use and how it feels. Shanghai. The building speaks to its neighbouring building and to the street. We now know that the art of city-making involves all the arts. This entails renegotiating power relations with national governments. the arts of engineering. Kyoto. Canton/Gúangzhõu. the art of understanding human needs. For too long we believed that city-making involved only the art of architecture and land-use planning. The worst are forgettable. the art of circulation and city movement. Varanasi. Isfahan. and the street in turn helps fashion its neighbourhood. We could go on. their cultures. Most importantly. property development and project management began to form part of the pantheon. skills and values embodied in these arts help make places out of simple spaces. on a smaller scale. Berne. and their people and ideas: Cairo. The city is an interconnected whole. surveying. San Francisco. The hard is like the bone structure. Vancouver. Rome. inspiration and celebration. For that to happen. the mindsets. Our best cities are the most elaborate and sophisticated artefacts humans have conceived. the art of urban design. And let’s not forget community endorsement. Together. wants and desires. health. the art of generating wealth and bending the dynamics of the market and economics to the city’s needs. New York. valuing. Constantinople. good city-making requires the art of adding value and values simultaneously in everything undertaken. At its best. the physical alone do not make a city or a place. damaging.Overture 5 • See that there is a major opportunity for the return of the city state and for cities to become value-driven to a much greater extent than nation states can ever be. Shibam. Their names resonate as we think simultaneously about their physical presence. and the art of trading power for creative influence so the power of people is unleashed must all be deployed. their activities. the skeleton. When we consider a constituent part we cannot ignore its relation to the rest. destructive. Florence. A cursory look at the globe reveals the names of cities old and new. or. shaped and made. good city-making leads to the highest achievement of human culture.

City-making and responsibility Whose responsibility is it to make our cities? While the forms they take are usually unintentional. The Art of City-Making is quite a long book. is its culture. and easy wins or instantly visible results – the building . For instance. it is a designed environment – an artefact.6 The Art of City-Making nervous system and its synapses. even disparate purposes. risks are not taken. beliefs and habits – gives the city its distinctiveness – its flavour. and therefore about politics. to clarify and simplify. self-contained chunks. The imperative to get re-elected can stifle leadership. and it is a natural environment – an ecosystem. but they can get too concerned with managing a party rather than a city. And our cities reflect the forces of power that have shaped them. Thus. Politicians say it is theirs. Culture – the things we find important. and to help the reader throw light on complex. They are the product of decisions made for individual. but there are different rhythms beating in its pages and I hope it is easy to read in bite-sized. Chapter 6 (‘The City as a Living Work of Art’) is like a toolbox of ideas with which to move forward. and therefore about the play of power. society. separate. City-making is about choices. tone and patina. And it is all four of these – economy. as we draw towards the end. One cannot exist without the other. Elected officials can get addicted to shorter-term thinking. The second half of the book seeks to bring all these things together. while the section on ‘The City as a Guzzling Beast’ (Chapter 3) is fact-driven. Chapter 2 (‘The Sensory Landscape of Cities’) has one mood and attempts to be lyrical in parts. and the sections on the geography of misery and desire have a more exasperated tone. it is a community of people – a society. Its inner engine or animating force. And ‘Creative Cities for the World’ and ‘Creativity and the City: Thinking Through the Steps’ invite the reader to make their own judgements about what places are really inventive and why. bigger issues affecting cities. The city is a multifaceted entity. cities are not mere accidents. The art of city-making touches all these dimensions. however. whose inter-relationships and side-effects have not been fully considered. City-making is in fact no one person’s job. artefact and ecosystem – governed by an agreed set of rules – a polity. It is an economic structure – an economy.

Art and science The Art of City-Making privileges the word ‘art’ over ‘science’. What is needed is more than being a mere networker or broker of professions and requires a deeply etched understanding of what essence each professional grouping brings or could bring to the art of city-making. surveyors. planners or architects. It acknowledges. such as those that set patterns for a turning circle or the width of pavements. albeit requiring rethinking on occasion. given a particular area of expertise. knowledge and skill bases. which is why leadership in its fullest sense is so important – seemingly disparate parts have to be melded into a whole. where it could be going and how it fits into a global pattern. at present.or placemaking. is more like improvised jazz than chamber music. even though they are responsible only for aspects of the physical parts.Overture 7 of a bypass. Yet if there is no conscious overarching sense of city. The spirit of city-making. we go by default patterns and the core assumptions of each profession – their technical codes. But such codes. and everyone can be a leader. The urban professions would claim they are in charge. say. standards and guidelines. though. then everyone is to blame for our many ugly. Perhaps a local partnership or a chief executive officer is responsible? No – probably not. provide a cohesive template for city-making. standards and guidelines do not. viewed in isolation. or putting up as many housing units as possible – are thrust to the fore. orchestration occurs through seemingly unwritten rules. no one is responsible. on their own. with its necessary creativity and imagination. is probably fine. One moment the highway engineers are the scapegoats. The technical knowledge of highway engineers. soulless. unworkable cities and our occasional places of delight. Good city-making requires myriad acts of persistence and courage that need to be aligned like a good piece of music. the next it’s the planner or the developer. As if by some mysterious process. And there is a pass-the-parcel attitude to responsibility. ways of thinking. There is experimentation. But if. There is not just one conductor. It is no one person’s job at present to connect the agendas. trial and error. that we can still be scientific in the proce- . but a technical manual does not create a bigger picture of what a city is.

These arts are in fact skills acquired by experience and acute observation. a similar. there are also principles that tend to work across particularities. the use of imagination and discipline. and certainly interpret things and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses. may have been deemed culturally insensitive. even when the factors seem the same. requiring deep knowledge. different forms of insight are needed. Yet what gives . rather than against. Fine judgement is key to city-making. the ability to grasp the essence of other subjects. The compound city-making is preferred to city-building. gather information and resources. since the latter implies that the city is only that which the built environment professions have physically constructed. in addition. for example from the hard science of engineering to the soft science of environmental psychology. For example. The steering groups involved decided prior to the campaign that this was an appropriate approach for Leicester. ‘negative’ approach in neighbouring Derby. to be interdisciplinary. As in the natural sciences. analyse facts and data and on occasion perform experiments. However. we can define questions. the grain of peoples’ cultural backgrounds in implementing projects. posters declaring ‘Leicester is boring’ worked positively because there was enough resilience in the city to both understand the nuggets of truth embodied in the campaign and to respond actively to the criticism and to appreciate irony. and these change all the time. Knowledge of local cultural particularities and context is therefore always paramount. We are in the realm of the subjective. for example. may not work in another. What works in one situation. but also. But while specialized judgement in particular cases is key. to launch the long-term image and selfperception campaign in Leicester. form hypotheses. The phrase ‘the art of’ in itself implies judgements of value.8 The Art of City-Making dures of how we approach city issues. But given the array of things in a city to consider. from simple listening to more formalized comparative methods and understanding how intangible issues like image can help urban competitiveness. Science assumes a predictability that the human ecologies that are cities cannot provide. ineffectual or just plain unsuitable. It implies there is a profound understanding of each city-making area. The methods used to gain insight and knowledge are broadranging. Adhering to methodologies is inappropriate. such as going with.

include environmental and social occupations such as conservation advisers or care professionals. geographers. meaning and purpose are the acts people perform on the physical stage. and it is they. the glue that ties things together. can produce confusion – a sense of liberation combined with a feeling of being swept along by events. Yet too often we rely on the priesthood of those concerned with the physical. economic development specialists. foreboding. who are responsible for the cities we have. community professions and volunteers. Unless all these people are part of the urban story. the police. anthropologists. There are also historians. local businesses and the media – that makes a city tick. as bonds to traditional place-based communities have fractured and been weakened by increasing mobility and decreasing provision by public authorities. It thus takes a while for new ethical stances to take root or to establish new and coherent worldviews. there is a need for visionaries who can pinpoint what each city’s prospects are and where it might be going. psychologists and many other specialists. the physical remains an empty shell. The temper of the age is one of uncertainty. Within all these groups. to increase the credibility and status of the scriptwriters. health workers. For example. Acerbically we might ask: Do they understand people and their emotions? Do some of them even like people? Push and pull Transitional periods of history. the . Among the present-day young. The core professions. local identities or senses of belonging in this context is difficult. Then there is the wider public itself.Overture 9 a city life. the link between the individual and the group is gradually being reconfigured. the IT community. like the Industrial Revolution or the technological revolution of the past 50 years. perhaps more than others. The stage set is not the play. Creating stable. and ‘cross-cutting’ people such as urban regeneration experts. It is hard to see a way to a Golden Age. The physical things are only the accoutrements. people who understand popular culture. helpful instruments and devices. beyond the built environment people. vulnerability and lack of control over overweening global forces. But the aim here is to shift the balance. And there is a still wider group – including educators. Countless skills come to mind. the directors and performers.

is absent. goals and audiences each demand something different. How do you create coherence out of wants and needs that do not align? One demands a local bus stop shelter. the talented the world over. They need to attract investment bankers. another airport connectivity across the world. to the widest global platform. Day-to-day life needs to work. City mayors or key officials know about the contradictory demands of successful city-making in this context. issues that the world cannot avoid and that cities have to respond to. for others it is merely copying the crowd. an instantly recognizable city brand to disseminate is the way forward. align and unify this diversity so the resulting city feels coherent and can operate consistently. A significant proportion of the young today feel change is potentially threatening rather than liberating. bigger cities must play on varied stages – from the immediately local. Working on different scales and complexity is hard: the challenge is to coalesce. inward-investing companies.10 The Art of City-Making Zeitgeist of the 1960s generation. for some. The list is endless. housing and health facilities are up to speed. Cities must speak to a world well beyond national government. one audience wants just a few tourists to ensure the city remains more distinctly itself. curtailing crime. another a global brand. They experience and navigate the push and pull of clearing rubbish. Often they pull and stretch in diverging directions. with its sense of ‘we can change the world’. reducing noise. another as many as possible to generate money. through the regional and national. But mayors and their cities have to paint on a much larger canvas if they are to generate the wealth and prosperity to fund the necessary investments in infrastructures and facilities that generate the quality of life of their cities. while leaving something in the kitty for culture. And this is a consideration that should shape what cities . To survive well. These mixed targets. property developers. making movement and transport easy. Global sustainability is one. ensuring urban services. But what is different about the spirit of the age is the recognition that the long-term effects of industrialism have hidden real costs. one wants to encourage local business incubators. But lurking in the background are bigger issues that play on the mind of the more visionary urban leader. They need to court the media through which the city’s resonance is either confirmed or generated.

Overture 11 do. But everyone knows the economic equations and urban formations that make this work as well as the tricks that seduce the user: city regions with hubs and nodes. It is too difficult. Sustainable places need to be sustaining across the range. tinged with guilt. what is their basis and what . depends on how much the individual is prepared to give up for wider public purposes. incentives like park and ride. But that time is coming at us fast. it requires dramatic behavioural change. the quality of connections between people and the organizational capacity of urban stakeholders become crucial. And there is more to add. as do issues of spatial segregation in cities and poverty. but at the same time these people do not want government to be so powerful. Cities need to be emotionally and psychologically sustaining. there is a tendency to pass the parcel on responsibility. how we move about. It is too easy to respond only when the horse has already bolted. since technological solutions can only take us so far. we cannot face the implications of getting out of the car or refitting the economy for the period beyond the oil age. to argue for the switch to public transport. reminding us of the power of cities to drive national agendas. to generate the taxes to create a transport system that feels great to use as much for the well-off as for those at the other end of the scale. for example. The issue has been solved in many parts of the world – think of Hong Kong or Curitiba – but it requires a different view of public investment and investment in the public good and. It has at least four pillars: the economic. how we behave and how we avert pollution. Unresolved and unclear There are many opinions in the text that follows and various conclusions are reached about how cities should move forward. Some say it should be government taking the lead. and disincentives to travel by car. But sustainability addresses more than environmental concerns. essentially. Yet many US cities have taken the lead over national government and signed the Kyoto agreement. As already mentioned. cultural and ecological. Where do these judgements come from. in individuals and decision-makers alike. and issues like the quality and design of the built environment. This means rethinking density and sprawl. social. Taken seriously. too many feel. There is already an air of resignation. how we build.

insight and knowledge are needed to make cities work? What qualities are needed to be a good city-maker? Imagination. but who does not want to engage with a weighty tome. It is an exploration that proposes we think of cities in enriched ways and in which I try to highlight things I think are important yet hidden. but what about courage. the suggestions I make and the preferences I .12 The Art of City-Making is the evidence?2 What I have laid out comes from my experience of observing cities. someone who is somewhat ground down by the difficulties of getting things done. energy and will to change things? My intention is to start a conversation with whoever is reading this as if we were mutually critical friends. Secular humanism A final point: The Art of City-Making is laden with assumptions that shape what I say. commitment and cleverness? Is it worth having lofty aims about cities and does this provide the motivation. Because of that I have tried to write in a conversational style. the conceptual. for sure. I have reflected on these encounters and am left with many unanswered questions. who has high-flown ideals. I have tried to switch between the evocative. Alternatively I have been thinking of questions like: Is it possible to create places where people from different backgrounds intermingle and where segregation is reduced? How can you tap the dormant energy of people that coexists side by side with pervasive passivity? What skills. the anecdotal and the exemplary and I hope this rhythm works. from talking to city leaders and the more powerful about how they want to make their cities better. This is not a step-by-step guide. Yet I have a reader in mind who is probably responsible for some field of city-making. As an example. focusing on density or being lax with sprawl. from participating in projects in cities from the small to the large. I keep on thinking of the balances that need to be achieved and then worry that this leads to compromise and blandness: creating urban delights or curtailing urban misery. worrying about what the world thinks of your city or just getting on with it regardless. This has made me even more curious about cities – I want to know how they work and how and why they succeed or fail. talents. and from talking to activists and the less powerful about what they want to change and how they are going to do it. I know many academics will find this irritating. who wants to be active yet feels they should stand back and contemplate.

since cities are such contested fields. It generates structured opportunities to learn to know ‘the other’. It seeks to consolidate different ways of living. The world is best understood. with no apparent point of view. Mine is an attitude or philosophy concerned with the capabilities. It is simply that its focus is on how people live together. It claims life can be best lived by applying ethics. concern and responsibility. In fact I treasure the heightened registers of being that spirituality evokes. . I feel it is right to make my ideological position explicit from the outset. cultures and conflicts. allowing strongly held beliefs or faiths expression within this core agreement. which in essence seek to foster competent. I subscribe to a secular humanist position that privileges civic values. It provides a frame within which difference can be lived and shared with mutual respect. The confident secular humanist view proposes a set of civic values and rules of engagement which include providing settings for a continually renewing dialogue across differences. These will probably become clear to you as the text unfolds.Overture 13 have. Secular humanism as a core Enlightenment project has been drained of confidence. It wishes to drive down decision-making on the subsidiarity principle. Its confidence needs to be restored. interests and achievements of human beings rather than the concepts and problems of science or theology. Central government takes on a more subsidiary role. ‘Secular’ does not mean emotionally barren. by reasoning and conversation without reference to higher authorities. both in terms of their actual functioning and what is said about them. This enhances participation and connectivity at local level. and acknowledging the ‘naturalness’ of conflict and establishing means and mediation devices to deal with difference. It feels exhausted and consequently is mistakenly accused of being ‘wishy-washy’. Indeed its animating force may be just the thing that makes some cities more liveable in than others. recognizing arenas in which we must all live together and those where we can live apart. I posit. It does not decry the virtues of science or the sustenance religion or other belief systems give. which implies much greater decentralization and devolution of power. Nevertheless. to explore and discover similarity and difference. which are an attempt to arrive at practical standards that provide principles to guide our common views and behaviour and to help resolve conflicts. confident and engaged citizenship. It helps generate interest.

What are the effects of these different values? Consider Mercer’s ‘quality of living’ rankings of 2006. The implications of the market-driven US approach for how city life actual feels to individuals is instructive. the logic. These in turn are shaped by our culture. So the scope. common or collective good that has value and is beyond the vagaries of the market. attending to the sickly or investing in youth. politics and power City-making is about making choices. Houston. It considers 39 criteria covering economics.4 This US company’s annual survey of 350 cities. City-making is a cultural project involving a battle about power. If. Six of the top eight cities are European. style and tenor of a city’s physical look and its social. ecological and economic development are culturally shaped – culture moves centre-stage. politics.3 If a culture holds that individual choice is everything – individuals always know best – this impacts the city. applying values. is the worst of all large US cities at 68th. possibilities. The top US cities are Honolulu at 27th and San Francisco at 28th. housing and lifestyle. with Zurich. focused especially on expatriates. Choices reflect our beliefs and attitudes. European. Challenging the paradigm The Art of City-Making wants to be a butterfly whose small movements contribute with many others to grander effects on a global scale. a culture invests its faith only in the market principle and trusts the drive of capital to produce sensible choices. and I want . for example. imitate environmental initiatives. Geneva and Vancouver the top three. Conversely. where you cannot walk the streets even if you want to. interests and points of view of those who control markets will count for more than those who believe market-based decision-making is an essentially impoverished system of choosing. using politics to turn values into policies and exerting power to get your way. which are based on values and value judgements.14 The Art of City-Making Shifting the Zeitgeist Better choices. credence can be given to inspirational and emblematic projects that can lift the public spirit: buildings that are not constructed according to market principles. Canadian and Australian cities dominate the rankings. It feels to me that the Zeitgeist is ready to shift. Power determines the kind of cities we have and politics is its medium. safety. if it is held that there is something in the idea of a public. followed by Vienna. is now seen as authoritative.

Thinking differently also means doing things differently and sometimes means doing different things. economic and social trends are etched with the characteristic spirit of their era. They work against compartmentalized. (As an example.5 They believe in ‘seeing the wood and the trees simultaneously’. They provide certainty and anchoring. not putting things in separate boxes. these are never formulaic and often contradictory. The Enlightenment ideals of progress and reason have taken a battering. The ethical anchor What is the quality of the Zeitgeist seeking to emerge? At its core is a belief in thinking in a rounded way and seeing different perspectives. They are able to ‘operate both with the market and against the market’ and to ‘assess things in terms of the precautionary principle and take risks at the same time’ or ‘to go with the flow of ambiguity but still be clear about where you are going’. ‘silo’ thinking . pulling them along with a comforting and comfortable instinct bordering on faith. It makes every person who feels it want to be an active agent. what is rational about creating global warming and its consequences?) Post-modernism rejects the grand unifying narratives associated with the modern period that try to explain everything. This allows them to see things in more depth. so unsurprisingly the truths of the Gods are back. and a faith in technology. Intellectual. political. the one through specialized research and scientific data and the other through the diversity of perspectives. In the struggle about what is important. It is less malleable and it is sensed viscerally. so providing energy and focus. A Zeitgeist is felt more deeply. culturally determined truths it upholds destabilize the position of the many who want a single answer. The relative. their confidence has been shaken. those pushing this Zeitgeist seek some form of unity beyond the ding-dong of either/or arguments. with ‘strategy and tactics as one’. Yet the ‘rationality’ of technology is being called into question and critiques of this approach are escalating in number. This involves more than just altering the climate of opinion or intellectual atmosphere. We can say ‘modern times’ are characterized by an unwavering belief in a particular. In each period of history we can discern overarching qualities. progressive view of science on its inexorable journey to the truth. But both the modern and the post-modern exacerbate the fragmentation of knowledge. multiple.Overture 15 this book to be part of encouraging a new spirit of the times.

if not impossible. say. It is difficult. housing. the arts and happiness. to understand wholes by focusing on the parts. Fritz Capra summarizes succinctly the point made earlier: My conscious decision about how to observe. they . transport and work. it will give me a particle answer. overall dynamics. If. unwavering truth waiting to be discovered has been discredited.6 They agree with those who believe the notion of a stable. which thinks about parts in isolation and sees the city in its parts. If we think of the city as a machine made up of parts and fragments rather than as an organism made up of related. If someone says ‘I feel good’ or ‘I feel bad’. we invoke mechanical solutions that may not address the whole issue. we can make policy linkages between. will determine the electron’s properties to some extent. We can never speak of nature without speaking about ourselves. between the observer and the observed. And a mechanistic approach similarly impacts on public spirit. this is a truth. between culture. can no longer be maintained. say. In atomic physics the sharp Cartesian division between mind and matter.16 The Art of City-Making and the turgid bureaucracy of departmental baronies. Most importantly. How we manage a city is in part determined by the metaphors we employ to describe it. between education. the built environment and social affairs. If I ask it a particle question. or between image. local distinctiveness and fun. yet it is possible to understand the parts by seeing the connections of the whole. They’d ‘rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong’. The electron does not have objective properties independent of my mind. if I ask it a wave question it will give me a wave answer. They look at the effects on deeper psychology and believe these are important in citymaking.7 The new Zeitgeisters want to encourage a conceptual shift in what we take seriously and how we view things. They are against reductionism. interconnected wholes. and instead consider the interconnected. instead. such as how socio-economic exigencies and crime inextricably interconnect. an electron. They listen to emotions and credit these with due seriousness. Whose truths? The new Zeitgeisters value the subjective as well as the objective. on connections and relationships. we focus on the widest implications of a problem.

Suddenly it seems the time has come for a set of ideas. the sudden awareness of a tipping point – the UK government’s ‘Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change’ report of January 2006 makes global warming deniers seem crazily committed to being blind. Shifts in Zeitgeist are mostly triggered by the coming together of sets of circumstance: an event like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 or. It can mean trying to see clearly and to give a sense of the direction of travel rather than the name of every station in between. The emerging spirit of the times tries to think holistically. deprivation. It is based on curiosity about ‘the other’ and so is interested in cross-cultural connections and not inward-looking.8 but can be understood as the ‘generally accepted majority view’. ‘peace is better than war’ or ‘everyone should have access to health services’. New cultural narratives by their nature are more difficult to inculcate into common sense – there are few stark facts or figures that can evince an epiphany. But environmental . sectarian violence and lack of economic prospects. It chimes with ‘common sense’. These ‘events’ are enhanced by media clamour. The market on its own has no values. Lofty does not mean vague. this scares the pre-committed and closed-minded.’9 Common sense is dynamic.Overture 17 have a value base. Crisp encapsulations Most importantly. Shifting common sense requires the dissemination of the starkly illustrative. It believes in bending markets to bigger picture objectives such as greater social equity. the idea of common sense has been argued about for centuries. the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2005 report documents coldly the connection between segregation. Zeitgeist shifts because it becomes a better representation of reality. with examples being ‘laws apply to everyone’. tribal behaviour. it is only a mechanism. Of course. In German it literally means ‘healthy human understanding’. on a lesser scale. and what makes sense changes with time and circumstance. And the hordes of the new Zeitgeisters are ready to pounce. care for the environment or aspirational goals. not static. A contested term. Being lofty These lofty aims are not unrealistic simply because they are lofty. ‘Some use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people’s experience be prudent and of sound judgment.

They are wilfully ignorant.000 tonnes. constitute a more jarring challenge to received wisdom and it is not difficult to construct out of them would-be iconic soundbites that can seep into common sense. whether financially. clog up cities and give them an overwhelming ‘car feel’. nor that pumping this compound. two deeply contested words that are used together as if they could never be queried.000 a year cannot continue. For instance. a length of 665km. hardened reactionaries will accuse emergent trends of being woolly . But we don’t need much insight to realize that cars. Capturing the Zeitgeist In every age there are battles to capture the Zeitgeist. The goal is to portray adversaries as if they are acting against history in some sense.10 The average European car produces over 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. persistent push. It takes behavioural change. nor does the mantra of ‘free choice’. their fear often masked behind arrogant overconfidence and power play.200. You do not need much skill to calculate that 800. through peer groups or even emotionally. this gives the spirit of the times a firm. With glazed open eyes we sleepwalk into crisis. Or do they? Many want to hide from ‘reality’.18 The Art of City-Making narratives. lead-poisoning and a variety of bronchial and respiratory illnesses. whether moving or static. The structures and incentives around us do not help. every year. It takes commitment to change. into the atmosphere must have an effect. It hurts to digest the implications of facing things as they are.000 times 4 tonnes equals 3. on the other hand. and to do something about them. but denial translates into avoidance activity. because when on your side it is a powerful ally. invisible though it may be. This net increase is equivalent to an extra six-lane motorway full of bumper-to-bumper motor vehicles from London to Edinburgh. so it appears as the new common sense. for instance. you do not need to be a scientist to understand that increasing the number of cars in Britain by 800. The Zeitgeist changes when the unfolding new can be described in crisp encapsulations. The will leading to ignorance and apathy arises especially among the beneficiaries of the status quo. So. Is it therefore not ‘common sense’ to curtail car use and encourage less-polluting forms of transport? Would-be iconic facts such as these enable the understanding of things that seem self-evidently true. We simultaneously acknowledge and deny the link between exhaust fumes and acid rain.

Today the battles and dividing lines centre on your views around a series of faultlines. We are inexorably leaving the rural world behind. while stopping short of engineering society. Of course. Holism – having a whole systems view so sharing a concern for ecology or culture. the urban population is already well over 50 per cent – over 74 per cent in Europe and 80 per cent in the Middle East and Australia – but this is a critical moment. the atmosphere and economics.11 CITYNESS IS EVERYWHERE The world’s urban population has just passed 50 per cent. Not shying away from altruism. This is an iconic figure. template and footprint reach out into its wide surrounds. Idealism – encouraging activism and a values-based approach to running a city. shaping the physical look. Beyond technology – technology is not the answer to every problem. the city’s maelstrom draws us in. Its tentacles. which determine whether you are ‘one of us’. The city becomes a place of many learners and leaders.Overture 19 or devoid of reality in an attempt to put them down. Gendered approaches – having an interest in the other sex’s perspectives on running cities. in more developed places in the world. The . everything will in future be determined by the urban. the turning point from rural to urban. A learning community – encouraging participation and listening. Wider accounting – balancing economic goals with others such as liveability and quality of life. It is not a white knight that can address all urban problems. We also need to encourage behavioural change. The emergent spirit has an ethical twist and includes a concern for the following: • • • • • • • • Distinctiveness – fostering authenticity of places to strengthen their identity and ultimately their competitiveness. Diversity – having an interest in difference and cross-cultural consolidation and rejecting intolerance. Cityness is everywhere because even when we are nominally far away from cities. the emotional feel. from segregation to gang culture. ‘Cityness’ is the state most of us find ourselves in.

stretches 70km in all directions. that of New York even further. The entire Japanese nation shines like a beacon. that of Tokyo well beyond. resources and potential of the city and cityness in a richer way. When these magnetic maelstroms and catchments are added together. for example. pipes and pylons stretch into the far yonder. as the Americans say) perceptual reach and physical impact of London. as the Australians say (or ‘pipes. and a full understanding of urbanism only occurs by looking at the city with different perspectives. Overlaying it is cultural literacy – the understanding of how cultures work – which ultimately is key. Their networks of roads. Urbanism and urban literacy are linked generic and overarching skills. The overarching aura is the city. potholes and police’. rates and rubbish’. insights and multiple eyes. Urbanism is the discipline which helps us understand this aura and see the dynamics. nearly nothing is left of what was once called nature. And the same is true even for smaller settlements – each has a catchment area or dynamic pull around itself.12 Night maps show the extent of urban ubiquity most graphically.20 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry The city is more than ‘roads. Osaka to . urban literacy is the ability and skill to ‘read’ the city and understand how cities work and is developed by learning about urbanism.

so enticing various subgroups such as empty-nesters or young professionals. In spite of abject poverty at the lowest levels in the booming cities in Africa.13 During industrializing eras concentration is the dominant force. Almeria and Malaga with some speckled fishing villages in between. Asia and Latin America. This ranges from selling cooked meals to personal services as one moves up the chain.Overture 21 Tokyo is nearly one built mass. The same is true for Marseille in France to Genoa in Italy (440km). In East Asia and the rest of the developing world. bolstered by attempts to make cities safer. the pull to the city continues unabated. The inexorable movement of people. each stratum can provide services to the group slightly better off. and the lights extend inland too. who hope cities can fulfil their dreams. . Now it is almost completely built up along a 970km stretch. Even more extreme. Alicante. which is 710km. This makes slums complex. with populations shifting from smaller towns to large cities. We are witnessing the largest movement of people in history. From the east coast inwards are 1000km stretches of light blur. and finally financial activities or leisure provision similar to those meeting demands in the West. A second pattern now emerging is a parallel counter-urbanization – larger cities are stuttering. The east coast of the US is all but completely urbanized from Boston to Washington. with the largest percentage gains seen in smaller cities and rural areas – though the rebirth of the city in the West is curtailing that trend somewhat. such as Barcelona. by contrast. a contiguous city of 80 million people stretching 515km. There is exploitative production-line work and transport services. feeds cities. Forty years ago the Spanish coastline seen from the air was punctuated by a few large cities. In Europe populations have stabilized and are about to begin their decline. more attractive. Valencia. as witnessed in Europe and the US. The Pearl River Delta in Southern China went from paddy fields to near complete urbanization in 50 years. Only Africa is a far dimmer continent. fed by hope and need. They have their own class structure and stratifications. Wave upon wave of incomers are arriving. rarely punctuated by bright interruptions. then building and construction. But this is not happening uniformly. So it partly fulfils its aspirations. but once semi-settled there are layers of deprivation within this poverty and each layer has differing economic prospects. expectations or sheer need for survival. the seaboard of the east coast of China will soon be one strip of urbanization. vital and vibrant. The vast majority are poor.

Potosi or Gaziantep. By 2025 there are expected to be 650. the world’s population will stabilize at 9 billion in 2050. Ninety-seven per cent of Belgians.14 These average figures. Who would have thought that Chungking had nearly 8 million people or Ahmadabad just over 5 million and Wuhan and Harbin just under? The number of megacities. Many of these cities of a million you will have never heard of: Ranchi. helplessness put up with. has climbed from 5 in 1975 to 14 in 1995 and is expected to reach 26 by 2015. Lagos’ population in 1980 was 2. with 1 million people. Today 3250 million or 50 per cent are urban dwellers – the equivalent of every single person in Europe. San Luis. and occasional delight. In 1900 only 160 million people. a 90-minute train ride from Hong Kong. mask gaping differences.000 newcomers per year. lived in cities. Imagine the psychological stresses. The zeros do not put across the heaving weight of fates fulfilled or destroyed. Oceania and Western Asia living in cities. Sholapur. Davao and Urumqi. but the added zeros barely touch the impact of dense living. the ugly slipshod-built buildings or the escalating sense of things being out of control. Or. the sadnesses lived through. against 74 per cent of Europeans as a whole. if predictions are correct. Population has already stabilized in Europe. In 1800 London was the world’s largest city. Africa. Now that hemisphere has only New York and Los Angeles in the top ten and by 2015 will have none. The figures are telling.8 million and is now 13 million and . In 1950 it was 730 million people or 34 per cent. Imagine the physical infrastructure needed. 89 per cent of British and 88 per cent of Germans live in urban areas. In some sense the achievement is astonishing. Shenzhen. the Americas. In 1900 the ten biggest cities in the world were in the North.22 The Art of City-Making Imagine the impact of Sao Paulo’s expansion from 10 million in 1984 to 20 million in 1999 – over 600. which has grown from a rice-growing village in the late 1970s to a city of over 10 million people today. Every year another 68 million people move to cities. the equivalent of the entire French and Belgian populations combined. grinding poverty. injustices endured. Mercifully. cities of more than 10 million. the urban rush. Nampo and Datong. Today 326 metropolitan areas have more than 1 million people. and the remaining the growth is expected to come from Asia and Africa. 10 per cent of the world’s population. Tanjungkarang. however. perhaps the starkest example. exacerbating pollution.

The greater number of cars led to strategic roads being widened. the town Cheltenham or the city outside the county. Add to this a dramatic increase in mobility – people are currently moving around six times as much as in 1950. petrol stations were added along routes.000 in 1980 was 10 per cent. Step by step and imperceptibly the atmosphere changed. The larger supermarkets were moved from town centre cores to peripheries at the nexus points of various settlements. Transpose this tiny local instance in Gloucestershire on to the global scale. ribbon developments were allowed and more signs were put up.15 At the same time.7 million per year.000 and 60 per cent of the land is rural. bypasses being added and more roundabouts.7 per cent in 2000. In Europe between 1995 and 2002. so existing settlements expand and new ones emerge.8 per cent of all journeys in 1960 to 6. Near where I live in Gloucestershire. Empty space is ever more scarce. The county now has a population of 568.2 per cent in the same period. the growth in population from a figure of 515. The British net increase of 800. whether the village Bisley.5 in 1980.000 cars per year has already been noted.16 As more people demand more dwelling space.1 per cent of its vehicles. a large proportion . personal living space has nearly doubled since 1950 and increased from 38m2 per person in 1991 to 43m2 in 1996 and 44m2 in 2001. By contrast. The area’s overall feel is now one of cityness. 48. To accommodate the increasing numbers of people over time. travel by buses has decreased from 32. In the US the annual net increase averages 2. open space was infilled and new estates were built. Yet car numbers rose by 30. from 8km per day in 1950 to 19. 32 million more vehicles hit the road. Wait for China and India fully to emerge – China has 20 per cent of the world’s population and only 8. Visualize the vehicles and the ever-expanding physical infrastructure needed and space used.4km in 2025. This reflects the increase in single person households and the decrease in larger families. 25 years ago there was a clear distinction between the natural landscape and human settlements.Overture 23 Kampala’s population has tripled over the same period. Bristol. We could go on … Feeling and perceiving geography How does the feeling of cityness come about? Figures rarely tell you how a landscape or space feels.2 in 2000 and a predicted 96.

Sad it may be. the highest. Look at living space. although population growth will decline as education levels increase. Similar processes to those occurring in Gloucestershire are taking place throughout Europe.24 The Art of City-Making of which are vans and lorries. the lowest in Europe. the demand for space and mobility will increase. Trees and foliage dominate. In Sweden. this had risen to 15.5m2. but better to start from an honest premise.61 – but for the less developed world it is just over 5. but by the time that has happened what will the world look like?19 Flipping perception The impact of the intensification of land use and movement is dramatic. In the one-lane landscape the car is careful. contained and cagey.4 and Iraq. the figure is 1. The wolves. Contrast this with the North American average of 65m2 or more dramatically still China. If Britain were to match Swedish figures it would require 47 per cent more dwellings by 2050. has a figure of 2. Household inhabitants have reduced from 2. In Britain in 2001. It is a variant of a park.7. close to the 19m2 in Russia. The nature we have is manicured. the bears and the snakes have long gone.91 people per dwelling in 1971 to 2. From a feeling of settlements within nature.9.6m2. up from 18 per cent in 1971. The 5.18 What are the spatial implications of China reaching European levels? Single person households are rising. with the massive expansion of apartments. where prior to 1978 average living space was only 3. the visual impact . where living space differs from place to place but hovers at around 40m2. India has 5. sprawling settlements within which there is parkland.3 in 2001. In the rest of the developed world the range falls within the same margins – the US. 7. The distinction between the natural and built environment has eroded. Consider the physical impact of these increased dwellings. The balance has tipped inexorably. for instance.2 personal cars per 1000 people looks minuscule in contrast with Western Europe. Once these countries develop. Even widening a road through the countryside from one lane to two so that cars can pass one another has startling effects.17 If China catches up. 29 per cent of households were solely inhabited by single persons. contained and tamed. But as road space spreads. where it is just over 400 per 1000. This is the acknowledged pattern. the figures become absurd – several hundred million more cars would be on the roads. there are now interconnected. By 2001.

For example. compared with 47m for a three-lane motorway. Transport is central to the equation and the need to think it through creatively is urgent. For instance. A typical freight train can move over 1000 tonnes of product. Articulated lorry traffic is expected to grow by 23 per cent by 2010 and 45 per cent by 2025. the Midlands in Britain and much of the south of the country are in truth series of built-up villages. the green in between is incidental. making the natural landscape feel less significant. equivalent to 50 heavy goods vehicles.20 Rail freight accounts for 12 per cent of the British surface freight market and removes over 300 million lorry miles from the roads every year. the width of land surface taken up by a double railway line is only 12m. Its external cost to the environment and community (excluding . To talk of urban versus rural makes increasingly less sense. Light van traffic is projected to grow by 74 per cent by 2025. and this is a pattern seen the world over. And around 30 per cent of the lorries are running empty at any one time.Overture 25 Source: Charles Landry Cityness sprawls into every crevice of what was once nature of asphalt grows disproportionately. The dual carriageway finally changes the perceptual balance completely. towns and cities connected by roads. Moving a tonne of freight by rail produces 80 per cent less carbon dioxide than moving it by road.

modern cities take on a Lego-like regularity when viewed from high altitude. perhaps. Vehicles move up and down tarmac arteries. The Brazilian city of Curitiba has a 150km bike network linked to a bus network. you get the impression of purpose as they appear from and disappear into vehicles and buildings. activity becomes more discernible. and bicycle use from 15 per cent to 26 per cent. As you decrease height. Some larger structures – sports stadia. If you arrive at night.23 A view from above Cityness is what comes to mind when you stand back and let the essence of cities seep over you. Many of the vehicles are moving to and from the airport you are about to land in. while motor vehicle traffic decreased from 38 per cent to 32 per cent. Sometimes the sun is caught in the reflection of a pond or lake and often a river will run a course. . Box-like buildings hug straight lines and curves while the general hardness of brick. despite a doubling of the population.22 Since 1982 local public transport has increased from 11 per cent to 18 per cent of all journeys made. There has been a 30 per cent decline in traffic since 1974. communications towers – stand out as distinctive and purposeful. you will note the not small endeavour of defeating darkness – billions of watts called forth to keep the urban environment physically illuminated. despite an increase in the issue of motor vehicle licences. the main thoroughfares more clogged up than residential streets. but little comprehension of the activity. What thoughts and impressions come to mind? On the whole. Cities rely overwhelmingly on energy. power stations. Freiburg in Germany shows similar figures. There is one car for every three people (which some might consider underdevelopment) and two-thirds of trips are made by bus.21 Alternatives are possible.26 The Art of City-Making congestion) is eight times less than road freight in terms of carbon dioxide per tonne kilometre. Lower still and you can start to make out people. Nevertheless. cement and tarmac is occasionally punctuated by the dark green of trees or the lighter green of grass. Picture yourself arriving at a big city for the first time from the air. but watching their busying about is akin to watching an ants’ nest – fascination.

It is very difficult to stop anywhere. The once agricultural land left and right is speckled with windowless. Either way. they have a more cluttered feel. Adverts swell. Compactly massed and close-set cars purposively batter the road. although you are 30km from the urban core. structures pile up. Later in the day the asphalt will give way a little. where you come from. You protect yourself from information overload by selectively half-closing and half-opening your ears. Yet some experiences of the city are the same for everyone. on occasion. China – anywhere city-bound. ‘Want me’. shimmering against the morning sun that breaks through the clouds. your culture. the most common journey on Earth. especially in the heat. prancing fast-forward en route to the city. glass. We could be in Europe. concrete. uniform aluminium industrial sheds which are. That makes 52 exhortations to buy since you left home. The manifestations of the city become apparent early on. so you need a waft of fast-moving air from the outside. with continued interruptions. but it is still unresponsive and dead in look and in feel. speed up there and where to veer off into suburbs before you reach the outer ring road. Closer towards the city the sheds compact in. the asphalted service areas more spread out. sound and smell. ‘Desire me’. your life stage and your interests. . And in the distance. bricks. ‘Do that’. Some have blacked-out windows so the driver can maintain a private world in a moving sea of metal. brightly coloured. Your radio is on. noise and smell mounts and spirals. the US. The car windows are closed. Further out they are larger. a high-rise building reflects a sharp shaft of sunlight. Instructional signs begin to escalate.Overture 27 An imaginary journey How you view the city varies according to who you are. the air conditioning on. telling you to slow down here. your status. passing with greater frequency: ‘Do this’. with articulated lorries in the forecourt. The city announces itself a long way off through the senses: sight. You get closer. still 15km away. The three-lane highway itself has an urban feel – an expanse of pounded asphalt that stretches endlessly into the horizon. It is getting denser – the sensation of asphalt. but you need to know the traffic news. Australia. Take yourself on an imaginary early morning journey from out of town in summertime to a big city. ‘Buy me’. but the air is stale.

maybe for those that moved to outer-outer suburbia and found auto-dependency too much.’ But still there is some green. A set of policies at all levels of government have favoured cars over all other transport. The hard surfaces of the city intensify. Reinforced concrete24 is the material of the industrial age and you are seeing more of it now. ‘Forget all that. Inert and lifeless. over time more cars on the road drive longer distances to access the same services. A grey concrete car park on the horizon greets you with a garish red sign: ‘All Day Parking – Only $5. You remember that argument with the eco-guy. Endless concrete garden walls. The petrol vapour is warm. ‘I am moving fast. the sight lines are obscured by underpasses and overpasses. You think to yourself. but the multi-lane highway means you can zip along. They are made from concrete. It didn’t just happen. It might just revitalize and become the new outer urban chic. A tree-lined street eases by in the once middle-class outer suburb of single detached houses. It leaches. perhaps even comforting. not to mention cancerous concrete that breaks up to reveal rusty steel. Now you’re in a secure funnel guiding you straight into town. they throw an unresponsive deadness back at you. What was that nonsense about induced traffic transportation that planners dread?’ You recall that this is where despite highway capacity being increased when it becomes congested. You are in a completely built-up area. but the place seems perfectly fine from a distance. It is the urban smell par excellence. fetid and globular. It causes a light-headed giddiness. Over the last 80 years the transformation from walkable to automobile-dependent has been extraordinary.28 The Art of City-Making you are driving in a tunnel of pollution and you are beginning to smell the approaching city. rashly constructed. stains and cracks. Any problem will be solved in the near future by technologies that are currently just around the corner. Cheap housing estates. perhaps. and the new highway becomes just as congested as the old one was. like satellite guidance. It is now a lower middle-class area with rented accommodation divided into units. A few abandoned cars.’ The urban street patterns are not yet clear. Concrete’s shapes can on occasion lift – the swoosh and sweep of a concrete curve – but it ages disgracefully. or graffiti. Cheaper breeze-block accommodation for the even poorer. . The road has just been widened to four lanes at this point.

Then there’s Wendy’s. with huge setbacks. The ads are everywhere now: mobile phones (‘Stay in touch wherever you are’). There is still lots of space at 8. the art of sophistication’). they shine in glass and marble yet feel as if they are warding you off and keeping you at bay. only bringing out the worst of city life. For every person living in the US there are eight parking spaces. telecommunications (‘Global connectivity at a switch of a button’). You should have left ten minutes earlier. Who wants to live under a motorway? But for you it provides a vista – you can see the urban panorama. It’s down into the car park. One might tut tut at its popularity. ethnically diverse side of things – but the drudgery of the daily commute is far more familiar.Overture 29 You’re on a flyover. these are buildings that pronounce themselves. and buildings which pretend to say ‘yes’.15am. We could have started with a more positive metropolitan adventure – one that skirts the more artsy. Is that IKEA in the far distance? Closer by there is a colonnaded shopping mall within a sea of car-parking and brand names. You can read the signs from a distance. Texaco. Brick and concrete give way to glass. the famous golden arches – that’s four or five within the last 3km. but only 17 per cent against 83 per cent of Americans expressed a preference for an urban town house within preferred . They are buildings that say ‘no’. with forecourts embellished by public sculptures in their ubiquitous red and their abstract forms. banking (‘The bank you can trust’). Sameness and difference Suburbia and its discontents Some might say that this imaginary drive is an unfair depiction. As signs they are as recognizable as a smile or a wave. You’re on the outer-inner edge of town. We could have driven the other way towards suburbia. the setting cognoscenti love to hate. Nando’s. The exit lanes are jamming up and the three sets of traffic lights ahead always cause a problem. KFC. The street is segmented into big blocks. The mighty M sign is one. who can say No?’). Subway. which explains why this area originally went into a downward spiral. Burger King. Wal-Mart or Tesco or Carrefour or Mercadona. finance deals (‘With interest rates this low. and property (‘Buy into urban living.5 billion. BP. That’s over 1.

These are great projects. buffer zones or minimum lot sizes. lack of space and the lack of personal green spaces of the inner city a stick. As Joel Kotkin describes: There are bubbling sprawl cities like Naperville. as one author titles his book. suburbs are becoming more like towns. synagogues and temples springing to life along our vast ex-urban periphery. because it induces more driving. previously in either agricultural use or a natural state. and leaves undeveloped land or brownfield sites inside the city. consistently show a large majority of suburbanites are happy with their neighbourhoods in spite of the bad press suburbs get. the ample car-parking and convenience shopping of suburbia a carrot. environmentalists. that more roads increase traffic congestion. Forget the social and environmental costs and.25 Similar figures also hold for Australia.26 Get Used to It: Suburbia’s Not Going to Go Away. and the new world economies are catching on. This humanization of suburbia is critical work and is doing much to define what modern cities will look like throughout advanced countries. crime. There are glistening new arts centres and concert halls in Gwinett County. worthy of the energies and creative input of our best architects.29 . Why worry about the lack of urban hum? Let people have what they want. that it uses up almost exclusively greenfield sites. planners and visionaries – not their contempt and condemnation. mosques. leaves commercial developments to ease themselves into vacant land usually at one storey. that continual expansion of road systems ensures land is cheap. anyway. Georgia. Illinois and brash new ‘suburban villages’ popping up in places such as Houston’s Fort Bend County or Southern California’s Santa Clarita Valley. the argument goes.30 The Art of City-Making walking distance of stores and mass transit in a national survey.27 Polls. that it separates land uses. Kotkin notes. encourages ‘leapfrog’ development. Sprawl has provided individuals and families with a successful strategy to adapt to urban dysfunction: failing schools. Almost everywhere there are new churches.28 Forget that sprawl is an inefficient use of land. with large quantities of space taken up by roads and parking and zoning laws mandating large setbacks. Forget the health consequences of sprawl – a huge cause of premature death.

their primary effect fosters car dependency. but we have less space to play with. argue that only 2–4 per cent of total land space is used up. The urban regeneration boom that started 15 years ago has shifted the focus somewhat and created some turnaround. façade treatments and billboards. urbanists par excellence. and makes it ‘illegal to build anything remotely walkable’. skipping over the poorer. is a new settlement form with its own logic and dynamic spread out like a flattened pancake. intense interaction. Its hold on the psyche cannot be overstated. intricacy. So far we have conflated Europe. Some indeed love it very much. depending on the country. Suburbia. Today’s suburbs include office buildings. Australia and the US into one and have thus made sweeping statements to get across an overall feel. yet the shrinking tax base in cities has led to a vicious cycle. permissible uses. has led to the complex maze of regulations and the New Urbanism agenda that shape their current look and feel. buffer zones. opening up land for suburban developments at the expense of the city core. The balance of spending is still on multi-lane highways. parking requirements. Others say that . destroying the urban neighbourhoods through which they pass. The word city implies density. with vigorous lobbying by automobile and oil companies lending a helping hand. streets. increases development costs. Advocates play with numbers and. intimacy. Head out to the grand couronne far outside the capital. Suburbia is a form of urban development which lends itself to a particular form of description distinct from that of cities in general. moreover. with public services such as education and policing far inferior to that in the suburbs. and zoning laws have been extended to address lot sizes.Overture 31 Others point out how government incentives and regulations have consistently favoured suburbia. taking passengers away from public transit.30 Gridded street layouts have been abandoned in favour of sinuous networks of culs-de-sac. Europe is moving towards the North American and Australian way. on the other hand. bypasses and road-widening schemes. Low density suburbs are in essence inaccessible without a car. while they may be more attractive than before. Would there have been a contrast had we separated out the experiences? Yes and no. height.31 Even the French. The sheer corrosive physical impact of quarter-acre block suburban development is more dominating in the US and Australia. Dissatisfaction with their physical appearance. heavily immigrant suburbs closer to the centre. However. entertainment facilities and schools and can exist independently of central cities. are into it.

so shaping the feel of the space as if it were merely supporting the city and suburbia. The US. is the kind of exception that excites. There are equivalent streets. The tired. listless arguments along the lines of ‘this is what customers want’ or ‘it will increase turnover in shops’ hold little water when you see the (lack of) vibrancy of these streets recreated. Transportation codes demand greater leeway on turning circles. mostly. roads feel as if they are taking up a third of overall space and. European cities are more contrite in trying to attract custom. The city’s linked physical infrastructure of pylons. In terms of perception. Many places. Their garish. grabbing you by the neck. as do frontages: This is the car sales highway. with mainland Europe catching up significantly. Shocking. a suburban car-borne shopping strip. parking bays and setbacks. in cities such as Los Angeles asphalt takes up even more. Inert machines lazily flop on to the tarmac in front of sheds of chain shops. The dominant hue is grey. There is plenty left. It gives far greater scope to mould cultural resources. later bulk furniture. The past is a prettier place? But the older fabric with which European cities can work is a true gift. interspersed with billboards and shop fascias that jump out at you. it is the dulled familiarity of fast-food chains where those that are getting too obese feed as if from a trough. you feel space is more at a premium. These destroyers of streets are ever present. Canada and Australia still play with space as if it were in endless supply. unforgiving asphalt. These wide roads project a boundless expanse of ungiving. bold ads screech at you with their alluring plastic ugliness. of course. are hollowing out as shopping has switched out of town. one car salesroom following the next. emergency lanes. brightly coloured signs create a tacky modern beauty and a touch of originality. yet some people forget to assess the perceptual geography on the ground. turn-offs. You can . indeed. though. yet they have a tighter feel.32 The Art of City-Making already 4 per cent of US land is used up as roads. Britain is further ahead here. roads and utility plants casts its net immeasurably further out into the landscape. then it is DIY goods. Visually there is a vacant endlessness. North Main Road in Adelaide. and there is an overarching sensation of sluggishness and lack of energy. Flipping the parking to the back and the building to the front to create a street alignment is clearly a solution too obvious. as happened some time ago in North America. lay-bys.

and the density makes public transport very efficient. Graz. of Delft. The streets are tree-lined. Parma. you sense they have lost the art of citymaking. blending old and new. with mixed uses – ground floor shops. beyond keeping them pretty for large-scale cities which seem to define what we mean by urbanity: Nice. Think. Yet finding novel. Munich. wide enough to take parking and often boulevarded to reduce the visual impact of endless asphalt. Cortona. first floor offices and residential above. not overwhelming in height but manageable. Utrecht. You can contain the car and make places walkable. with a built-in 15. and purposefully calm when you know business is being conducted behind façades encrusted with the urban sweat of ages. but is that wealth creation? Going up a notch or two. France. Europe has a plethora of mid. Rothenberg. North America has few cities of this type as most cities there were constructed to feed the needs of the car. We think of Italy as an apex of the urban experience: the walkable. like everywhere else. almost at random. True. The vibrancy generated can stretch across the emotions: selfsatisfied when the bourgeois sense of self is too confident. Britain and the Netherlands. A place can fossilize. Lyons. Reims. The functional buildings of the industrial age often had a proud presence and solidity in marked contrast to the throwaway. Antiques and souvenir shops are fine as far as it goes. Vaasa. Lucca. Orvieto. mixed-use city clustered around a historical core enlivened nightly by the hubbub of the passegiata. shed culture at the urban edges. is hard. has it share of ugliness: cheap buildings in the modernist vein. gutsy when the urban grime and grot creeps in as the poor and better off coexist. Heidelberg. grim outer estates. Can you imagine the artists and hip designers of the 2030s recycling these sheds for inspiration or trendy middle classes converting them into designer apartments? Another thought. However. Nothing wrong with tourists. The great Italian or French cities and the cities defined by 19th century urban bourgeois architecture in particular have something handsome about them: a touch grand but not overblown. inappropriate design.Overture 33 work with layers of history and the patina of ages. portal-framed sheds that allow for vast covered spaces. Broadway in the Cotswolds and thousands more from Italy. but when there are too many the lifeblood of a city can be sucked out. forgetting pre-war grandeur. the grid-patterned streets and boulevards are . Germany. 20-year cycle. Yet if we only consider Italian post-war settlements. vibrant roles and purposes for the more ancient European towns.

Lvov. Odessa and Timisoara. Manchester and Bristol had their hearts transplanted and renewed or torn out. St Petersburg. as Western Europeans yearned after lost architectural grandeur. like Glasgow. Iasi. leaving a beaten-up feel: the ‘joys’ of Bucharest. Ironically. and where budget airlines now ply their trade. these buildings are nonetheless difficult to destruct. Kenzo Tange’s brash. There are messily parked cars. beer. Budapest. particularly stands the test of time. But beyond the ring roads that hug the centres and probe into the estates. especially in Moscow. Kishinev or St Petersburg. as that of Havana. Ljubljana. standards dropped and an obsessive homogeneity began to tighten its grip. the Nova Huta steel factory and its estates in Krakow come to mind. Interestingly it was often the more successful places of the past in the West that suffered most in terms of losing their grandeur. A washed-out charm – peeling delights mixed with grey clad buildings in a Soviet style – can take some beating. there can be a dull bleakness to match anything else other countries can offer. twisted concrete benches. where there were few resources to allow modern development to take them apart. But as money ran out. Thus the example of Eastern Europe represents a mixed blessing. were by contrast able to maintain most of their fabric. There are more adverts for Coca Cola. concrete cancer. Birmingham. Warsaw or even Kiev. they rediscovered Krakow. Now political posters from last year’s election add to the visual cacophony. we can still contrast Eastern and Western Europe 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. dilapidated elegance. after the 1963 earthquake. Although there is increasing convergence. Their faded. Ex-Yugoslavia had its own socialist modernism that still has much to offer in places like Belgrade or Zagreb. the . depending on perspective. reminded people of what their home cities could still be. Katowice. the outer estates of Sofia. ubiquitous cafés and general hanging around – outdoor life to give the city a greater street presence. weeping cement. bent metal shutters. bold Skopje reconstruction plan of 1966. Prague. Grandeur is often preserved through lack of economic good fortune.34 The Art of City-Making leavened by ground-floor uses in apartment blocks. Some of the best buildings of the earlier Stalin period have a grandeur and self-confidence. West and Marlborough cigarettes. With rust seeping through the reinforced concrete. Here are tired metal bus shelters. Those cities struggling in the 1960s and 1970s boom. vodka.

in the drive for modernity in most of the East. The former artist noted. Tetovo. The larger cities at least have some buzz to go with the visual pollution. Elbasan. Then there are moments of surprise. ‘Being the mayor of Tirana is the highest form of conceptual art. It is more reminiscent of a Pop Art painting than an urban restoration project. They are placed inappropriately. For a couple of years. Banja Luka. mean and miserable effect. in fake gold or luminous green – throws your image back at you. have made buildings lose texture. Ucize. mechanical feel. much bigger than bricks. Able to get greater access to the West’s new materials of 25 years ago. giving buildings an unrefined. Modular design and new techniques able to produce larger panels. In Odessa I was bemused by 4ϫ3m flashing. ordered the painting of several hundred old buildings. fibreglass. It’s art in a pure state. colour definitions as yet still too unsubtle. Cheap reflective glass – if you’re lucky. but less-known. around 4 per cent of the city budget was spent on paint in an attempt change the psychology of citizens. These materials are not flexible and do not weather well. noisy ads covering the windows and sightlines of 19th Century buildings. And for visual clutter. Yet the results can be tawdry and cheap. plastic sheeting and panelling. smaller cities like Kraljevo. Sometimes you can catch yourself in the mirror against the backdrop of an old building.’ In contrast. the Eastern European city planners aim to get as much fanciness as possible for the minimum cost. Nickel.Overture 35 swoosh of Nike and mobiles than a Westerner will ever have seen. the surrounds of Bucharest airport must be breaking some records. a pervasive. Tirana’s mayor. Patterns are cruder. Edi Rama. using the drab and dismal grey buildings as a fresh canvas and creating a riot of brash colour and Mondrian-style designs to beautify the city and change its psychological state. And one sees on occasion a calming relic: old hand-painted giant adverts for collectivized firms. The ability to extrude sections and shape and bend segments in enticing ways is limited. One senses and knows this was not planned. originality and inspiration. This was (and to an extent remains) no . however – a great deal of corruption and backhanders have played their part. Pressed and anodized aluminium. Bitola and Kosice have less to offer. Sometimes they take up entire sides of six-story buildings. crushed aggregates and insulation materials collude to flimsy. Durres. new hyper-capitalist style has spread. Bits are bolted on to the main structures rather than being designed in. Rama noted that the main challenge was to persuade people that change is possible.

trading. sustenance. dilapidation. yes and no. But flagship Asian cities such as Tokyo. Shanghai. The overall sense of noise. Oshkosh. Southern Chile. its intrinsic gifts and the skills of its people are all part of a global network. Superficially doing many of these things looks the same and has the same output: shelter. Interactively they shape the look and feel of cities and are in turn shaped by them. going shopping.36 The Art of City-Making different in the West across the whole developed world. however. Singapore and Hong Kong rise up like the best the West can offer. Their fast. management and cultural idiosyncrasy which shape the comprehensive flow of urban dynamics. technology. drinking a beer. To consider in isolation a piece of the world urban map. process. is to ignore the interdependencies. Caracas or Manila a different feel to an equivalent journey in Europe or North America. if not better. say. smell and many. visual chaos. Its scars splatter the horizon. In the East costs remain more important than aesthetics. With. are in the logistics. Buenos Aires. The same should be true for building a house. surely serves the same core function as in Kirkenes on the Barents Sea. frequent public transit systems far outstrip those in the West. getting rid of rubbish or saving something for a rainy day. Chains of causes and effects circulate in feedback loops with real daily consequences on the ground. technique. having a break. organization. now its physical and cultural resources. efficient. many more people lends a cab ride around New Delhi. The differences. What is different and what is similar as you take an eagle’s eye view of cities across the globe? Mending a car in Punta Arenas. Whatever locational advantages a city might have had in the past. fixing the roads or putting in electricity. traffic. Japan or India there is a completely contrasting experience from that in the US or Europe. getting by and getting around. Maputo in Mozambique. Every action . We have to consider cities globally as an interconnected system of settlements. Wisconsin or Cebu in the Philippines. say Europe or Africa. The buildings are technically fine – they do their job functionally – but not aesthetically. Local idiosyncrasies Would our earlier imaginary drive have been different travelling into a huge Asian or Latin American city? Again. whereas in the West the value-adding impact of design and quality is now more recognized. Glass and steel challenge concrete’s hegemony. Kanazawa in Japan. bedlam.

even relationships. Port of Spain. Bamako. too. Using money values to drive progress to create more monetary assets means monetizing all aspects of life. Norilsk. The market economy has no mechanism within itself that ensures ethics or trust. It is as if only one rational approach counted: the unfettered logic of capital and property values inexorably drives the evolution of cities and their shape. . The shape. Qatar and Chennai. In the development rush we rarely stand back and assess the balance of gains and losses in places as different as Memphis. if you forget all the downstream consequences and look at the world through the narrow prism of ‘economic man’. as exemplified in bartering or other voluntary exchanges of favour.Overture 37 in one place can affect a world away. someone has to make money somewhere. Capital’s gleam lies in its seeming simplicity. segregating rich from poor and casting light or shadow depending on perspective or circumstance. Oulu. it is the embodiment of self-interest. exchange and bonding. It works. It also curtails the imagination in recreating anew forms of free exchange. It puts its monetary stamp on everything. in a way. On its own it is an impoverished theory of decision-making which excludes considerations of forms of sociability. cooperation and endeavour and circumscribes thinking about alternatives. structure and stage of economic development are determined by threads of history from past colonialisms to current global terms of trade. Frankfurt.


operating with a shallow register of experience and so guiding our lives through narrow reality tunnels. its smellscape. Cities are sensory. drained and defensive. And this will cause a crisis of growing proportions as the individual and institutional capacity to cope with and address predicaments and possibilities will decline. By diminishing our sensory landscape.2 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. emotional experiences. huge. Our impoverished articulation is made all the worse because the city can overwhelm our senses – honking. we approach the world and its opportunities within a narrow perspective. soundscape. We thus experience the city at a low level of awareness. whizzing. our field of experience is diminished. But we are not accustomed to articulating things in this way: the smelling. let alone describe. Depleted. It taxes our vocabulary as we are used to describing the city in an ‘objective’ lexicon deprived of sensory descriptives. seeing. The primary overwhelming paradox for those who care for cities is this: our capacity to perceive is shrinking at precisely the moment when it needs to increase. touching and even tasting of the city are left to travel literature and brochures. Our perceptive capacities are shrinking because we do not sufficiently recognize or practise most of the senses. precipitous. Too often. for good and for bad. visual spectacle. urban stimuli induce a closing rather than opening out of our senses. whirring. By being narrow we do not grasp the full range of . tactile texture or taste sufficiently. We live in an impoverished perceptual mindscape. flashing. We do not recognize. hearing. confusing.

Yet it is now recognized that this list is not exhaustive. albeit at a subconscious level. surveying and property development are important. mobile phones. and as electronics flattens the distance between places.40 The Art of City-Making urban resources or problems at hand. To handle this complexity we need deep and discriminating minds that grasp the delicate diversities and understandings required to operate in worlds of difference and distinctiveness. For example. unfelt. The city is a vast. These in turn determine how well or badly a place works – even economically. let alone their subtleties. Constricted. rapidly bringing together cultures. We do not connect the sensory to the physical and work out how each can support the other. their potential or threat. wiring and household appliances can seriously interfere with the subtle natural balances of each cell in our body.4 . more (up to 53) if you include those recognized by metaphysicians. without taste or smell. an electrical shutdown will bring the city to a halt. television and radio. dense sea of electrical energy fields and waves estimated to be 100 million times stronger than 100 years ago. This is happening at speed and simultaneously. touch and taste. physical planning.3 Take electroperception. perceptions of pain1 and of balance2 have been identified as distinct from these five. people and ideas. as economies intermesh globally. yet it is the sensory from which we build feeling and emotion and through which our personal psychological landscapes are built. These massive currents criss-crossing the urban environment are unseen. pylons and masts. unheard. computers. lighting. Our world is shrinking as its interconnections become far more tightly bound. architecture. let alone socially or culturally – and how it feels to its inhabitants and to visitors. sight. yet they operate upon us. Depending on classification. Urban life systems cannot operate without electricity. The sensory landscapes we focus on are the five senses first classified by Aristotle: hearing. smell. The senses contribute to a rudimentary form of knowledge upon which our worlds are built. we understand and interpret the city through the technical rather than the sensory. Technical disciplines like engineering. somewhere between 9 and 21 human senses have so far been identified. as mass movement and mobility continue unabated. but they are a smaller part of the urban story than their practitioners would wish to think. The accumulative cocktail of magnetic and electrical fields generated by power transmission lines.

the theories we use to interpret and construct reality. on the other hand. Sensory intelligences here include the visualspatial. the body-kinaesthetic. The aim is to encourage our minds to be wider in analysing opportunities and problems and in finding richer ways of identifying and implementing solutions. profiting from experience. interpreting. abstract thought. Just as geography describes the Earth and the impact of human interactions upon it. verbal and logical capacity. deriving as it does from the Greek words for ‘earth’ and ‘to write on’ or ‘describe’.5 Gardner proposes that people have several kinds of ‘intelligence’ and suggests that. cramped focus has pervasive implications. reasoning. thinking. As a corollary. and organizing sensory information about the places we inhabit. Intelligence is the capacity to make these two steps. and how it handles.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 41 Whatever the semantics. have been given secondary status. in teaching. problem-solving. It pares down our mindscape. It is appropriate to point to Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences here. logic and abstractions. selecting. the way we analyse. concerned with vision and spatial judgement. planning. there is an implicit need to rethink our narrow definitions of intelligence as merely a numeric. And our circumscribed. engages with and uses its own historical sediment and traces. It limits perception. In order to do this. proclivities and gut reactions of thought. This mind sets the preconditions for our perceptual geography. encompassing as it does vital intellectual abilities: comprehension and understanding. there is clearly a lot more to our sensory landscapes than we acknowledge. Sensory intelligences. how this in turn shapes all the sensory elements and how these are perceived. The next step is to interpret broadly to appreciate the range of possibilities. how our mind responds to and is moulded by the media and cultural representations. what we think is important and the ideas we come up with to solve problems or create opportunities. taken apart and interpreted. A mindscape is the totality of our thinking: the modes. concerned with muscular coordination and . the first step is to perceive expansively in order to work with the full register of experience. we have for too long given greater credibility to the thinking intelligences concerned with words and writing or with numbers. so perceptual geography is the process of acquiring. linguistic flexibility and learning.

where the physical ‘self’. Finally. Beauty and ugliness impact on our behaviour and mental state. given the fragility of our ecosystems and finiteness of our resources. And. the physical and social environment deeply affects the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. and the auditory-musical. two intelligence types concern communication: the interpersonal. a hamburger and a cow is ever more important.42 The Art of City-Making doing. feeling and remembering. desires. instinctive drives and our perceptions. while the fact that we have emotions is universal. the ability to understand the various functions of and mechanisms behind life. the capacity to interact and exchange ideas and information with others. past knowledge. and emotions spawned by urban life are not neutral or value free. Further. People have thresholds of tolerance as to what they can psychologically bear in terms of stimuli. values and opinions collide. there is naturalist intelligence. Paradoxically. This is the mind operating aware of perceptions. the ability to reflect. the communication a person has with themselves. They affect the mechanics of body function as well as behaviour. The sense-making process applies forms of intelligence to perceptions and a ‘post-sensory cognitive awareness’ process begins. It is clear that the urban experience should very much be understood as a psychological experience. This interpretative process is culture in the making as it involves beliefs. say. This can cause tension and affects how we behave towards others. as do expectations. an intelligence often lacking for those who live in cities and who are often completely divorced from nature. But. yet similar emotions are often shared. intentions. Conversely. as discussed earlier. and the intrapersonal. Emotions are the domain where body mechanisms and thought mesh. thought and objects and it includes all aspects of perceiving. understanding the relation between. singers and dancers. Although we admire painters. building configurations can engender feelings of safety or fear. this aggravates the . experience and valuing what is significant. their insights are rarely incorporated into how the economic or social worlds might operate. They are subjective. The sensory realm of cities generates strong feelings. But we approach the urban sensescape with chronic myopia and thus an ill-equipped toolkit. especially between individuals within a cohesive group. concerned with hearing and listening. our culture determines how our emotions unfold and how we interpret their significance. norms and the conditioned behaviour of the group. thinking.

red (Bologna) or yellow (Izamal in Yucatan). well-known in Scandinavia where winter light is scarce. Second. Even worse. hyperaware or over self-conscious. pink (Marrakech). Playing with the senses can trigger action. This feeling of not sensing can dull and foster a feeling of being out of control. shading buildings with a uniform.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 43 problems. But better to change through our own conscious choice rather than have the change imposed on us through circumstances out of our control. we change our behaviour and lifestyles. Instead it aims to get us to concentrate on two important things. generate wealth. blue (Jodphur or Oman’s new Blue City project). as a collective body of people. that. touch and taste landscapes help cities? Bold inroads into sensory fields have already been undertaken by some cities: light6 and colour7 have been tackled where issues such as colour planning strategies. who have never experienced anything different and are unaware of sensory richness? This focus on the senses is not about making people feel paranoid. coexist without harming fellow citizens and collaborate. Clearly planners and developers deal with sensory elements. First. The nickname of some cities involves colour: Berlin or Milan are both known as ‘the grey city’. light-absorbing black. It would force us to ask questions such as: How can the smell. What will be the effect on the new generation. Decades of scraping off the surface dirt reveal colour and detail hidden for years. Imagine. the differences in effects of a city that is essentially white (Casablanca or Tel Aviv). taking people almost to breaking point. and space or colour and its effects on the mind and well-being are considered. visual. London was in fact a black city. for planting more greenery or for balancing places for stimulation and reflection in the city. Until the 1960s. Or imagine a city that is black – the darkness would provoke seasonal affective disorder. sound. unavoidably in the end. without which life as we know it is not possible. to care for the environment. it might generate the pressure for ecological transport more quickly. sensory awareness is strongly manipulated in the world of . Emissions of smoke from coal and industry blackened stone and brick. Seeing the city as a field of senses could be an invigorating experience. but often with insufficient thought. The implications of this expanded awareness are far-reaching. It demands. frightened. dysfunction and malaise it is trying to solve. future colour. subtlety or care. if you will. how we feel as individuals and city-dwellers in negotiating urban life in order to live well.

Within schools. the arts curriculum is the main area where appreciation of the senses is specifically highlighted – of those. Places will be loved or hated depending on sensory cues. for instance. Usually. apart from smell and taste – yet the arts continually remain in the firing line. A smell can be nice if you associate it with someone you like. they are restricted to the visual. colour and light. horrible if exuded from someone you dislike. especially fruit or vegetables. The sound of nothingness may feel relaxing to a Finn and like a heavy rumble to someone from Taipei. artists are members of planning teams. The sensory environment for an older person might be noisy or unsafe while too quiet or safe for someone young. the smell of bread is pumped out in supermarkets. there is a neglect of the senses in education. whereas it is discour- . having to argue that investing in them is worthwhile. but they focus more readily on look. sound. A smell is seen as sweet and comforting in one cultural context and as fear-inducing in the next. as in public art projects. The same differences can apply to people from different class and income backgrounds. there is no related career advice or training or job route. People within and between cultures perceive and value the senses in different ways. Equally. if ever. Planners and architects might argue they take these issues into consideration. Artists play large roles in urban events.44 The Art of City-Making shopping malls and destination marketing without an ethical aim. The Chinese and Italian speak far more freely about smell in comparison to the English. but little as healers of the soundscape or developers of colour strategies. Sensory resources and awareness are seen as offbeat. The purpose is for people to spend more so ‘nice’ smells and ‘good’ sounds direct and guide people. without much credibility. carry into city-making. as is the smell of turkey at Christmas. At the very least we should know what is happening – that. there are cultural codes of conduct. And for each of the landscapes of sense. Italians are encouraged to touch merchandise. You rarely discover a teacher discussing someone’s sense of sight. taste or smell. where all too often they are brought in as decorative embellishment and as an afterthought rather than as part of the initial conceptualization of possibilities. There is no acknowledged professional discipline focused on the whole picture and linking these resources to the physical. that is. but still more as an exception than the rule. too. Increasingly. As a consequence. The kinds of imagination and thinking the arts’ focus on senses and sense-making engenders rarely.

the aim is to trigger a direct unmediated response to the urban environment (while noting that nothing is completely unmediated).10 each scape is a perspective depending on the situation of those navigating their way within it and on how they view these scapes. immigrants. the grid of interlocked technologies that connect the world. the linking together and valuing of ideas. as well as freedom. smellscape and mindscape as I would in landscape. Around the world. the financescape. welfare. the technoscape. around which political and economic discourses in the West revolve. exiles and other moving groups and persons. rights. dogs bau bau in Italy. terms and images. democracy. They include the ideoscape. are useful background tools for understanding difficult areas. in spite of differences about interpretation. ham ham in Albania. Southern Europeans shake hands and hold shoulders more. there are broad agreements on the significance of the senses across time and culture. Drawing back to this essential sensory realm. ‘the very complex fiscal and investment flows’ that link cities in a ‘global grid of currency speculation and capital transfer’. and mediascapes. English dogs woof woof or bow wow.8 And woof woof is definitely not a dog in Japanese. I want to convey the fluid panorama of perceptions. Building on the ideas of Arjun Appadurai. we consider the sounds of animals as neutral and similar across cultures. SENSESCAPES I use the suffix -scape in soundscape. Appadurai defines further scapes which. kikeriki or chichirichi depending on where you are. Roosters cock-a-doodle-do. For example.9 Importantly. especially the Enlightenment worldview and its master concept. the ethnoscape. the fluid and shifting landscape of tourists. though. These are the shifting and fuzzy ways and shapes within which we construct our world and views about it. In Northern Europe people tend to touch each other less. haw haw in Arabia and wang wang in China. This broader sense of the urban landscape . German ones wau wau. but this is not reflected in onomatopoeia. while they need not detain us here for long. how they perceive and act upon them.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 45 aged elsewhere. sovereignty and representation. Our experiences of stimuli are also mediated by culture. the representations and media through which cultural images are conveyed.

smell and hear is car-related: a sound wall is generated by the background hum of engines. A map is an image that represents graphically the position of elements in the real world. Governments have traditionally viewed noise as a ‘nuisance’ rather than an environmental problem. The car and the senses The fact that city-making impacts on our senses is no better illustrated than by reference to the automobile. we almost forget they are there.46 The Art of City-Making can shape our thinking and precondition our worldview as well as our physical and mental geography. network structures is a recent development.12 This aims to calculate noise levels and produces noise maps across England. the car underpins the sensory experience of that city. weather and the like between cities and countries has long been an important part of cartography. But the presence of the car also affects our experience of the city in very tangible ways. We have maps of territory in abundance: some enlarge or shrink space. As a result. Mapping information landscapes. some colour-code activities or facilities. But because of the very ubiquity of these stimuli. the internet. Too often. And there is hardly any mapping of the sensory landscape. punctuated by beeps and horns. Cars are a very real danger that both pedes- . the lingering. any good atlas shows these flows. people. the urban background of what we see. the fuel-burning activities of engines and the thermodynamic properties of asphalt affect the temperature. diseases. some show physical features and contours or buildings in three dimensions.11 There are a few maps that express financial flows such as those of the World Bank. And it forces us to reconsider the maps we need to know where we are. Mapping the flows of goods. most regulation has been left up to municipal authorities and bylaws and ordinances vary widely from one place to another or do not even exist in some towns and cities. But many ‘real’ elements of the world are invisible. and our sightline is dominated by metal and asphalt. but getting an easy sense of how the power configurations in the world work is not a straightforward task. When a city is built with the car rather than the pedestrian – the person – in mind. pervasive smell of petrochemicals permeates the air. An exception here is the Noise Mapping England project initiated by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

. smells and sounds that frequently confront us do not beckon or welcome us. reds and ambers at traffic lights and crossings can preclude an even-paced. Thus. by necessity in such situations. Instead we tighten up. But the point here is not to sound a rallying call against cars per se. but rather to remind ourselves how motorized society inflects our senses. This is the opposite of the image of the good city life of human interaction. we are attuned to an entire lexicography of signs dedicated to communicating conduct in relation to motor vehicles. But the interpretation of greens. close in our ears and noses and squint our eyes as we try to blank out the persistent roary growl of cars or the leaden odour of fumes. In the sensory descriptions of the city below. If we’re careful.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 47 Source: Charles Landry How many old industrial buildings are left to be regenerated? trians and motorists have to be aware of in order to survive. our emotions and our being. The tightening up process encourages withdrawal into inner worlds with a desire to communicate less. we look sharply left and right at junctions and crossings to check for oncoming traffic. reflective urban experience. we are forced to ignore the finer details and nuances of the cityscape. We then operate on restricted registers of experience and possibility. it is therefore not possible to avoid returning to aspects of the car. vibrancy and vitality. or lead us to open out. The car sights. Similarly.

. The bells of each church were slightly misaligned for identification purposes. A whiff too on occasion of a bakery. transport yourself back into a yesterday perhaps 250 years ago somewhere in Europe. It would be almost impossible to hold a conversation. away from the city hub. For a while the stone cobbles in London were changed into wooden cobbles to dampen the sound and quieten things down. asphalt. dogs and pigs would add to the cacophony. interlaced on occasion by the whiff of lavender from a rich passer-by or a stall.48 The Art of City-Making Transporting into a past sensescape13 To understand the sensescape of cities today. Though not every street would have a stench this bad. rotting garbage. stagnant sewage. Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg or Via Condotti in Rome would be deafening. In Europe the sound of bells would be everpresent. In market areas. pungent and putrid. telling the time every fifteen minutes to watchless citizens. but more likely overpowered. petrol fumes. plastic materials and concrete. There were only short breaks between chimes. There were fewer shops. there would be the sound of talking and shouting as wares were sold and other trades plied. the profusion of glass. In contrast to today. making or mending things. tall buildings. Horses. Mid-18th century. banging and clinking as hammer hit metal or wood. the human voice would rise above other sounds. air conditioning. clanging. Subtract the noises. it would be near silent bar the shout of a voice or a distant bell. You get a sense of the back streets of old when walking through Venice today. Near the rivers on a busy day. Bells would also call the people to prayer. smells and what you can see. Hygiene only truly came into its own from the mid-19th century. The clacking and clatter of horses’ hooves and carriages were so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. You hear footsteps and even dogs walking. People generally stank. a central street like Oxford Street in London. at times made up of horse. You would smell people. There was thudding. grinding mechanical noises. The side streets would be immeasurably calmer and. touch and taste one by one: the car. especially if a tannery was nearby. the sound of humanity would be more obvious. which can be eerie. powerful. other animal and human shit. the hum of electrical appliances. The pathways to the riverfront would be clogged up by horses and there would be lots of shouting as boatmen loaded and unloaded. The smell could be very strong.

The city begins to acquire its more angular. The look and smell of poverty would be all over – people dressed in unwashed. new smells are on the horizon closer to those of today: smoke from coal whose heavy particles hang in the air and hover over the ground especially on cold days. especially the great mills of Lowell or Halifax. pumping. The city was the exception not the rule. Perhaps there would be a background of grease. very soon the sounds and smells of nature and the overriding sense of the rural would take over. sweet and sharp to the nose at the same time. New York and Philadelphia adopt a template of wide grid-patterning and buildings are built towards the sky. burning home coal fires creating over time a smoggy filter and muggy atmosphere that would make you cough and choke. Yet in their time. stinking rags. The building archetype is the factory. The height of buildings averaged perhaps five times the human height. Factories. There is a mechanical feel. steel. the factory has a beauty. scrapping a living from the streets. there is a greater awareness of cleanliness and the motorcar has not yet marched its way to dominance. great halls and assembly yards. greys and blacks. have a monumental quality with their regular patterning. they told a different story. people suddenly feel secondary and like automatons. with the churches thrusting above as the only high buildings. with coughs and spluttering joining the yells and clatter. upright feel and heights are rising – ten. twenty times human height. blues and yellows were a rarity as dyeing was very expensive. Nevertheless. a paean to production. The sound of disease would have been more prevalent too. as in construction. Retrospectively. generates awe and inspires artists to revitalize them and the chi-chi-ria to transform them into apartments. more rough to touch. Chicago. The urban shapes were more crenulated and less angular. The hue of colours was more sombre – browns. even for clothes because of dirt.14 The machinery of city-making. fuelled by an optimistic modernism. Fast forward to the early 20th century and much of the old smell has abated: sewerage systems are in place. Height is especially dominant in the emerging cities of the ‘new continent’. Brighter reds. greens. Things had a more hand-made feel. becomes ever larger with new types of crane. Mechanical sounds are increasing: regular grinding. Electricity is being embraced with such enthusiasm that . pylons. But once out of the city.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 49 There was more wood and masonry around. cutting and banging noises. dust and a lack of washing.

dangers and pleasures here.50 The Art of City-Making New York builds its first electric chair in 1888. it is difficult to create and work with a rich associational palette around a sensation. not a detailed description. especially those in planning and the built environment: planning framework. ‘musky’. Often we have to turn to literature to seek linguistic inspiration. thought. . clutter or translation. to suggest and evoke. unlike our other four main senses. hunger and poverty. they also remind us of some past dreadfulness. especially when we think of the combined sensory experience together as one. ‘warm’ and ‘bursting’. They seek to call forth memory. (Interestingly. It is shaped by the technical jargon of the professions. Lest we are tempted to romanticize. grim and hideous as these were. Our language. Linguistic shortcomings We do not have a well-developed language to explore and describe the senses. eviscerated and dry. Or else. smell goes directly to the limbic system in the brain. This restricts our capacity to experience fully. the immediate impact of smell is unfiltered by language. let alone in relation to the city. On the other hand. These are mere flavours of a past. Everyone can paint their own picture. is hollowed out. as noted. hence terms such as ‘comfort food’ or ‘the smell of death’ and the use of adjectives like ‘sharp’. ‘salty’. The language of the senses is not rich enough for describing our cities today. however.15) We rely more on metaphor and associations with other senses. Sounds too are easier to describe because language (itself a system of sounds as well as visual signs) can be used to approximate them: The whoosh of a car going past or the buzz of a bee (although. Without suitable descriptors. seem to evade easy encapsulation. we describe smells and tastes with reference to the source of the stimuli: ‘fishy’. Things are becoming more like today. As a result. at least in the more developed world. there are cultural discrepancies here). Smell and taste. unless we look to artists. qualitative planning goal. as only when we have words can we build on primary sensations. Sights are better articulated because in general we have a rich vocabulary around physical appearance. much of which has been overcome – disease. they did not threaten the planet and civilization as have today’s toxic set of chemical compounds and relentless exploitation of finite resources.

there are more decibels from more sources. early wins. statutory review policy programme. mainstreaming. landscapes. benchmarking. step change. neighbourhood framework delivery plan. pediments and architraves. underspend. the feeling of the look.16 Descriptions of the visual city come from habits of portraying classic architecture where building components are illustrated: pedestals. worklessness. visioning. efficiency. light. Yet many sounds attract people: the busy hum of a commercial district. the role of the development board in delivering integrated services. peripheries. materials. Does it make you shrink into yourself. the twang of a guitar from a busker. empowerment. But both frequently exclude the atmospherics of cities. colour. densities. sees and describes cities more as dynamic totalities: place. neighbourhoods. blocks. with notions of symmetry or harmony at its core. additionality. zones. triple bottom line. but more is less with the increased roar of noise in the city. liveability. The language has broadened somewhat. function. sustainability proofing. mixed uses. the hurly-burly of the morning rush . The language of what cities look like is thus dominated by the physical but without descriptions of movement. the shouts of market traders. Sound can have positive connotations in the context of music. starting with sound. development strategy. columns. centres. rhythm or people. site option appraisal process. the murmuring of human voices in a tranquil park offset from the hubbub of the city. yet still has a focus on static elements rather than dynamic wholes like space. make you want to participate? Let’s explore senses in turn. stakeholder consultation. structure.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 51 spatial development code. outcome targets. Soundscape With urbanization comes a proliferation in sounds. focal points and realms. vistas. Urban design. connections. Its principles derive from key texts such as that by Vitruvius. make you calmly reflect or fill you with passion? Does it close you in or open you out? Does the physical fabric make you respond with a sense of ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Does it involve you. the expression and presence of a building. technology. income inadequacy. movement. It becomes less differentiated and variegated. capitals. This visual language comes largely from architecture and urban design. Put simply. meanwhile.

Romans) are expected to work and live in an aural state of siege. Noises loud enough to cause hearing loss are almost everywhere in larger cities. fatigue. the noise we take for granted. Look at people in the noisy city. the sounds of the city are amplified by the physical structures that hug our street. we would go mad. grates and whirrs. gardening equipment grinds. as one writer put it. but we do not notice it anymore. bulldozers. your muscles tense. The sound artist and urban . Your heart beats faster. dumper trucks. If you like a sound. sleeplessness.52 The Art of City-Making hour. drills. As does construction equipment such as jackhammers. We are selectively attentive – we try to hear what we want to hear and we filter out noise. To make matters worse. they squint their eyes and pucker their lips in a fixed position to shield themselves from and to ward off the sounds of the city. sirens and exhaust from big buildings.. We cannot afford to. Not forgetting the most obvious problem – loss of hearing. space and the more subtle exchanges among humans or animals. This is white noise. the total sum of all noise.. trains and motorcycles all produce excessive noise. thoughts are interrupted and the digestion of food halts. Shanghai citizens. it can trigger pleasurable emotions. and your blood pressure rises. Shops have foreground and background music. is released into your bloodstream. ‘New Yorkers (or Londoners.. We must adapt as a function of self-protection. Overwhelming everything is the big petrochemical roar of the car. Sudden spasms occur in your stomach and intestines . lack of concentration and other symptoms where the body screams for help. irritability. buses. Even in the suburbs we have lost the art of silence. cars. Concrete.17 Noise created by humans can be harmful to health or welfare: headaches. Air conditioning provides a constant background whirr and computers an electrical hum.’18 Most city-dwellers experience the barrage of noise as a soundwall which prevents us from hearing distance. If you don’t: Adrenaline . glass and steel create a ‘canyon effect’ that loudens the growls and honks of traffic. So the noise of global transactions is a broadband hum. Or. piledrivers and cranes. Transport vehicles are the worst: large trucks. If we didn’t.. aircraft. grinding machines. Tokyoites. They knit their brows.

as exemplified by the Bauhaus movement. and sound. Murray Schafer introduced the concept of soundscape in the mid-1970s and. same structures. the social. later. among others. The goal of acoustic ecology is to raise listening awareness and to preserve acoustically balanced soundscapes. and an intimate reflection of. Westerkamp again: . but also with the ‘bad breath’.21 Westerkamp defines soundscape as ‘the sum total of all sounds within any defined area. of high-rise buildings… So. the internationalism in urban design has resulted not only in visual but also in aural sameness: same materials.20 It is in large part artists who have been at the forefront of sensory searching. we should consider the world as a vast musical composition which is constantly unfolding before us’. the discipline that explores the ecological health and balance of our acoustic environment and all living beings within. where no windows can be opened and natural light does not find access. Modern cities are not only throbbing with amplified and reflected traffic sounds. Sonically this translates into electrical hums from artificial lighting and broadband sounds from air conditioning inside. they are acutely aware of the sonic environment and its acoustic ecology. She points out that the new international architecture that is homogenizing our visual urban environment is also homogenizing our soundscape: Although most likely not anticipated by Bauhaus designers. functionalism and efficiency in building design have been developed to great extremes during the twentieth century as banks and corporations have been erecting their tall towers. and natural conditions of the area. as Schafer calls it. R. As professional listeners and makers of sound. Change in these conditions means change in the sonic environment’. political.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 53 observer Hildegard Westerkamp sums up parallel developments in modern architecture. same sounds.22 Schafer noted too that ‘to grasp what I understand by acoustic aesthetics. and powerful broadband sounds from the buildings’ exhaust systems outside. technological. Artificial control of air and light has become an integral aspect of this type of building design. that of acoustic ecology.19 The original impetus for sound awareness came from composers and musicians.

54 The Art of City-Making Soundscape Studies and Acoustic Design want to strip the soundscape of its sonic overload. Cities are always on the move with accompanying construction and demolition: whirring. timbre. There is often an aeroplane above. its noise and all the acoustic ‘perfume’ that the Muzak Corporation. the tone colour or quality of the tone that distinguishes it from other tones on the same pitch or volume. intensity. designed to irk and annoy with its high-pitch. or. thumping car stereos. it highlights the urgent need to care for it – just as caring for our children creates desire to listen to them and vice versa. they crescendo to a roar. the desire to remove background aural clutter so as to enjoy varied. beep or honk. Some have enriched the descriptive vocabulary further to portray subtler detail within a sound. grinding. but wander around any shopping mall and you can hear the muffled cacophony of MTV culture and dance music. perhaps beyond that. Hence there remains. muzak has declined in influence. brrrhh. So we have a low whirr. brrrrrm. but always a continuous soft echo of rubber on the road. and on occasion it rasps with a gruffness as it flies directly overhead. unrelentingly piercing whining or wailing. banging. the length of a tone. beeping and the whoosh and swoosh of cars. listening to it creates a desire. rumbling with a gravelly roar. in place to energize consumerism. clanking. The more continuous backdrop of motorized sound is interspersed with sporadic interruptions: a staccato screech. When these sounds cumulate. and duration. at least in some quarters. the location of a note between high and low.23 In fact. The occasional unmuffled motorbike exhausts make your ears boil. with changing volume from a rumble to a roar. Sometimes there is a siren or a car alarm. from din to honking. drilling. in Western Europe. has introduced into urban environments… Wanting to care for the acoustic environment in the deepest sense creates the desire to listen to it and vice versa. whining. and blaring. distinct sounds from place to place. whine. the straining sounds of cars going uphill or changing gear. for example. Sound classifications obviously come from music. The main qualities cover pitch.24 Yet it is difficult to articulate the urban soundscape with these categories alone – its noises ranging from hum to hubbub. the loudness or magnitude. or the sound of swooshing or noisy crumbling as things .

Really. a hubbub all around. though commuters are rarely vocal. A mix of pitches high to low. A giggle or a laugh might break through and someone always has that unpleasant. dulled whirr. distinct voices in the foreground. the dadumdadum dadumdadum as wheels click the joints on the tracks. Usually. the plane and construction and listen to the sounds of buildings in isolation. Remind yourself of times gone: what sounds did you hear that you will never hear again with such pristine clarity? Sounds disappear like species: the hooves of horses clopping that you now only encounter in the military parade or TV period dramas. masked as they are by the noise wall. You would have to shut down electricity to hear silence without the hummmmm and it is difficult to experience pure sound. Then open the door of a bar. the clack of typewriters keys on carbon paper. Long gone is . the odd intermittent cough or loud exhalation of breath.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 55 fall down. the words nearly clear. Rarely is there a clear note. again you feel the vibrations. the patter of feet. Walking the streets at night and there will be a repetitive beat. if you ever can – they breathe a steady. The air conditioning and electrical gadgetry give out a coated. whiny. The vibrations even reverberate within your chest if you are near enough. the noise is random. a rustle. lots of bass. Discrete and continuous sounds simply coalesce. piercing. Rhythm is rare – and a comforting relief when it comes. Traffic throws a blanket over the soundscape so you lose the subtle sounds. drawn out hummmmmm. though. Extract the car. If you listen closely. move out from Europe or North America to the bazaars of the East or the souks of the Middle East. You don’t hear church bells often and when you do they are not crystal clear. The sound on the streets is the faint sound of people brushing against each other. Voices can burst out as if the sound had been condensed in a fizzy bottle. and you are hit by a soundwave. it is noise not sound that you hear in the city. faster today than yesterday – a basement bar or record shop. they alert rather than relax your ears. the pop of flashbulbs. Some voices break through. You rarely hear the varying wind sounds in the city. Sounds are mushed together and it is difficult to pick out individual ones. the clink of glass milk bottles on the front doorstep. sound in the background more like a rhythm of noise. long. the slamming of telephone handsets. pub or restaurant. Moving trains provide some rhythm. nasal voice. If you want to hear a thousand voices chattering.

But in the former Soviet Union you can encounter industry in its classic industrial revolution incarnation. They have a rich sound colour and variations coming more from people than machines. with those from the latter often monotone. car engines and. Albania. I remember a section of the shipyards in Gdansk. Nearing the city core there is the silent commerce behind the humming buildings’ façades.56 The Art of City-Making the tweet of urban sparrows or starlings. in turn. others have evolved: think of police and ambulance sirens. its general tone is similar. Yet transparency is all the rage now and behind seethrough glass they go about their silent business. You’ll be lucky to see white-collar workers in the cheaper buildings. The noise rings. forklift trucks and their high-pitched whining. The sound is paced and measured in ports. Add to this the deeply pitched vibrations of heavy containers clanging and juddering on to the ground. whose reflective glass returns your image. will be hearing sounds coming off the streets. Markets are a sound and smell cliché. the steel works in Elbasan. with rusting debris lying forlorn. They. booms and echoes as it hits the metal structures of the factory. The sense of slow movement is inflected by our knowledge of port activities. shouts.25 Normally you have to concentrate hard and get rid of the noise in your head to pick out a poor miserable bird. although the agile forklifts can dart about like ants. Then there are the still active plants like Nova Huta near Krakow or the Mittal steelworks in Iasi. If you are near a port. the styles of music you hear on the streets. selfadvertising. The noise of industry has largely left cities whose economies are now based more on service industries and at whose edges the noise is trapped in large industrial sheds. The sound of commerce is the sound of movement: packing. Romania. where you might see a hundred thousand starlings in the evening light. While some sounds have gone. This is especially true of cities in the Far East. of course. Inside their offices is . sounds seem to emerge from the bowels of the hulls of ships. unpacking boxes. but compelling and ubiquitous. muffled and less distinct though they are because of the double glazing. trolleys. Often it is silent as the massive centralized plants have gone bankrupt. While the precise texture of market sounds across continents is different. the rusting hulks in the port of Murmansk. unless you are in Rome. heavy machines don’t zip about. plonking crates on top of each other. the rustling of paper. the wind on occasion whipping through the landscape causing irregular clangs.

The combination with other impressions makes us hear sounds unlike those we have heard before. relaxation sets in. They sell every kind of the latest that is bizarre. Their silence wafts over the brow. The sounds vibrate underneath your feet as if you were balancing on a lilo and at head level your ears are assaulted. self-made and imported. Durrësi Street and Boulevard ‘Zogu I’ in Tirana or even Arbat in Moscow. which has taken over from Albinoni’s Adagio as the new muzak for calls on hold? The sound of shops is chart music pumped out mainly by fashion and record stores. even if too many are alike. On the ground floor the music thumps out from each of the competing stores. they will be on hold as they wait to be connected. Evidently. With time. the workers hear the private sounds of other voices. Calmer variations on the Taipei theme can be found in Tokyo’s Harajuku. Full of teeny-bopper boutiques. being modern is being noisy. If the phone is used a lot. Every city has its own sound atmospherics. even though it is largely the same. No wonder the sound of silence was too loud for the Taiwanese woman I met in Inari in northern Finland. libraries and places of religious worship are sanctuaries of quiet. a district popular with the young. easing tension along the way. colliding with each other.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 57 the sound of static and hum coming from computers mixed in with voices. But the new Eastern Europe is competing on the noise front. The honk in one place says ‘look. if you listen intently. six-storey high-rises cram in up to 50 shops. in the first a discreet hush. Uninvited noises take energy away. Thresholds of acceptable noise differ from country to country. How many times have they heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Usually more discreet in the West. She could hear her blood pumping and this frightened her. More frequently than not. The dominant department store and supermarket noises are more curtailed. silence can revivify and recharge. the sound palette of the roars is subtly dissimilar. galleries. Think of Deybasovskaya in Odessa. Yet the sound of elsewhere can be enticing. Electric City in Akihabara or Hong Kong’s Nathan Road. there is a kind of social noise contract for which regulations are notoriously flexible. I am here’. Also. with sounds coming mostly from cafés. in another ‘get . Often people use these spaces as mental cleansing rooms. Places to escape from noise increasingly play significant roles: museums. The loudest street sounds I have ever heard were in Taipei’s Hsimenting. in the later the pings of items being scanned at the checkout or the squeak of a trolley.

In Italian cities there was far more hooting and beeping from motorinos and Apes. The traffic noise travels right across the expansive green spaces into hotel rooms. we begin to realize we are far more enclosed than we care to acknowledge. practitioners of these religions had been slaughtering one another.26 . Hildegard Westerkamp describes Brasilia’s soundscape: As much as the Monumental Axis and the Residential Highway Axis may connect people between sectors or between home and work. the children. encapsulating all the fragments. In Los Angeles the horns and sirens pierce more sharply because the motors there are now quieter. Acoustically. The main mosque and orthodox and catholic churches are a few hundred metres from each other. one is closed in. One of my most memorable sound experiences was in Sarajevo. birds and hooting from the panoramic view of Jodhpur’s blue city from Mehrangarhin. It is rare for the sound of the city to come up at you at once. the tiny three-wheeled vans. the honk is a quick beep. but also as occupied by sounds and noise which are wittingly and unwittingly propagated. and many living areas. not just in terms of the physical structures that delimit it. Only a few years before. acoustically speaking they form two enormous soundwalls that divide the city… The acoustic space traffic on these arteries occupies is much more extensive than their geographical dimensions. however. When we think about space. where three global religions meet at a point. Within a few minutes of each other. but from vantage points around the world you can appreciate different sound panoramas: the din looking out from Zócalo Square in Mexico City. in another it is more drawn out. there was the tinny call to prayers through a megaphone from the muezzin. East Berlin once had a special high-pitched. two-stroke engine noise from the Trabants. offices. The eyes can see far but the ear cannot hear beyond the acoustic immediacy of the car motor … because everything looks wide open one gets the illusion of space. bells ringing first to a catholic service and shortly afterwards to an orthodox one – all competing for attention. or the more discreet noises from the castle in Salzburg. until the government raised noise as an issue. churches. even schools. In one.58 The Art of City-Making out of the way’.

North American cites have less vocal sound unless in a shopping mall. there is greater awareness of soundscapes. the sound of a baby crying has more decibels in it than a pneumatic drill. but it might irk a Muslim. and Americans have become too used to fractured soundscapes typified by the constant advertising interruptions in their media. stirring Romanticism. People hear. even the intrusive aircraft? But we also have to be cognizant of the cultural contingency of sound. What sounds do you need to add to and subtract from today’s noise? Imagine reconstructing the sounds of the city in a way that feels good to you. we need to think of sound territorially. the drill you want to destroy. fear. unpleasant imposition? What would you like to hear more of? How can sounds – especially those that grate – be better contained? As sounds occupy space beyond the geographical purview of their origins.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 59 As an exercise. Imagine music that you like: orderly chamber music. As travel and migration increase. What noises would you rather not have? Which are an unnecessary. How many decibels are OK? It depends. anxiety or even excitement. Westerkamp describes bemusement at Delhi’s car horns. listen to. and Japanese cities have a more focused. it is said. exploratory jazz. auditory terms. But the baby induces the emotion to help. so they also make sounds differently. catchy pop. make and want sounds differently. Sounds mean different things and have different weightings across cultures and territories. try to imagine your own city in similar. As cultures interpret sounds differently. Indian urban sounds reflect a greater human intricacy – they are more expressive. A church bell might evoke a warm feeling even if you are not religious. What would you foreground? Would the sounds be. Reconstruct the sounds of the London of 1660. as in nature. How far is one from the other? Imagine yourself as a sound engineer. The sound of a police siren may provoke comfort. prefer less cluttered. Our conditioning determines our response to noise. Or is that too simple? Everywhere a low motorized rumble threatens. Scandinavians. the Chinese need some noise to ward off the chasing ghosts of the dead. but we accept too passively what we have at home. But she realizes there is an intricate system behind the seemingly chaotic noise: . though it is risky to generalize too strongly. depending on context. Cairo of 1350 and Baghdad of 1100. hectic feel. quieter sound environments. whatever. more distinguishable and identifiable. Contrast this with the sounds of your city.

the initiative issued 3706 noise summonses. and they reflect the cultures from within which they stem. seizure of audio equipment. What seemed like chaos initially starts to feel like an organic flow. From its inception in late 2002 to early 2005. 40. they have meaning. The City Police Department is now identifying new neighbourhoods to be targeted for noise control. Silent Night targeted 24 high-noise neighbourhoods throughout the city with intensive enforcement measures. It is hardly part of urban planning and development. We could change the soundscape dramatically. I am beside you’. Electric cars are already pretty silent. summonses. We could ask what would a public space sound like. ‘don’t bump into me’. ‘hallo’. fines and arrests. music and other nuisance but not the general din of traffic. 80. There is an undercurrent of rules. using sound meters. It is an unplanned sideshow. towing of vehicles. Unsurprisingly. it is in our capacity. Did you ask for your soundscape? Is auditory trespassing part of the landscape of planning? Clearly not.29 In New York. ‘I want to pass’.779 moving violations and 33. This will augment the successful anti-noise initiative. Delhi and Chennai to name but a few. New York’s Mayor. They talk. noise is now on many other agendas. ‘watch out.60 The Art of City-Making I realize quickly that car-horns ‘speak’ differently here. Operation Silent Night. noise is the number one complaint to the city’s citizen hotlines.28 The World Federation of Acoustic Ecology.996 criminal court summonses. which perhaps makes British Columbia and Vancouver the urban sound awareness capital of the world. Michael Bloomberg. put forward legislation in 2005 which will provide the first comprehensive overhaul of the New York City Noise Code in over 30 years. focused on construction. Acoustic sensitivity is not designed in. London.27 Sounds engender emotions. inspired by Murray Schafer. currently averaging nearly 1000 calls a day. ‘hallo’. ‘I want to move over to your side’. We could challenge our innovators to invent the silent computer or air conditioner. ‘leave me some space’. In New York. like water.056 parking violations. The city is developing a new noise code. such as those of the ‘right to silence’ and ‘sound rights’ campaigners: The Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection. Awareness of noise pollution is rising fast. is based in Vancouver.30 .

in contrast to the sound or look of a place. If you eat something while holding your nose. the protagonist Charles Swann finds that the smell from a small piece of madeleine cake soaked in tea triggers a raft of memories from his childhood. relaxing us or dulling our senses. Smell can remind us sharply of a precise moment a very long way back. The olfactory system has close anatomical affinity with the limbic system and hippocampus. They defy onomatopoeic encapsulation and visual metaphor. As we can detect atmospheres. A classic example linking smell with memory occurs in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) by Marcel Proust. Smell leads to heady feelings and triggers emotions: at one extreme we can smell arousal and sexual excitement. Early on in the first book (‘Swann’s Way’). We therefore resort to their associational relations. Perhaps the smell of an old relative or the whiff of perfume that enveloped you in one of your early kisses. And it is the one people are most willing to give up when asked. ‘Which sense would you be prepared to lose?’32 Yet without this sense. fear.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 61 Smellscape That smell is extremely evocative is evidenced by neuroscience.33 .’31 Olfactory information is therefore easily stored in long-term memory and has strong connections to emotional memory. Because consciousness and the use of language are closely connected. at the other. it is understandable why olfactory information plays a part mainly on an unconscious level. But powerful as it is. smell is a sense that we have neglected in cultural terms. smells are hard to describe. as the body releases aromatic substances called pheromones. ‘areas of the brain that have long been known to be involved in emotion and place memory. So the smellscape is transient and difficult to capture in words. Smells affect our mood quite easily. as noted. As Pier Vroon notes: Our terminology for describing smells is meagre or inadequate due to our neural architecture. respectively. our sense of smell gives us a strong grasp of place and location. The parts of the brain that are closely involved in the use of language have few direct links with the olfactory (smell) system. it is impossible to distinguish subtle flavours. But. our sense of taste would be terribly depleted.

Evolution doesn’t favour those who find the poisonous. The spores have a distinctive.62 The Art of City-Making To make matters worse. smell or odour can be measured. and for good reason. Dust is a quintessential ingredient of the urban sensescape. Smell is part of the signal world of nature. . Behavioural studies have shown that this ‘green odour’ involving cis-3-hexenal and other compounds has a healing effect on psychological damage caused by stress. Smells in nature have a purpose – to attract or repel. If you are exposed to it for long enough. the fumes from cars can give you a foggy. who are by definition subjective. most are unpleasant. it will be a composite of the particular urban matter from which it has arisen. The smell of cut grass is a familiar one throughout Western culture. Another familiar smell is that after rain. the diseased or the dangerous sweet-smelling or tasty. There are also other scents after it rains as the impact of rain stirs up aromatic material which is carried through the moist air. It has even been bottled. There are so many subtle smells bumping into each other in the city. The wetness and force of rainfall kicks tiny spores – actinomycetes – up into the air where the moisture after rain acts as an aerosol or air freshener. often attracts a double take. unhealthy and bad for us. earthy smell. Smell exacerbates the differences between urban and rural experiences. fragrant. classifications of smell go back as far as Plato. so we resort to human inspectors. hircinous (goaty). the smell associated with roasted coffee. Unfortunately. Perhaps this is a reason for the lack of campaigning organizations to improve our smell environment. we have no scale against which the intensity of a scent. and empyreumatic. Aristotle and later Linnaeus in the 16th century enlarged these to seven: aromatic. Two other smells have since been added: ethereal. colour in frequencies and touch in units of force and pressure. ambrosial (musky). It flattens and makes bland the air. alliaceous (garlic). so it is difficult to discern the detail. yet the background smell remains predominantly petrochemical. although we can measure sound in decibels. it muffles the perception of other smells. Honeysuckle’s smell. which is fruity. repulsive and nauseous. whose simple dividing line was pleasant and unpleasant. Rotting flesh repulses through smell. If it has an odour. the air feels polished and cleaner as the rain has pushed down the dust. Most people consider it pleasant and fresh. Not so much a source of smell. Nevertheless. intensive yet transitory and fragile. In the city after rain.

fabric. odourless variations of T-shirts.’34 You slide into a new car and see plastics. After a while it feels like a dulling thwack on the head. head to a market. but then your head starts to swirl. Some car makers spray this in their cars. It feels empty and disappoints. gasoline. cosmetics and glue. and upholstery – held together with adhesives and impregnated with sealants whose gases are released into the car as it warms. Perhaps you also smell the ‘treated leather’ odour of shoe stores. you can smell the chemical activity before particles become charred and olfactory activity begins to tail off. trainers. its synthetic feel is almost like a physical layer. Often heat is involved. This is a cross-cultural. and the smell rises in waves and convection currents. homogenizing. To an avid urbanite the fumes may be intoxicating at the beginning. It sits low rather than rises like gases do. It’s the scent of food that hits you right up the nose as if it is pushing . They are everywhere – in petrol. plastics. What is the smell of a new car? It is essentially like sniffing glue.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 63 swimmy feel with light-headed giddiness. adhesives. make you feel hungry or build up your appetite. They envelope us like a smog. When you get close to the running motors of cars and lorries. globalized smell and it blankets the intimate smells distinctive to a place. grease. This common fumefilled urban experience can be debilitating. You can wretch and gag if by mistake you happen take a deep breath in Norilsk in Siberia or Lagos as a 30-year-old dieselpowered bus expels its exhaust into your nostrils at the changing lights. You cannot move an inch without petrochemicals. There are petrol-fuelled industrial environments where the grease on machines leaves a residue and the sparks on metal create a tighter and more tinny scent. Even with modern buses. jeans and other cheap clothing or the cheap plastic whiff of shoes and trainers. irritating and have a degenerating effect. Markets can be thrilling urban smell experiences when not inundated by endless. households cleaners. For a more varied olfactory experience. heated-up engines. the acrid smell and taste can be sickening. Tanned leather smells slightly rank so tanneries add an artificial ‘treated leather’ fragrance. white spirit. The new car smell emanates from 40 volatile organic compounds – ‘primarily alkanes and substituted benzenes along with a few aldehydes and ketones. but this does not excite your taste buds. paint. You smell solvents. lubricants and vinyl. You can taste petrochemicals. turps.

bread. In East Asian markets. they play on both your sight and sense of smell. This organic scent-world conflicts at edge points in the markets when we move to synthetic household goods. But overall. as powerful in their scent as they are in their colour. coriander or rosemary. where smells and scents are trapped and can circle in a whirlpool with their mixed messages: fish and fowl. spicy-savoury tones of ground cumin and coriander. spinach. But the smell of individual vegetables is contributing to the whole. berries and dried fruits. bananas and pineapples give off aromas that hint at what they will taste like. the ebullient. Ripened summer berries. dense. the arresting. fowl and fish. potatoes. of green. The earthy. leaden. scallions. This is most strong in a covered market. sweet aromatics of cloves. In the meat section the unavoidable smell of death hangs in the air. There are too many subtle aromas around to discern individual ones. And many vegetables hold back their aromas until cooking. In many markets. and here individual smells become distinguishable: the warm. The zesty citrus of lemons. . you might encounter the durian. moist tones of root vegetables – carrots. meat and offal. polishes.64 The Art of City-Making your head back. especially when samples have been cut to release scent. Far more confrontational to the nose are the smells of meat. parsnips. oranges and tangerines. cinnamon. along with the unattractive smell of chicken shit and. there is the smell of earth. save perhaps for bunches of mint. lime. guavas. the penetrating. If you enter a market at the vegetable end. To many. shallots. beans and pulses. by association. lettuces. bittersweet burnt-sugar smell of fenugreek. and most of all the wonderful smell-world of herbs and spices. nuts. with its enigmatic – to some. spices release the most evocative of scents. subdued pepperiness of the allium family – red and white onions. haberdashery. thick. flowers. mangos. nutmeg and green cardamom. Over to the fruit. Jamaican jerk or Moroccan ras-el-hanout. leeks and garlic. beetroot. fruit and vegetables. and cane and wicker work. Displayed to entice and to make your mouth water. you are hit first by the overriding smells of a complexity of freshness. the DIY section. foul – stench. and the more complex composites of Indian garam masalas. woody powdered ginger. fuller. fear: the juxtaposition of live and dead flesh will unnerve the squeamish as well as the livestock not long for this world. cleaning materials. pastries. chard. the produce is still alive. and the clean chlorophyll of greens – cabbages.

and promote the health of the mind. More often there is a stale. There is not an individual aroma to any individual fish species bar the fresh shellfish which smell of the sea itself. . congealed.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 65 bloody. harmonize. You are smelling iced water and air conditioning. The non-smell of food in supermarkets is ironic. such as the relaxing lavender. static air. Contrast the vivid smell sensation of markets with the neutralized. blank. It smells not of what you are buying. Offal might contribute a smell of urea or bile. The typical shop smell in the old Eastern Europe was old sugar mixed in with disinfectant and lino. a bit antiseptic and oddly heavy. These cultivate the smell of nothingness. and spirit’. except for the bakery. There is an irony in that we pump the air with unpleasant petrochemical odours. Cheaper supermarkets or grocery shops do not succeed in creating an odourless world. concentrated. sweaty odour that seems to cling to grease that you cannot see. as awareness of the power of aromatherapy becomes more widespread.35 Essential oils range from the calming to the stimulating. Aromatherapy is defined as ‘the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essence from plants to balance. which you can sometimes also encounter in a hospital setting. A tinge of seaweed. or the roast turkey smell at Christmas. where they pump out the flavours of hot crusty bread. The smell of even fresh fish is unpleasant to some. ozone. such as citrus or peppermint oils. There is an urgency about the smell of flesh and blood in that you might be conscious of the potential transition to the fetid and therefore repulsive. to seduce people to buy. Overriding everything is the superimposed blanket of coldness. The incipient decay of fish is arrested in ice. hence the need to continuously wash the area. often linked to sound. body. Some oily fish like sardines and mackerel are particularly pungent as the digestive juices in their stomachs begins to digest their own flesh. antiseptic scent-world of supermarkets. impenetrable. then neutralize their smell in controlled settings and try to put back natural smells. Creating the smell of absence is an art in itself – the blander the better – but there is a constant background tinge of refrigeration: dry. Yet even hospitals are seeking to control the smell environment through herbs. but the fish water that runs off the display slabs becomes repulsive to all within a matter of hours. sickly and plastic when you get your nose right into it. empty. Increasingly shops aware of its potency are constructing smell environments.

let’s remind ourselves that perfume-makers use the odours of urine. the ground floors provide an oversaturated smell environment. knowing it is a turn-on. Every perfume company is fighting the fragrance battle. either by design or inadvertently. scents and fragrances have uncalculated effects. luring and seducing customers into their smell zones. violet. from London to Buenos Aires. a draught of cold. cedar wood. heady blast of perfumes and cosmetics. powder. lavender. partly inviting but interspersed with the smell of plastic and disinfectant. The dominant smell of Italian restaurants is often that of . Their scents are nearly accurate. Long gone are the days of real constituents in perfume. sweat and vaginal wetness in their products.66 The Art of City-Making Interior environments are now essentially controlled. In colder climates they first hit you with a waft of warm. whereas in a less economically developed context at least you know where it is coming from. The good Chinese restaurant will exude a blend of ginger. Yet from Dubai to Tokyo. rose. Guerlain. Issy Miyake. The odour control and creation industry is massive. YSL. The continuous squirting from tester bottles replenishes this heavy petrochemical cocktail. myrrh or eucalyptus? Walking in dining areas of cities. gardenia. Modern perfumes are constructed chemical smells with a substantial benzene base.36 Department stores are an example where you might be affected. Dior. If it is cheaper this mixture will include a fullish greasiness. you might hit a row of Indian or Chinese restaurants whose food smells emanate from their air conditioning. spring onion and soy sauce. sandalwood. garlic. around 70 per cent of asthmatics report that their asthma is triggered by fragrance and skin allergies are known to be common. pop stars and the odd football player branch into fragrances. The odour industry can create any scent from chemicals and. frankincense. Synthetic fragrances do not linger and have no staying power. scent and deodorant. yet a good nose will tell the difference between the real and the fake. In the West you wonder about the origin of the smell. For instance. piles of foundation. The list grows yearly as fashion designers. just in case we get starry-eyed about fragrances. The perfumery hall is full of sales women who have put on body lotion. Chanel. stale air and in warmer climes. With profit margins high. The odours. The smells are different and are fighting against each other. the first impression is of a powerful. lily of the valley. Everything is synthetic: remember the real smell of jasmine.

where only the rubbery connections exude a tiny whiff. sweaty. Cities have their own scent landscapes and often it is an association with one small place that determines a smell reputation. dry. Our home has a smell. from fumes that are trapped as the older buildings bend in. Going home is about presence as well as absence of smell. The tannery in Canterbury. The same is true for tall buildings in narrow valleys. The fast-food chains have a smell of their own. They are almost sweet. garlic. But there is the sulphurous. There is even a smell of poverty. There is the smell of production (usually unpleasant) or consumption which is hedonically rich and enticing. The Japanese communications ministry is investing large resources in creating the first 3D virtual reality television by 2020 to change the way we watch TV.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 67 pesto. The Indian restaurant’s exhaust might smell of cumin. sweet. or down and depressed. the mix of basil. Think of non-smelling computers. tart but fruity. KFC. Grease and ketchup liberates and heightens the papery cardboard smell from which you eat the chips and chicken nuggets. They mush into one. one of the region’s most polluted streets. but we don’t smell it as much as visitors do. If that is frightening. acrid. Burger King. consider that Las Vegas casinos already pump the smell of money on to the gambling floors: dry. it darts into your nose and catches you unawares. parmesan. pine nuts and olive oil. that act as a canyon and container so that smells do not circulate freely. Subway. as in Caracas. Let’s move from the crusty smell of fast food to the antiseptic non-smell of electrical goods. changes are on the horizon to control our smell environment comprehensively. the hides or skin of animals quickly begin to rot. which is why originally . It is proposed to have several thousand smells so as to create any mood. televisions and radio equipment. Wendy’s. The breweries of Munich throw out a distinct aroma of heavy yeast: piercingly pungent. bad eggs smell of Los Angeles which grabs you by the throat as this high pressure area holds everything in. coriander and turmeric. We can rarely smell the city all in one so we can say that a city’s smell makes us happy. McDonald’s. However. aroused. putrefy and stink. England is just as bad as that of Fes in Morocco. Left untreated. but pre-made sauces which blur distinctions between individual spices are beginning to dominate. And this equally applies in Broad Street in beautiful Georgian Bath. It depends on circumstance. crusty. a slight smell of cardboard.

So people and places have their scent DNA related to trades. unsurprising. The look of the city When we envisage a city.68 The Art of City-Making tanneries were on rivers at the edge of town. Monuments may or may not be prominent in our picture – the Eiffel Tower perhaps. urine and brains). landscape and level of development. alas. perhaps. Friends for Manhattan) and news images (where else. but in our antiseptic world. But in all cases. We may also recall personal memories of arrival – landing close to Las Vegas’ Strip or driving into Mumbai from the airport – and catching a particular view. To the Chinese and Japanese.37 The interplay of these factors may result in a body odour which is specific to a culture. We smell of what we eat and that is a fact. representations of it: postcards. It makes you look at the leather products in a different way. our picture will be just . Europeans apparently smell cheesy or like congealing diary products. as in the 9/11 disaster?). maps (London’s wonderful though abstracted Tube map). We prefer to mask ourselves in deodorant. The penetrating smell in Fes is caused by the use of all kinds of animal products (excretions. Different countries perceive the same smells and tastes differently. of Rio from Cordovado Mountain or London from Parliament Hill. talking of the smell of people is seen as politically incorrect. ‘Less developed’ places smell much more as they are. perhaps iconic. the variation within a culture or geographic region is very wide. Personal body smell is affected by several factors – the types of food consumed. we are quite likely – especially if we haven’t been there before – to draw on previous. people interpret smells differently. TV programme opening titles (Eastenders for London. industry. petrol fumes are fine while for others they are sickening. paintings. What do we smell like? The city smell is that of people. with this as with every other sense. the use of scented products. masking what is bad behind created odours of ‘pleasantness’. within cultures. given the lack of diary products in their diets. and even the distribution and abundance of scentproducing glands in the skin may vary from culture to culture. a city or a geographic region. The ‘developed’ West tries to sanitize smell. For some. and the cross-cultural issue is ever-present. Equally. Finally us. can you see a city’s skyline changed live. With mass mobility and migration. or the Sydney Opera House. diet.

The Sensory Landscape of Cities 69 that – a subjective one formed by our experiences and by other narratives. too.38 who reflects a view of city life in its full dynamic. The pictures are beautiful. The strategic planner typically sees the city from the air on large-scale maps. There is one eye and vantage point that has shaped how we look and talk about cities: that of the architect/interior designer. arid. Instead. Are you high up or low down? Are you seeing the city from a distance or close up? Our eyes determine what we see. from the ground or from on high. its vocabulary dense. There is a vast architectural publishing industry and so far more has been written about the look of places. It is but one view. The look of the city depends on where you stand and its layout. whereas the local planner zooms in to the great detail. in the other. for the other they soar grandly into the sky. Too few architectural critics and urban writers write with the ease and insight of James Howard Kunstler. disabled. like an arrow with a purpose. The engineers might look at structures and ask ‘do they stand up?’. Occasionally you sense the architect and their critics reflect in each other’s glory. The architectural object comes across too much as isolated. Each vantage point from which you look tells a different story of the city. more like a surface. They are supported by an industry waiting to sell its product. you are often not sure that someone is talking about . The other needs to walk the streets and nearly touch the surfaces of bollards. shape what we see and what we leave out as we see selectively. There is much left out. The one sees the city as slightly flat. pavements and houses. for which there is no market to sell to. precious or even pompous. For one the buildings loom overwhelmingly or can appear claustrophobic hemming you in. and the thief wants some confusion in the space. In one case it can seem like a maze. A raft of glossy magazines reinforces the message. than the sounds and the smells of the city. old. yet it predominates. Our jobs. but in very restricted terms. yet lifeless and rarely peopled. a woman or a man there is a contrast in focus. If you are young. usually the tone is rarefied. A warren of streets is a different experience. as if it had landed somewhat disconnectedly in the urban landscape. The look is always gleaned from a particular vantage point. and with computer technology its 3D shapes come across with the tilt. This is a reason why the profession stands accused of being self-referential. The crime prevention officer is looking for hidden crannies where the sightlines aren’t clear. than a grid pattern.

perhaps. inflexible. There are other compensations too. Buildings speak to you in different ways through their materials. On occasion. The bigger the height and size. the famous Devil’s Causeway in County Antrim. Materials matter. It is more comforting because it is more human in scale. the fact I am 120 or 60 or 20 times smaller than the building is of little consequence. In London. changeable. the cement-clad towns of the former Soviet block. From above. The sense of sheer compacted physicality is what makes the city so distinctive. We notice this especially when they are made just from one material. I sense a certain grandeur. broken-up street pattern. like the largely unpainted wooden town of Koprivshtitsa in Bulgaria. feels movable. power and energy. one to six creates a dramatically different feeling. Angularity is the other predominant feature: straight lines. In Birmingham is Future Systems’ Selfridges store – the ‘curvy slug’. The latest trend in architectural fashion helped by new technology and buildings techniques is to break out of the angularity prison. the largest steel works have a similar feel. There is hardly a place in nature that looks like this except. ungiving. Nature. the mud buildings of Yemen (as in the aston- . some jutting out. right angles. There are a few more swoops and swerves and rounded buildings. say. interfering and looming. But a ratio of.70 The Art of City-Making a city within which people live. this angularity comes across as a chaotic range of heights and right angles. for instance. by contrast. The extent of loomingness is partly perceptual. squareness. The same is true when I can view the building from some distance. when streets are too narrow and the road feels like a motorway. sharp edges. we like markets. With a wide pavement and boulevarded. the difference between how big I am and how big the building is matters. adaptive. The confident tone and selfunderstanding reinforces the view that it is the architect who is really the city-maker. Let us take some snapshots of the look of cities. planes. This is why. No other structure built by humans is so complex and extensive. Yet the surface feel of the city remains hard. It is the first impression. Yet when the public realm does not work. the more different we feel. More like a rod than a bendable reed. unbendable. Too great a difference feels oppressive. there is the Norman Fosterdesigned Swiss Re building – the ‘gherkin’. blank walls. apart from the buzz. Northern Ireland – a mass of basalt columns packed tightly together that resembles a mega-city.

then the reflective golden touch for the attention seekers. their presence. terracotta and red. while psychologically it . museums and city halls? Colour is everywhere. The Pompidou Centre in Paris was one of the first of that generation. There is a difference between the psychological effect of a colour and its symbolism. For how long will glass stay as the material of choice for malls. by contrast. This has come in phases as new materials emerged and were tried out. Then the material speaks to you in its full glory. glass refracts light differently than a brick building. the dust is in the air. The reflective buildings that mirror themselves back at you in a ‘look at me’ kind of way seem impertinent and self-imposing. They assert. a reminder that it was once a tree. of the once grand Shkodra in Albania. Wood ages well. but does not crumble. and its deceptive evenness gives a place a musty feel. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid. of course. Now the style is commonplace and the Toronto Eaton Centre stands out as an example from a cold climate. Think. aggressively. cool and uplifting. They do not invite nor have a conversation with you. It feels airy. called the Manhattan in the desert). impenetrable shine. M. for instance. Cement. they felt already weathered when new. the grey limestone of the Cotswold towns. but to the post-Soviet eye they are like modernity par excellence. New brick buildings are too smooth and mechanical. It is all-embracing and in every culture. We live in the age of glass. Colour variations seep through the bricks and there seems to be a story in each one. The West favours more the transparent look of see-through glass. Glass and mirror have come into the frame with new techniques of heating and air conditioning. When done well the steel and metal buildings combine strength and lightness. USA. it absorbs light back into itself. the red bricks of industrial Lowell. The sturdy sickly brown and green glass feel. The red bricks in older towns have blemishes. it fades. green is symbolically associated with envy. the up-to-date chemical processes of brick-making have evened out the surface and given them a lifeless. At its best it projects a sense of democracy and modernity. it feels animate. or the sand-coloured buildings in Fez. has a deadening patina. the passer-by. and now the predominant silver that throws back clear mirror images. It was given the cement makeover in the Enver Hoxha era. open. At night.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 71 ishing Shibam. And they come in non-brick colours: every hue of yellow. For instance. followed shortly afterwards by I. To the Western eye they now look cheap and garish. Meaning is attributed to each colour.

both shape and respond to character. which feel inert. Light colours lift. with sheet glass and cement the overriding materials in use. equally. If a city were to be black it would be depressing. It is pleasing on the eye in that sunny light. The new coloured glasses are changing that. There are the famous coloured cities of the world which show how paint has an impact: the pink city of Marrakech and. It is a kaleidoscopic. nearby. which is why their more recent creative and fashionable associations also change how you think of what their colour might be. Many Italian cities are an exception in having widespread colour strategies as part of planning. today this is far less apparent as materials are moved around with ease. The vivid colours of painted houses of Latin America. and the blackened industrial cities of industrial Britain were depressing in their time – and grey is not too uplifting either. purple. Designer . Until very recently the colour and the palette used was limited – you rarely saw a green. such as Herzog de Meuron’s Laban dance centre in London. The hydroponic green building feels as if it is alive – a sharp contrast to most buildings. again. anarchic montage of structures that will annoy those who love Paris’s considered order. It clashes well with the exterior of the administration building. ignorance and mental gloom. The crisp colour combinations on the corrugated iron buildings in the once seedy La Boca in Buenos Aires has become so fashionable that it has become the city’s design template. word associations reinforce our perceptions – light and enlightenment. or the blue city of Jodphur in India. which is swallowed up by a vertical carpet of exotic plants punctured by big windows. The new Musée du Quai Branly of indigenous art in Paris by Jean Nouvel is another. Clearly the local materials determined the colour of a place in the past. silvery stone material is unforgiving.72 The Art of City-Making denotes balance. clad by sheets of multicoloured glass. weight and heavy density determine the character of Aberdonians? The predominant hues in Mediterranean countries were variations of terracotta going into sandy beiges. Think of the ‘granite city’ of Aberdeen in Scotland. it wears its sobriquet with pride. and darkness has become a metaphor for negatives like evil. Do its colour. It was always said that Berlin and Milan were grey cities. bright yellow or blue building. the blue and white town of Essaouira. but the grey. One does not need to be a specialist to understand instantly that colour shapes how you feel. Dark colours can depress.

seem to carry the imagery. unclear. Less discreet than a decade ago. Overriding everything – and again we cannot avoid the greys and blacks – is the colour of roads on which the buildings sit as if bedded in a sea of asphalt. And glass. It is tranquil and in control. so it is difficult to generalize across cultures and places even though the homogenizing process continues . because black makes things appear thinner and sleeker (a reason for its popularity in clothing). In the upscale parts things are more discreet and materials obviously better. The city is increasingly a sign system and a message board. A business district communicates differently. The buildings do not feel independent. where the world’s largest skyscraper stands. Brown is less in evidence now. Occasionally beautiful and often intrusive. light yellow translucent overlay. The more downmarket places screech their colours at you. Silver has a sharpish clarity. There is more black – usually shiny black marble – as this is the colour of authority and power. too. Think of Tokyo’s electric city. It is a staging set communicating products and images to you. but blue can also be cold and calculating. from sheets and pillows to furniture. erected in Manila in 2005. It comes across. have a light blue. The hues in modern settings. and the Far East has always been visually wild to Western eyes. glass – it is the gloss of corporate openness. Asphalt’s homogenizing feel shrouds the city at ground level in a veil interspersed by signage and yellow and red traffic lines. as stylish and timeless. glass. it is Eastern Europe that sets new standards of garishness. Think here of the new 101 district in Taipei. in part because of the mass of glass. impact and boldness. they can be immense – the largest billboard in the world. too. Increasingly. A housing or apartment block area can be as different as the country or city it is in. was 50m long and 50m high. The colours and materials used in commercial districts vary. blue is coming in. It looks murky. and again it creates a distance between the viewer and passer-by – it reflects back at you. But it all depends where you are. unfocused. Grey is the canvas on top of which the city plays itself out. Did the impoverished residents of La Boca ever get a royalty? I doubt it. Hong Kong’s Nathan Road or Delhi’s Chandri Chowk – you choke in colour and sign overload. unless left over from a former period. Advertising hoardings increasingly shape the look of the city as they expand in size and impact.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 73 articles.

A blanket of snow transforms a city. Electricity must be seen as pivotal in the history of urban spaces. light plays on the physical structures that make a city. as in Hong Kong or Singapore. More positively. worse. Against the chaotic background . gloomy or rainy. when bereft of natural light. The denser city will compact building upwards. But when combined with architectural monotony. Cities look different depending on whether it is sunny. edge-of-town settlements in dinky. The rising numbers of the middle classes in places such as Russia. typically 10–20 stories high. light can make a street look safer at night and can transform the façades of otherwise dull buildings. It can allow us to watch a football match in the evening. Whatever the colours. particular regional styles. A well-lit or sparkling city view can be inspiring. power relations. and that includes the man-made. and a serious flood can render the cityscape totally unfamiliar to even its own inhabitants. The message here is one of ‘lifestyle’. It can also. In denser places. dull the pleasure of a starry night sky as we unwittingly illuminate particles in the air above with light pollution. for example. a shroud of mist (or. post-modern apartments. this tyranny of the shortest distance can have a uniform beauty. their function. And above all. Light facilitates the 24-hour city. Artificial light illuminates the dark and allows activities that were previously confined to the day to continue into the night. largely gated. a principle of city design will inform and order these buildings into a particular layout that affects our visual experience of the city.74 The Art of City-Making unabated. unfortunately. Often. Buildings will reflect the past. the climate remains a check on our visual experience of it. the materials available at various times in history. class. Green spaces contribute to a city’s quality of life. when the days are long? Light changes all. it can be dull and oppressive. but where people feel land is limitless – as in Melbourne. smog) can hide its vista. Suffice it to say it depends on land costs and availability. Lighting has been discovered as a resource to enliven the city. Turkey or India are creating new. people spill out into the streets as if pushed out of their buildings. materials and layout of a city. Some cities (such as Naples) have recognized the power of light and have specific light strategies. such as the grid systems of America. but remember that a green impression of a city can be misleading – much of London’s ‘green’ is private gardens. How different does Helsinki look in winter. for example – the city spreads out into endlessness. Regarding the grid. than in summer.

hear. the salient point of this entire section on the senses is that the city is a sensory experience and this should never be overlooked when thinking about a city’s future. There is much more to explore. their metros and subways. light art and light landscape. of course. Illumination. These pages have provided a short treatment of the city’s look. can be expressed through three stages: light marketing. but there are vast differences in how it’s thought through. How can public lighting create an image for the city as well as support urban renewal? How can safety and security needs be reconciled with a desire for visual communication and delight? A new way of looking at urban lighting. but we must be careful in matters of deregulation that our cities do not lose overall control over their lighting. The research demonstrates the ability of lighting to transform our urban spaces at different levels – and to generate and communicate powerful new spatial identities within our nocturnal environments that underpin the urban regeneration process. based on a relationship between identification and regeneration on any given site. has a lightscape dominated by brand and advertising messages. For instance. is central to advertising and its flashing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself. bright visual interjections are forced upon us. smell. Above all else. touch and taste the city. We could have explored the underground world of some cities. every new public lighting scheme illuminates a complex clash of priorities and agendas. we have concentrated on the outdoor look of places when there is much to say about the indoor life of cities. The visual environment should be public property. Japan.The Sensory Landscape of Cities 75 of the changing city. especially in cold climates. Centrepoint and its environs in central London were adopted as a ‘laboratory’ from which to evolve and test out a set of generic strategies and tactics. notoriously. Nevertheless. . we see.


defecating . the images provide powerful visual testimony to our increasing dominion over the planet. even more voracious. urban dwellers exact more of the Earth’s resources than their rural counterparts. water resources shrinking. In fact. Considered ecologically. It as an overwhelming input/output machine. We will show below the implications for resources of running a London lifestyle. so shaping our mindscape.2 Even many rural existences need more than one planet. per capita. Comprised of time-series satellite images of the globe over the last few decades. deserts increasing. they show the irresistible growth of urban areas. It has invaded our landscape.3 Unhinged and Unbalanced 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. meanwhile. Six billion people living like Los Angelinos would require five planets. The Los Angeles population. Living like Dubai perhaps ten.1 Everywhere you look there is cityness. a voracious beast guzzling in. with their meat-heavy diets and car-embracing culture is. and indigenous lifestyles are in the minority in terms of being sustainable. which requires three Earths to meet its demands. there is not enough planet to support the Western lifestyle. The city is a massive logistical endeavour. these images should sound alarm bells: industrialization and agriculture sweeping over indigenous flora and fauna. Most strikingly. this will reach two-thirds of a 9 billion world population by 2050. While half of us now live in cities. While the city can signify a triumph over nature.

containers. China or Indonesia. not to mention a workforce coordinated by increasingly sophisticated and powerful logistics companies.200. glass and plastics to generate and renew their physical presence. You put the kettle on. the city consumes food and water. or 62 billion cups per year. but please bear with me. expends energy and produces waste. ‘No.78 The Art of City-Making out. lime. trains. the rest mostly from the Indian subcontinent. This is more than Ireland consumes and about the same as Portugal or Greece.103. The logistics of a cup of tea We start the day with a cup of tea. goods travel greater distances between their places of origin and consumption end points. warehouses. steel. and (5) taking the metro to work. Throwing these figures at you might give you a headache. which is 23. using a complex global distribution system of massive supertankers. They starkly raise the question. notwithstanding ecological impact. Like any living organism. A standard kilowatt kettle uses some 80 (food) calories to come to the boil. (3) having breakfast. In the following sections I have used quantitative measures to get the feel of the urban endeavour across viscerally. the irrationality of our production systems and built-in inefficiencies. ash or simply junk to be buried out of view. clothes. about the same as the potential energy stored in five teaspoons of sugar. in three to five weeks.769. airplanes. lorries. (4) putting out the rubbish.000 tonnes of oil. The UK drinks 165 million cups per day. mortar. by ship. cement. Increasingly.’ Everything we do is implicated in the consumption of resources reliant on supply chains. In a year. too. Half the tea consumed in London comes from East Africa.000 Olympic-size swimming pools. the equivalent of 13. Cities require bricks. in containers.276. exhausted and eventually expelled as carbon dioxide.400 gigawatt-hours of electricity.000 calories or 154. and Londoners drink enough tea or coffee to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools every day. ‘Can civilization continue in this way?’ And the answer is. It gets to Britain packed in either foil-lined paper sacks or tea chests. London consumes some 132. CDs. it is deliv- . cranes. It stands at the apex of the global nexus of goods distribution. televisions. (2) morning ablutions. Then manufactured goods – fridges. books. forklift trucks. In Britain. cars – are used. They reveal the folly of our lifestyles. washer-driers. Consider a morning routine: (1) having a cup of tea. pipes and wires.

compared to the average for England of 149 litres.251. Ninety-five per cent of tea is consumed in tea bags. In 2000 water consumption in London reached 866 billion litres. we use about 35 litres of water. Imports are now less. This easily makes the UK selfsufficient in milk. In Manila some 58 per cent of water is lost to leaks or illegal tappings. because of the idiosyncrasies of international trade.000. or approximately 240 Olympic swimming pools. The volume of water lost through leakages (239 billion litres or 28 per cent) was more than the total amount of water used by the commercial and industrial sectors (195 billion). over twice this amount if we have a bath. And water waste happens at the infrastructural as well as the individual level.5 In taking a 5-minute shower.000 litres of treated.1 litres of water go down the plughole. In developed countries an average of 15. Most likely. while the average African uses only 50 litres a day.6 . milk will be added – 25 per cent of the milk consumed in Britain is taken with tea. in Bombay it is 20 times as much. An American uses more than treble the amount. the UK imported 126 million litres of milk and exported 270 million litres. However.000 tonnes of milk and cream are consumed in a London year. safe drinking water is used to flush 35kg of faeces and 500 litres of urine per person per year. and packets of loose leaves or tea bags are distributed to retail shelves. and exports greater. Brushing our teeth while leaving the tap on uses 6 litres. 674. a washing machine cycle 100 litres.4 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. while a tap left dripping for a day sees 4. countries import and export the same product at the same time. In 1997. of which 50 per cent was delivered to households.Unhinged and Unbalanced 79 ered to blending and packaging centres.000 dairy cows producing 14.000 litres of milk a year. but 2002 still saw more than 70 million litres come into the country. a third of which is used flushing the toilet.3 In the UK there are 2. In Istanbul vendor water is 10 times as expensive as the public rate.071. Water gets to us through a daunting network of pipes to households and Londoners use approximately 155 litres a day each.

80 per cent is imported from outside the UK.12 The food chain. contributes at least . When eating out. which sells 85. 41 per cent more fish and 137 per cent more fruit than the British average. which is equivalent to 10. not to mention fertilizers and pesticides.000 tonnes of fish. Of the 7 million tonnes of food consumed by Londoners each year. Seventy per cent of the grain produced in the US and 40 per cent of the world’s supply is fed to livestock.5 pounds of CO2.5 pounds of methane. including agriculture. For cattle raised in feedlots. 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. The beef eaten by the average American in a year has produced the methane equivalent of 1.900.000 tonnes of food per annum. For every calorie of carrot flown from South Africa. it takes roughly 7 pounds of grain to add a pound of live weight to the animal.10 Each tonne of food in London has travelled approximately 640km. A good portion goes through Smithfield. Animal farming impacts even more. which sells 35. Nearly a quarter of all lettuces imported into the UK come from Spain. and Billingsgate.558.650.000 tonne-km of road freight was required to meet London’s food demands. For every calorie of iceberg lettuce flown in from Los Angeles we use 127 calories of fuel.11 Even though the UK is able to grow lettuces throughout the year.80 The Art of City-Making 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. Between 700 and 750 million broiler chickens (chickens bred for their meat) are reared and slaughtered each year in the UK. Therefore. we use 66 calories of fuel. a cow has produced 0.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide.7 Vast amounts of water are consumed by agriculturists and horticulturalists to keep their crops alive. Over half of the vegetables and 95 per cent of the fruit Londoners eat is imported. largely to satisfy burger demand in fastfood chains. healthy and growing.000 large (800g) loaves of bread.8 per cent of the total supply in 1987 to 47.8 To produce 1 pound of beef. Londoners consume 74 per cent more ethnic food. food travels ever greater distances to sate multicultural and metropolitan tastes. a very potent greenhouse gas.9 To get on to supermarket and shop shelves. imports increased from 21.000 tonnes of meat a year. As a nation.000. processing and transport. Londoners consume 6. 3.1 per cent in 1998.

1/66th of the distance of the meal above.691 miles by ship Runner beans from Zambia: 4912 miles by plane Carrots from Spain: 1000 miles by lorry Mangetouts from Zimbabwe: 5130 miles by plane Potatoes from Italy: 1521 miles by lorry Sprouts from Britain: 125 miles by lorry Transport of imported goods from port of entry to distribution centre: 625 miles Transport from distribution centres to supermarket: 360 miles Total: 26. In Britain the distance food is transported increased 50 per cent between 1978 and 1999. according to one estimate. metal and paper products.14 Conversely. many high-density cities in the developing world produce up to 30 per cent of food production within their city boundaries. equal to five times its spending on international aid and enough to lift 150 million people out of starvation.15 Seventeen million tonnes of food is ploughed into Britain’s landfill sites every year.000 miles if a chicken from Thailand and fresh vegetables from Africa are included in a supermarket shopping basket. could reduce the total distance to 376 miles. food is increasingly packaged using plastics.000 tonnes of packaging .Unhinged and Unbalanced 81 THE LONG-DISTANCE LUNCH A traditional Sunday lunch could easily have travelled 25. It is estimated that London households produce approximately 663. choosing seasonal products and purchasing them locally at a farmers’ market. • • • • • • • • • Chicken from Thailand: 10. A typical London household generates around 3–4kg of packaging waste per week. Rubbish Around one third of food grown for human consumption in the UK ends up in the rubbish bin and Britain throws away £20 billion worth of unused food every year.234 miles However.13 22 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. The trend for supermarkets to source food from overseas that could well be grown in the UK is the problem.16 Meanwhile. for instance.

Overall the UK recycles 23 per cent of waste.82 The Art of City-Making waste per annum. For every million tonnes of waste generated in London. the weight of a family car. perhaps thus adopting an ‘out of sight. Now Fresh Kills is permanently closed. the average Londoner throws away more than seven times their own weight in rubbish every year and a London household produces a tonne of rubbish in that time. travels approximately 760km from the French Alps to the UK.21 Ninety per cent of all of London’s landfill goes to areas outside London. 2 incinerators. 2 compost centres. Perhaps the most recognizable landfill site in the world is Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.17 For every tonne of food consumed in York. The result of almost 50 years of land filling. 23 recycling centres. a quarter of a tonne of packaging is produced. the top-selling brand.19 In total. New York. it is estimated to contain some 100 million tonnes of garbage.7 million nappies are used . 19 per cent is incinerated. some of them 300 miles away. of which 67 per cent is food packaging. Seventythree per cent of London’s waste goes to landfill.000 waste vehicle journeys are required. in the Netherlands the figure is 64 per cent and in Germany 57 per cent. A quarter of the overall waste we produce is packaging. Pennsylvania and Virginia.000 disposable nappies are buried every day in Essex landfill sites alone. Seventy per cent of this waste travels more than 120 kilometres. Over 333. New York’s rubbish is sent to landfill sites in New Jersey.20 Developed countries produce as much as up to six times the amount of waste of developing countries. this would give rise to 2260 tonnes of plastic waste. The site covers 2200 acres and mounds range in height from 90 to approximately 225 feet. English-speaking cities are almost linguistically predisposed to treat waste as a nuisance rather than a resource. primarily of household waste.18 Londoners consume approximately 94 million litres of mineral water per annum. 18 landfill sites and 2 energyfrom-waste plants. approximately 100.22 Approximately 1. out of mind’ approach to waste. London’s waste is transported to 17 main municipal solid waste transfer stations. Assuming all bottles were 2-litre. Londoners produce enough waste to fill an Olympic swimming pool every hour or to fill the Canary Wharf tower every ten days. Of the 17 million tonnes produced by the capital. and 8 per cent recycled or composted. A bottle of Evian. 45 civic amenity sites. 4.4 million is collected by councils.

Unhinged and Unbalanced 83 every day in London. 1 Muslim cemetery and 9 operational private cemeteries. 12 Jewish. In pollution hotspots like the Marylebone Road. The number of deaths in London in for the same year was 58. They buy 980 million packs a year. and spit out more than 3. Fast-food lovers.000 tonnes) of this is sewage.23 The number of live births in London in 2001 was 104. there are as many as 300. one of the hottest days of the year. On any given day. It is estimated that three-quarters of the British population chew gum regularly. there is the cosmetic matter of street cleaning.28 Four thousand London Underground carriages whiz around 408km of route (181 in tunnels). which equates to around 202 tonnes of waste per day or 74. Other affected areas include King’s Road (29 cigarettes a day) and Hammersmith Broadway (27.5 billion pieces – most of which they dispose of ‘inappropriately’. Pollution keeps the death rate up. The dead are buried in 124 municipal cemeteries. smokers and gum-chewers keep council workers employed cleaning up after them.24 London’s cemeteries are running out of burial space. including .25 Consider Kolkata. 3 Roman Catholic.000 pieces of gum stuck to Oxford Street. 1 Church of England.000. travelling at an average speed of 32km per hour. daily vehicle emissions are so concentrated that pedestrians and those with offices or homes on the roadside are exposed to the NOx equivalent of more than 30 cigarettes a day.000 tonnes per annum.3 cigarettes). Camden and Tower Hamlets will run out of space within five years. NOx levels rose to 1912 micrograms per cubic metre. This equates to a total weight of 354 tonnes (assuming the average weight of a newborn is 3. where the pollution in cigarette equivalents is over 40. 70 per cent more than in 1980.26 Disposal or reuse of waste apart. Hackney.27 Transport About a billion trips are made on the London Underground each year. Central London. or the far more polluted Chinese and Russian cities. 75 per cent (55. On the Marylebone Road on 28 July 2005. the equivalent of motorists and pedestrians breathing in four cigarettes a minute.600. This equates to a total weight of 4160 tonnes (assuming the average adult weight is 71kg). Normal daily exposure to London’s air is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes.4kg).

just under 10 per cent are of less than one mile. Of 11 million daily car journeys in London.84 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry Cars being the priority.31 In central London in 2001. only 12 per cent of people commuted by car. London has the highest concentration of cars in the UK at ten times the average – 1500 cars per km2 compared with an average of 150 cars per km2 for the regions. On the surface things move more slowly: inner London traffic speeds are between 19 and 24km per hour (9–15 km per hour in the worst areas) and 30 per cent of a typical peak-time journey is spent stationary. Men travelled 10. Local bus journeys rose in London by 25 per cent between 1991/1992 and 2001/2002 – a period that saw bus use in other British metropolitan areas decline. pedestrians have to adapt stops. 32 per cent using the Underground and 40 per cent surface rail.32 More sprawl equals more car use.29 In the major cities of the European Union the average speed is 15km per hour. Compaction and density encourages public transport use. This is no better than 200 years ago. compared to a figure of 41 per cent for the whole of the city. Seventy-two per cent of those working in central London used trains.3 .5 million passenger journeys on 600 routes around London. 6000 buses accommodate 4.30` Each weekday. The metro uses 1091 gigawatt-hours of electric power a year – less than 1 per cent of the total for London.

37 In 1950 there were an estimated 70 million cars.000. Add to this the time spent earning the money to pay for it. parking it and searching for it. given limited space resources. congestion costs 130 billion euros annually and the total external costs of motorized road traffic are estimated at 270 billion euros per year – around 4 per cent of Europe’s gross national product.1 miles). tolls. By 2025 the figure is expected to pass 1 billion. and more congestion. the typical American male devotes more than 1600 hours a year to his car.Unhinged and Unbalanced 85 miles to work on average in Britain in 1999/2001. Calculating all associated car activities into time. Londoners spend nine days a year just sitting in a car and just three days walking. On the other. This means more traffic delays. On the one hand – and in keeping with expectations of urban sprawl – people are travelling further to work.34 Two contrary trends are occurring in London with regards to transport. trucks and buses on the world’s roads. it is the equivalent of back-to-back vehicles stretching on a 1000-lane highway from London to Rome. a 250-lane .38 When you average the space taken up by small cars and trucks and buses this equates to about 9500km2.33 In the EU as a whole between 1975 and 1995 the daily distance travelled per person doubled and a further doubling of traffic is predicted by 2025. sitting in it while it’s moving or stands idling. On average.2 per cent of his time. The movement of freight (measured in tonne kilometres) increased by 42 per cent between 1980 and 2002 and the length of haul of goods moved by road increased by over 40 per cent between 1990 and 2002. Towards the end of the century there were between 600 and 700 million. to meet the monthly instalments.5 miles in 1999/2001 as cities spread their tentacles outwards. taxes and tickets and you arrive at a figure of 66 days or 18. Around 15 million vehicles are sold every year in Western Europe alone. and to pay for petrol.2 miles in 1989/1991 to 8. and it costs Britain around £20 billion per year. The British annual motor vehicle increase is running at 800. This is as if just under half the size of Wales were a car park. with fewer people commuting by car and more trips taken on local buses. London’s congestion charge for motor vehicles travelling in central districts has encouraged overland public transport. 70 per cent further than women (6. insurance. The average distance between home and work in Britain increased by 17 per cent over ten years from 7.35 For the EU as a whole.36 London drivers spend 50 per cent of their time in queues. Put another way.

A double-decker bus takes up to a seventh of the road space of the equivalent number of cars.8 million tonnes were consumed by the construction sector. substance. Cement manufacturing accounts for approximately 7–8 per cent of CO2 globally. process heat and transport (the energy equivalent to 131 m3 of natural gas). a mixture of nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide that contributes to ground-level smog. One third of this was produced in China alone. Cement is a noxious. Buses. asphalt and steel In 2000 Londoners consumed 49 million tonnes of materials – 6.43 The . Each tonne requires about two tonnes of raw material (limestone and shale).40 But over the past 20 years the overall cost of motoring has in real terms remained at or below the 1980 level while bus fares have risen by 31 per cent and rail fares by 37 per cent. A two-lane road can only handle 3000 to 6000 people an hour in each direction. a 120-lane highway stretching from London to Sydney.4 million by households.42 And global demand is expected to double within the next 30 years.86 The Art of City-Making highway from New York to Moscow. or a single lane stretching 1.7 tonnes per person. produces its equivalent weight in CO2. an airborne particulate matter that is harmful to the respiratory tract when inhaled. Some 27. about 3kg of NOx.9 million by commerce and industry and 3. and about 0.000 people per hour in each direction. or even obnoxious. five times the distance to the moon. Cars need as much road space as five to eight bicycles and as much parking space as 20 bicycles. A double-decker bus carries the same number of people as 20 fully laden cars. steel. In 2000 1.4 kg of PM10. coaches and trains in Britain are seven times safer than cars in terms of fatalities per passenger kilometre.56 billion tonnes of Portland cement was manufactured globally. And cement is a key component.39 A double-track urban railway can move 30. out of which 26 million tonnes of waste was generated: 15 million by the construction and demolition sectors. Buildings consume some 40 per cent of materials in the global community. including wood.41 Materials: Cement. Yet twice as much concrete is used in construction around the world than the total of all other building materials.9 million km into space. 7. plastic and aluminium. consumes about 4 gigajoules of energy in electricity.

highways and parking lots for automobiles. enough concrete to build an eight-lane.000 hectare area.000 miles of plumbing and stairways totalling 2232 steps.75 times.000 tonnes of steel – 4500 elephant equivalents – and 10 million bricks. asphalt.8 billion a year. there are 3. which is the equivalent of a massive block 1000m long. an area the size of a football field is covered with asphalt.000 miles of telephone cable. but Munich. 2000 miles of electrical wire. on a clear day. close to two-thirds in the case of Los Angeles.50 A threebedroom detached house requires about 10.46 Metropolitan Tokyo is 82 per cent covered with asphalt or concrete.45 Of London’s 175. and pavement – with 30 per cent of London’s area dedicated to parkland. land is not easily reclaimed. enough telephone wiring to wrap around the world 1.910 tonnes of steel to build the Petronas Towers. ‘Asphalt is the land’s last crop. 25. Indiana. 1000m wide and 3824m high. enough to circle the Earth at the equator 157 times.000 square miles of land have been paved in the lower 48 states to accommodate America’s 214 million cars. 15 per cent asphalt and 16 per cent built area. At 1454 feet tall (110 storeys). has only 4 per cent pavement. against 59 per cent vegetation and 6 per cent bare soils.5 per cent of the total land surface – an area more than the size of Georgia. five-mile-long highway.’48 In 1973 the tallest building in the US opened its doors. far. Wisconsin and Michigan.44 This amounts to 2. The building contains enough steel to build 50.49 It took 36. Not many cities calculate their asphalt. one of the more environmental cities in Europe.Unhinged and Unbalanced 87 annual global production of concrete is about 5 billion cubic yards. in that area alone. which if lined up end to end would reach to the moon and back. From the Skydeck. far more if you consider car parks and other areas.’ as environmentalist Rupert Cutler once noted. The Empire State Building contains 60. For every five cars added to the US fleet. Total brick production in UK is 2. it contains more than 43.47 An area the size of Leicestershire is now taken up by roads in the UK. Close to half of the land area in most US cities goes to providing roads.51 . a bit higher than Mount Fuji in Japan (3776m). with an additional fifth as much land given over to parking. More than 65. 62 per cent is urban – buildings. you can see four states – Illinois.9 million miles of roads. ‘Once paved. the Sears Tower took three years to build at a cost of more than US$150 million.000 cars.000 facing bricks.

In 2001. The port infrastructures of Hong Kong or Rotterdam are small cities in themselves.g. the individual) and have been made for the world as a whole. Unfortunately. we used 1.88 The Art of City-Making The ecological footprint The ecological footprint is a concept used to calculate the area of land required to meet consumption and waste demands. But since they are usually cut off behind fencing and customs barriers. making comparisons between cities very difficult: estimates of London’s ecological footprint range from 125 to 293 times the size of London itself. the footprint of London (and that of most cities) extends well beyond its geographical area. Europe’s ecological footprint represents an area more than twice the size of the continent. forestry required to absorb carbon dioxide emissions and land used for waste disposal are taken into account. there are wide discrepancies in methodologies. as a planet. thousands of kilometres of pipeline carrying oil and gas. However. we consume more than the Earth can sustain. we . For example. suffice it to say that even at lower estimates. for individual nations and for towns and cities.53 URBAN LOGISTICS Putting food on supermarket shelves or supplying the high street with clothes and other consumer durables is no small feat. As well as land and bodies of water required for food. Agriculture is configured in such a way. One would expect an area of dense population to exact disproportionate demands on the planet in terms of area and less peopled regions produce food for ones more so. we often overlook them. problems become clear when we look at consumption on a wider scale. That cities’ footprints are far greater than the cities themselves is neither surprising nor necessarily problematic. Since the early 1980s. Calculations can be made for any unit of consumption (e. Sating the demands of a city like London requires the movement of huge ships filled with oil or piled high with minerals or Lego-like containers.52 Nevertheless. The guzzling city presents titanic and complex organizational challenges. and just-in-time meetings of different transport modes. (Americans’ needs per capita are nearly twice those of Europeans). we have been living in ‘ecological deficit’. And. Equally.2 times the biocapacity of the Earth.

postal companies.56 This includes a wide variety of jobs. freight forwarders. however.7 million people in the UK and. airlines. The newest . All this may sound dry. but its resilience is far lower than we think. movement and storage of materials. Wincanton. computer systems and software on the other. but few of us have much of a grasp of what they are doing. Logistics is big business. employing 1.55 The global logistics industry is worth US$3. It contributes 15–20 per cent of total product costs. and packaging and distribution companies. there are a number of different players in the supply chain whose activities have to be coordinated: road haulers. although often neglected. It involves the process of strategically and profitably managing the procurement. allowing suppliers and importers to locate their shipment at any one time. When it works it has the grace of the well-oiled machine. City logistics require an intensely complex coordination of tangible and less visible things – trucks. The sector currently spans some 63.000 companies. cargo securing and protection to customs brokerage.57 Significantly. its fragility exposed in a computer shutdown or traffic crisis. but logistics constitutes the respiratory and digestive systems that make cities work. rail operators. Logistics is the art and science of coordinating the myriad movements of goods and information within and between nations. distribution and the associated IT connected to these activities. and historically. And it is a fast growing business. Food imports and exports have tripled over 20 years in the UK. without them cities fall apart. New software and satellite technology tracks inventory and movement.54 The size of the US logistics industry is US$900 billion – almost double the size of the high-tech industry. or more than 10 per cent of US gross domestic product. is one of the largest employment sectors in the economy. Theoretically.Unhinged and Unbalanced 89 see trucks on motorways with names like Maersk Sealand or CN. recent years have seen the emergence of third party logistics companies (3PLs) who are solely concerned with organizing these movements. parts and finished inventory (and the related information flows). The logistics sector is worth £55 billion to the UK economy alone. Increasingly. and Tibbet & Britten – offer solutions over a range of sectors. warehousing companies. sophisticated one-stop companies – 3PLs with unfamiliar names like Christian Salvesen.43 trillion. warehousing. shipping companies. from vehicle tracking. planes and ships on the one hand.

Rotterdam’s Europort stretches 40km and covers 10. Container traffic breaks down globally thus: the Far East 45 per cent.. Central and South America 4 per cent and Africa 3 per cent. a little over 8 feet high. Dry bulk goods – coal. which is now being standardized at a global level. has 60. The port is now expanding by claiming land from the sea. One TEU can carry 2200 VCRs or 5000 pairs of shoes. Rotterdam. One twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) equals about 12 register tonnes or 34m3. 57 per cent of the total. . phosphate – make up 23 per cent and general cargo accounts for the remaining 32 per cent. Port infrastructures can be massive. usually. Some are 40 feet long. World port traffic surpassed 5 billion tonnes in 1998 and it is estimated that by 2010 world seaborne freight will approach 7 billion tonnes. Cosco (China Ocean Shipping) from Beijing. Evergreen from Taiwan. by far the largest). There are some 2000 ports worldwide. Mediterranean Shipping Co. treble the container traffic in 1990.9 million TEU containers in the world. the Near and Middle East 6 per cent.58 Forty-five per cent of sea freight is liquid.500 hectares (industrial sites plus water). In 2005 the equivalent of 8 million 20-foot containers passed through Rotterdam. Houston. For example.90 The Art of City-Making trend is radio frequency identification (RFID). Chinese ports will handle about 4 billion tonnes of freight throughput. iron ore. You can recognize the containers in any port: Maersk Line (with 18 per cent of world trade. There are estimated to be 15. Hamburg and the ports around Tokyo Bay. Movements of empty containers are estimated to make up about 20 per cent of the total. Fewer and fewer ports handle the lion’s share of world traffic: the top ten container ports handle close to 40 per cent of world traffic today. from single-berth operations handling a few hundred tonnes a year to multipurpose facilities handling up to 300 million tonnes a year. Hong Kong. Singapore. Freight containers are typically 20 feet long.600 people in directly port-related employment and handles some 1 million tonnes of goods every day. North America 16 per cent. 8 feet wide.3 million TEUs. and. Sea ports are the main hubs of global freight distribution. The transportation of general cargo has become increasingly containerized. Thus more goods are moving around faster. In 2003 sea port container traffic was 266. Europe 23 per cent. New York. Hanjin from Seoul and NYK Line from Tokyo. Of this. allowing companies to tag all their goods to provide uninterrupted tracking of goods in transit. The largest include Shanghai. grain.

13 storeys high and 10 containers wide. They include 5500 crude oil tankers and oil product tankers.000 tonne cargo capacity.60 At the same time. wealth differentials are getting more extreme. this thesis has not been able to withstand geopolitical – Balkanization. 2600 container ships. Capitalist ideologies assume inexhaustible resources which just aren’t there.Unhinged and Unbalanced 91 Ports handle about 26. by the end of the 1970s it had risen to about one planet. In the 1960s the world’s ecological footprint was below the planet’s biocapacity. 69. a typical family car engine generates around 90kW (120hp). decivilization already begun? In 1992 Francis Fukuyama buoyantly declared in his book The End of History and the Last Man that the end of the Cold War meant the end of the progression of human history with Western liberal democracy as the triumphant. We have now been living in ecological deficit for two decades. One of the largest. the OOCL Shenzhen. or . over 300m long. Such trends gloomily raise the question. 60m high. it is driven by a single 12-cylinder.500 ships of over 500 gross tonnage criss-crossing the seas. can carry up to 100. Global inequality is worse than it has ever been.500 general cargo ships sailing around the world. with 16 storeys. On the drawing board is the MalaccaMax ship. our per capita consumptive demands on the planet are also growing fast. 4900 bulk carriers carrying loads such as grains.000 tonnes of cargo.000 container capacity and a 200. and the rate is around 10 tonnes. as we have seen. The largest ports handle the super-sized ships.120bhp) engine which turns an 85 tonne propeller. indeed. over 2000 chemical tankers and around 11. an 18. The global economy cannot. By the end of the millennium our footprint had reached 1. 470m long.2 planets. 776 times less.59 Has decivilization started? We live in awkward times. where it stayed until about 1983. that can carry up to 9000 20foot containers. Islamic fundamentalism – and environmental objections. Fuel consumption is measured in tonnes of fuel consumed per hour. However. Between now and 2050 world population is expected to grow by 50 per cent and.439kW (93. final form of human government and liberal economics as the ultimately prevailing mode of production. which between them can carry 175 million tonnes of oil. By way of comparison. Has modernity failed us? Has.

92 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry The basic infrastructures of life simply do not exist in many places across the world – such as Shkodra. Albania (above) .

We can take extremes of suffering and well-being as a given. We cannot rely on the market to respond appropriately to environmental. street children. The creativity needed has different qualities. hopelessness. grinding poverty. Columbia’s murder rate is 100 times that of Copenhagen. people-trafficking. This is not to make an ideological point. having more means someone else having less). And change will be traumatic. Extreme economic crisis has historically precipitated extreme ideologies. as it should be. And let’s not forget Grozny or Baghdad. it is safe to say that civilization will not survive in its present form. child prostitution. ideologies will of course change. continue in its present form. Good ideas are . petty crime. we do not have an infinite supply of metal.Unhinged and Unbalanced 93 plain won’t. Too often. The cult of individualism may wane when we realize in full how dependent our individual existences are on others (since we are all in effect sharing the same pie. There’s just not enough planet to maintain culture as we now know it. Our addiction to the automobile will have to be addressed because even if or when sustainable energy sources arrive on a widespread. Water will become. Gloom is fairly unavoidable when you dwell on these thoughts. AIDS and the fear induced by local gangs characterize the urban experience. drug dealing. and trying to empathize with the city’s most afflicted hurts in the gut. THE GEOGRAPHY OF MISERY Light and shade accompany the urban story. global scale. and crime and violence is a far more creative act. But misery is exactly where the greater focus of creativity should be. thwarted ambition. Tastes will change as we readjust to agricultures and industries closer to home. Finding imaginative solutions to day-to-day needs. social and cultural costs are not factored into economic calculations. human distress. Forget for the moment the more attractive glamour of new media industries or the latest icon building in a city centre. Given this material backdrop. and in some places it is the dark that dominates. Barring manna from heaven or an extraordinary scientific discovery. Perhaps the current rhetoric of rational economic man will be seen retrospectively as rather mad. precious. social and cultural crises in time because environmental.

no-go areas. the surprise new mayor of shockingly polluted Norilsk. there are wonderful people battling against the odds. negotiation. filthy streets. in conjunction with Save the Children. which can manifest themselves in advertising clutter or homogenized shopping malls respectively. everyday miseries of redundancy. desire or mere blandness can pervade the way a city looks and feels. Or consider the reaction ‘without precedent in Japanese society’61 to the Kobe earthquake of 1995. has developed to provide circus training as an alternative to education for the street children who lived in the sewers and heating pipes beneath the streets of Ulan Bator. In each of the cities mentioned in the pages that follow. As we survey misery. which killed 6279 people. While sometimes grim. and in addition to its shelters. who is trying to force the local mining company into safer practices. Consider Viktor Melnikov. these narratives are intended to emphasize hope rather than despair. if probably not close to. Further. most search and rescue was undertaken by community residents. for instance. the skill of mediation. However. Spontaneous volunteering and emergent group activity were widespread throughout the emergency period. consider the NGO Viva Rio’s campaign ‘Choose Gun Free! It’s Your Weapon or Me’. where women are taking the lead in reducing debilitating levels of gun violence in the favelas. those that live there can still harbour a love. dialogue and even love. Although volunteerism is not nearly as widespread in Japan as in Europe or North America. Endemic misery among an urban population.94 The Art of City-Making interwoven with courage. will impact on the subjective experience of a visitor to their city. This chapter and the two that follow approach the concept of geography in terms of the way feelings and experiences are distributed over physical space. And the same applies to desire and blandness. But misery may also be reflected in the physical structure of the city: crumbling buildings. these chapters explore how misery. I concentrate here on extremes of misery to illustrate more starkly how creativity can be brought to bear on problems we are all too aware of. public spaces no longer tended by a local authority. Misery exists everywhere. not being able to make ends meet or the alienation that dense but fragmented communities can induce. Residents provided a wide range of goods and services to their fellow earthquake victims. even in our most affluent cities – mundane. Consider the project that Cirque du Soleil. and large numbers of . Even for a city in acute distress.

Building cities is a construction game. where older . gambling. extorting shopkeepers and taking a cut on any economic activity.Unhinged and Unbalanced 95 people travelled from other parts of the country to offer aid. This is why Rico Cassone. Organized crime and the rule of fear For centuries now the Italian Mafia has distorted and impoverished the South Italian economy. The yakuza in Japan. showing that Japan’s mobsters stood to make about US$9 billion just in the reconstruction needed after the major earthquake hit the port city of Kobe in 1995. The three largest groups are the Kobe-based Yamaguchigumi and the Sumiyoshi-Rengo-kai and Inagawa-kai. Even today it seems it takes a cut on any big construction project. It reminds us what the challenge is to creativity: to build civility. so Mafia involvement in Southern Italian city-making will continue ad nauseam. resigned – he received the classic Mafia threat of five bullets through the post. Organized crime is expected to profit hugely from the bridge’s construction. A reminder of urban difficulties challenges us to imagine deep down what it is really like to live in such places. the mayor of Villa San Giovanni who opposed building the Messina Bridge to connect Sicily to the mainland.62 To focus on misery can depress. It is evident also in places like Moscow. to generate jobs. But their tentacles go much further. are far more than gangs of thugs that oversee extortion. yet it provides a broad and rich context in which to imagine positive. and to create cities that can do more than just serve basic needs. original alternatives. Officially designated rescue agencies such as fire departments and civil defence forces were responsible for recovering at most one quarter of those trapped in collapsed structures. a civic culture and some sense of fairness. to curtail the corrupt.826 members and 737 affiliated groups in the late 1990s. Macau and the wider diaspora.63 In 1998 the South China Morning Post reported Japanese police data on mob involvement in the nation’s construction industry. both headquartered in Tokyo. They have bought up real estate and have their tentacles in some 900 construction-related firms. like other mobster groups. The same story is repeated with the Chinese triads in Taiwan. prostitution and other traditional gangster activities. There was not a single authenticated case of looting. The National Police Agency indicated that the Yamaguchi-gumi had 20.

For instance. big-busted girls. say. Luiz Fernando da Costa. with anybody of their own age across the ‘peace line’ and religious divide. whose population exceeds a couple of million people. which is located in a Protestant street. better known as Fernandinho Beira Mar. Copacabana beach and the Sugarloaf.96 The Art of City-Making tenants are brutalized out of their cheap communist tenancies in desirable areas to make way for new construction and where listed buildings are burnt down to enable new building at higher plot ratios. Drug organizations like Red Command control most of the city’s 26 sprawling shanty towns or favelas. fell silent. dance. normally chaotic. Think of Belfast. The link between economic well-being and prejudice is clear. Ernaldo Pinto de Medeiros. has been in a top-security prison since 2001. Like a poison. where a number of the ‘freedom fighters’ on both sides of the religious divide – Catholic and Protestant – now hold whole communities to ransom as they slide into drug dealing. sport or family. Most 18-year-olds in Ardoyne have never in their life had a meaningful conversation. In 2002 he managed to torture. Prison staff are threatened if they do not accept bribes. Armed supporters of one of Mar’s victims. four out of every five Protestant residents will not use the nearest shops because they are located in Catholic streets. gyrating. But any party atmosphere is severely compromised by the threat of gangs. Virtually all the most deprived areas are highly segregated and have the most significant levels of sectarian violence. . He is reputed to have negotiated arms deals on his mobile phone there. To murder his opponents he needed the connivance of prison staff to be able to move through six sets of iron gates.64 The connection between segregation and deprivation is startling. in the Ardoyne district of Belfast. Rio. The repercussions reached Rio. and a similar proportion of Catholics will not swim in their nearest swimming pool.65 Rio conjures up a particularly powerful resonance: carnival. moved slowly from street to street ordering shops to close and schools to send their children home as a mark of respect. And the US mafia’s historic involvement in construction is well documented. The leader of the Red Command drug organization. racketeering and violence under the guise of protecting their communities. but he still exerts power. Think too of the apartheid on the ground that still continues in spite of efforts towards peace. about. murder and burn four of his enemies. it leaches into the daily fabric of life.

Unhinged and Unbalanced 97 Rio’s largest favela.000. the highest in the US. when the murder rate was 118. Yet Rio is a major transit point for Colombian cocaine on its way to Europe and represents a big market itself for the drug. The 2002 film City of God shone a spotlight on favelas. and three-quarters of residents now have access to electricity. often on organized tours. and despair in a Rio de Janeiro slum. topographical complexity and social structures of Rio’s favelas mean that police are reluctant to intervene unless serious violence or drug-trafficking has been detected. has a murder rate of 79 per 100. Overall the murder rate in metro Rio is declining. Higher up the hill. lie parts of Rocinha that are largely controlled by drug lords. Dominated by drug gangs fighting for turf. in a community that is both socially and spatially segmented.000 inhabitants per annum. prone to landslides as it clings to the hillside above high-class beachside areas which provide easy access employment for residents. In 1995. with a population of 120. pitched battles between the police and drug lords have drawn attention to its underlying social problems and the challenges that still lie ahead for city planners. In Rio they speak of the ‘parallel power’ that traffickers exert while enriching themselves. it is a hollowed out.’ read a headline earlier this year. chronicling the cycle of poverty. But it is not only murder that shifts perceptions. Gary. Rocinha. violence. But lower down there is a structure of local government and the community has developed services for itself. Despite a more violent past. On . Rocinha is in fact the largest favela in South America. down from 78 in 1994. desolated place and has been so for a couple of decades. However. such as crèches. The drug dealing is seductive – you can triple your money turning cocaine into crack and if you are very lucky move on when you have some money. with some 127. although in some favelas like Baixada Fluminense the murder rate is still 76. It is now 50 per 100. it is now relatively peaceful – thousands of tourists even visit each year.000 residents. But most end up dead or in prison. is often held up as an example of a greatly improved area of squatter housing. or even of a ‘parallel state’. not the city authorities.66 The road that links Rio’s international airport to the glitzy South Zone has become notorious in recent years for carjackings and shootings. Indiana. the state governor ordered in the state troopers amid great fanfare.000. ‘Gunmen rob British coach party in Rio – Raiders storm airport bus carrying 33 elderly British tourists – cameras and jewellery worth thousands snatched. The sheer size.

3. Behind these murders lie untold stories of violence. with New Orleans on 53. according to the US State Department. People-trafficking and the sex trade After drugs and arms trading.000 people. it became a wretched black ghetto.3. with its dramatic reduction in crime. Immediately off the main roads there is no street lighting and you are enveloped in gloom.8 and New York. I witnessed for myself several instances in Iasi in Romania on the Moldavian border and then in Moldova’s capital Kishinev: burly. the target of the traffickers.80 and Vancouver on 3. unpleasantness. In the evening. clubs and shrill advertising. Many come from Eastern Europe but others increasingly from places like Thailand.000 to the UK. you see hoards of scantily dressed young women.45. The main thoroughfares have some faded class and a mix of garish bars. blurry-eyed men in their 40s shacked up in hotels with waif-like 18-year-olds waiting to be transported on. It is estimated that only 19 per cent of prostitutes in . The London Metropolitan Police estimate some are forced to see between 30 and 40 clients per day. on 7. Washington on 45. a dozen years after the mills began to shrink from employing 30. the £4 billion global sex trade business comes in third in illegal trade. An estimated 600. Nigeria and Sierra Leone. But murder rates are only one indication of urban distress.000 people are trafficked in this way per annum.98 The Art of City-Making national TV he ordered them to go to war on Gary’s gangs.000–800.000 workers in the 1970s. Often they are sold on to work as prostitutes who can make several thousand pounds a week for their pimps and are effectively imprisoned in our major cities.6 per 100. Toronto on 1. The European Parliament estimates that around 4000 women a year are trafficked to Denmark and over 10. During their three-month stay the murder rate went down by 40 per cent only to go back up again when they left. The troopers set up roadblocks in the most dangerous neighbourhoods. Contrast this with two of the most multicultural cities in the world. paranoia and fear. One may note that the average murder rate in the US is 5. The story of Gary’s descent into violence is an extreme version of one played out in many American cities where ‘white flight’ is followed by ‘urban blight’. Today employment hovers at around 5000. Once a racially mixed steel town. The contrasts in Kishinev are stark.

Unhinged and Unbalanced 99 London are British: 25 per cent are Eastern Europeans and 13 per cent are of Southeast Asian origin. Pattya, 100 miles east of Bangkok, where the streets are lined with go-go bars and where English-style pubs display signs declaring ‘lager louts welcome’, teems with prostitutes. Of the 200,000 inhabitants, it is estimated that 100,000 have some kind of connection to sex tourism. Pattya’s population virtually doubles during the winter months, when affluent European and American tourists – many of them well past middle age – flee the cold of their own countries to seek the warm weather and sensual pleasures of Pattya. Three decades ago, Pattya was an obscure fishing village. With the advent of the Vietnam War, it became a popular recreation resort for American marines based at nearby Sattaship; their weekend escapades sowed the seeds of the sex industry. From that beginning, prostitution spread like wildfire. Because of the enormous financial success of sex tourism, thousands of young women and girls barely into their teens come from the impoverished villages of northern Thailand to seek the easy money. Even women and girls from neighbouring Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam are brought to work in the sex shops. And lurking behind the lure of pleasure lies endless violence. Cambodia has become a favoured destination for paedophiles since Thailand, previously the most notorious centre of under-age sex, began a crackdown on child prostitution two years ago. The paedophiles come from America, Canada, Australia, Holland and Germany, as well as Britain. Svay Pak, the infamous brothel area 11km north of central Phnom Penh, is the epicentre. ‘Out here you can get anything, you do what the fuck you like, girl, boy, twoyear-old baby, whatever you want. Nobody cares.’67 And Pattya and Svay Pak are just at the apex of many more towns and cities across the region that rely on sex and have lost their dignity.

The human cost of change
Over the South China Sea to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. No other country has been wrenched into the modern world with such brutal swiftness, and it is now on the brink of social and economic meltdown. For two years running it came out worst in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rankings of 130 cities, behind the likes of Lagos, Algiers and Karachi.68 Crime is extremely high, armed hold-ups perpetuated by raskols are

100 The Art of City-Making common, and expatriates and middle-class locals live behind high walls and coils of razor wire. Yet grass-roots crime may simply reflect the corruption of authority: ‘Raskols mimic political leaders’ corrupt behaviour at the street level, enriching themselves through theft and operating with relative impunity. When criminals and corrupt politicians go unpunished, people lose respect for state laws and the authority of central government collapses.’69 Back North. While admiring the amazing growth and sparkle of the new China, let us not forget the grim cost of China’s economic miracle, even though in comparison with other recently developing countries in the region, this immense logistical challenge has been managed with some sense of planning and order. There are only a few slums, a significant achievement given that this is the biggest mass migration in the history of the world, with rural people move into cities creating a second industrial revolution. A massive building boom, unparalleled anywhere, is taking place. In 2003 half of the concrete used in construction around the world was used in China’s cities. In 1950, 72 million Chinese lived in cities; in 1997 the figure was 370 million and by 2020 it is predicted to be 800 million, perhaps 950 million by 2030. The extreme example is Shenzhen, constructed at breakneck speed by ‘architects on acid’.70 In the 1970s it was a fishing village. Then the government established a special economic zone there and the growth was non-stop. Recent government estimates put the population at 10 million, well above the 7 million counted in the 2000 census. We hear little about the industrial and construction accidents of this expansion. Official estimates are that 11,000 are killed every year, but it is privately acknowledged to be more than 20,000 a year.71 China competes on price in the global market and safety measures add costs to the bottom line. This speed of development means safety standards do not catch up and compensation is so low there is little incentive for operators to ensure safety. Furthermore, in spite of increased awareness of pollution, the environmental crisis appears in danger of getting out of control. China’s spectacular economic growth over the past two decades has dramatically depleted the country’s natural resources and produced skyrocketing rates of pollution. Environmental degradation has also contributed to significant public health problems, mass migration, economic loss and social unrest. ‘The result is a patchwork of environmental protection in which a few wealthy regions with strong leaders and international ties improve their

Unhinged and Unbalanced 101 local conditions, while most of the country continues to deteriorate.’ Elizabeth C. Economy documents in a gripping way the severely degraded environment where ‘rivers run black, deserts advance from the north and smoky haze covers the country’.72 Imagine, after a hard day’s work, being cocooned in small apartments in endlessly similar 25-storey blocks in ever-burgeoning cities. Think of the social life, leisure, shopping. And yet ‘It is better living here than living in my home village in Anhui,’ comments a Beijing resident.73

Grinding poverty and stolen childhood
The suffocation, by surveillance, shadowing, wiretapping and mail interception, is total. Most patients in hospitals suffer from psychosomatic illnesses, worn out by compulsory drills, innumerable parades, ‘patriotic’ assemblies at six in the morning and droning propaganda. They are toil-worn, prostrate, at the end of their tether. Clinical depression is rampant. Alcoholism is common because of mind-numbing rigidities, regimentation and hopelessness. In patients’ eyes I saw no life, only lassitude and a constant fear.74 North Korea represents a ‘prison state’ where criticism of the state constitutes treason. Pyongyang recoils from outside intervention, but recent appeals for aid reveal the desperation of a people shut off from the rest of the world. In fact, in relative terms, the capital is a better place to live than the countryside and its residents would find the idea of Western middle classes wanting to move out of the city quite bizarre. Pyongyang’s restaurants and nightclubs contrast absolutely with rural North Korea, where citizens face crippling poverty, with starvation particularly rampant among children. But repression also takes its toll on childhood: Children have had the creativity and spontaneity of childhood taken away from them. The unquestioning following of the instructions and behaviour of adults suggest that the children are aware of the consequences of misbehaviour in adulthood and don’t wish to dabble in it. There is a sense of defeat about children’s behaviour – that they are subconsciously aware of the intransigence of the status quo and have decided to meekly accept it.75

102 The Art of City-Making Meanwhile, in Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator, where temperatures can fall as low as -52°C in winter, more than 3000 children live on the streets. Many shelter in the sewers for warmth, refuge and to escape violence in the city. The collapse of communism saw most factories shutting down, leaving thousands unemployed. The result was escalating crime, domestic violence and alcoholism. This poverty forced children out of their homes and now they beg, steal and wander the ice-covered streets.76

Let’s explore some of Russia’s (and the world’s) most polluted cities, such as Norilsk, 2875km east of Moscow, in Siberia, at the edge of the Arctic circle, where the temperatures can drop to -60°C in winter, Dzerzhinsk about 380km further east, or Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula. In Norilsk the snow turns black, and is discoloured yellow across a 30km radius, and the air tastes sour from sulphurous fumes. It is a closed city, but one which my Comedia colleague Phil Wood had the pleasure to visit. Like 90 other towns and cities, it is normally off-limits to foreigners. The authorities say that this restriction is to protect Norilsk from Azerbaijani traders flocking to this economic zone. Others argue it has more to do with hiding highly unpleasant facts. A former Soviet penal colony, safety was never a concern. Norilsk, with a population of 230,000, is home to the world’s biggest nickel mine and known for industrial pollution so severe it drifts over to Canada. Evidence of Norilsk’s activities has also been found on polar ice. The city itself is a paradise compared to what goes on in the plants, where workers wear respirators as fumes giddy the senses and where ‘workers’ lives have, over several decades, been remorselessly put upon the sacrificial block’.77 Chimney stacks to the south, east, north and west mean the city is hit by pollution whatever way the wind blows. The appalling conditions mean the average life expectancy is ten years below the Russian average and the men in the mines live barely beyond 50. Norilsk produces 14.5 per cent of all factory pollution in Russia,78 an astonishing fact given Russia’s poor pollution record. Each day the stacks blurt out 5000 tonnes of sulphur dioxides into the sky. The lure, however, is the high wages.

Unhinged and Unbalanced 103

Source: Charles Landry

One of around 600,000 bunkers in Albania: these are often in the most unlikely urban settings, built under Enver Hoxha’s leadership to control the population

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 the nephew of Ndoc Cefa, a famous Albanian theatre director, assassinated another Albanian in London. While the assassin is locked up in a psychiatric hospital in Albania, the blood feud must continue and all males of the Cefa family in the Shkodra area are targets. Their houses are their prisons. Consider the wall separating Israel from the West Bank and partly running through Palestinian territory. It was built to prevent Palestinian would-be suicide bombers from entering Israel. It is part wall, part fence, and most of its 670km length has a concrete base

104 The Art of City-Making and a 5m-high wire-and-mesh superstructure. Rolls of razor wire and a 4m-deep ditch are placed on one side. In addition, the structure is fitted with electronic sensors and it has an earth-covered ‘trace road’ beside it where footprints of anyone crossing can be seen. Parts of the structure consist of an 8m-high solid concrete wall, complete with massive watchtowers. Many towns are cut off or cut up by the wall. Imagine living in Qalqilya, where the wall surrounds the town almost completely. Residents are imprisoned, cut off from neighbouring Palestinian villages and the rest of the West Bank. Palestinian property within 35m of the wall, including homes, farms, agricultural land, greenhouses and water wells, has been destroyed by the Israeli army. Four entrances to the town have been blocked, while the only remaining entrance is a military roadblock. It denies locals the means to livelihood and access to natural resources. Qalqilya was once known as the West Bank’s bread basket, but nearly 50 per cent of the city’s agricultural land has been confiscated, as have 19 wells, representing 30 per cent of the city’s water supply, forcing residents to migrate to sustain a livelihood.79 Border towns, especially between countries where wealth differentials are great, can also be problematic. Cuidad Juarez in Mexico and El Paso, Texas effectively constitute one city but they are separated by the Rio Grande River and the border. More than 320 women have been murdered in Juarez since 1993. Of these deaths, approximately 100 have been sexual-torture killings of young women aged between 12 and 19. Several hundred women are missing and unaccounted for. Nobody takes responsibility for solving the cases and corrupt police are in cahoots with the public prosecutor’s office. The powerful drug cartels and outdated laws have allowed the perpetrators to go free. Since 1995 police have jailed more than a dozen killers but the murder spree continues and has now attracted global attention, with Amnesty International at the campaigning forefront.

Tourism and its discontents
What about the gleaming tourist spots of Faliraki, Goa or Ibiza? Thousands of places worldwide are caught up in the tourism maelstrom, and, while it has clearly done much for many places, it also has its flip side: the effect on local identity, ecological despoliation, overdevelopment and more. Fuelled by cheap airlines, charter

Unhinged and Unbalanced 105 flights and media attention, Faliraki, the once sleepy fishing village on Rhodes, became a ‘modern-day Sodom’, according to some, after a TV series called Club Reps, which followed the activities of holidaymakers and reps. It rapidly became a destination for British youngsters and developed into a place of binge drinking orgies, fighting, vomiting and casual sex, encouraged, it must be said, by local bar owners. In 2004 it had clubs with names like Sinners, Excite, Bed, Climax and The Pleasure Rooms. Then the authorities clamped down after a fatal stabbing of a British boy in a drunken brawl and introduced a zero tolerance policy. Quickly the action moved on to Zakynthos. Once exclusive, for the moment it enjoys the dubious reputation of being the party haven of Europe. But in the evening a darker side quickly emerges. Barely dressed girls weave their way drunkenly between guys whose strut has been reduced to an alcoholic crawl. Flashes of violence and casual sex skirt the streets and rape is then never far away. Goa, once a dope-filled, peace-loving haven, has long lost its innocent, fun-loving reputation, blown away by a spate of drug deaths as the hippie paradise is taken over by British traffickers. Ibiza, once a Spanish idyll, is now another party haven invaded by unshackled tourists. The club names are again appropriate: Amnesia, Eden, El Divino.

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 recentring 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 North Africa. Despite the republican French ideal of equality, they do not feel treated and respected as French. The combination – no job, no education, no respect – is a dangerous cocktail as the riots in the banlieues all over France in late 2005 showed. But here, as in so many other places, there are bright sparks such as Radio Droit de Cite, run by 60 local teenagers. The station gives them a platform on which to shape their identity and foster self-belief through producing documentaries, phone-ins,

106 The Art of City-Making community information, sports and music. More than a dozen teenagers from the station have moved on to jobs in national broadcasting. Finally, back to my home country, Britain, where the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that 70 per cent of Britain’s poorest children are concentrated in just four conurbations: London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside (which includes Liverpool) and Glasgow.80 The Rowntree report points out ‘the huge damage caused by the persistence of poverty and disadvantage in a generally prosperous country’. The poor areas in these cities, like Harpurhey in Manchester, Everton in Liverpool, Tower Hamlets in London or Easterhouse in Glasgow, can feel like desolated places, but here, as elsewhere, civic leadership can produce innovative ideas. For example, in Easterhouse a new Cultural Campus, appropriately called the Bridge, has opened, incorporating a library, a lifelong learning centre, a flexible auditorium, rehearsal, photography and multimedia studios, a flexible exhibition and performance space, and an education centre, the John Wheatley College. This large, multifunctional building also offers office suites, a new swimming pool, water features and a health suite, which will attract many users. Its goals are to increase opportunities to develop personal self-confidence, new life skills, such as communication and team working, and good health and to increase employability. Most interestingly and counter-intuitively, it is also the base for the new National Theatre of Scotland. Conceived as a ‘virtual’ body, with only a small number of permanent staff, it will research at the Easterhouse base and create plays for touring. This alone will bring people into the area who previously had no reason to be there. In London the new Idea Stores in Tower Hamlets are remodelling the view of libraries, which were previously underused and unloved. The plan is to create a series of bright, new buildings in local shopping areas, combining lifelong learning and cultural attractions with all the services normally associated with libraries, from classic books to DVDs and CDs. They borrow the best that can be learnt from the world of retail – presentation, use of colour, sense of welcome – while retaining a public service ethos. The first three in Bow, Chrisp Street and Whitechapel have an airy, transparent feel, in tune with a democratic spirit and that of valuing users as citizens. The first Idea Stores have trebled the number of visitors. The dowdiness of the old libraries has been left behind and a new image has drawn in new users. Acting as a community hub,

Unhinged and Unbalanced 107 the word library has disappeared. We now have Idea Stores, complete with cafés, crèches and multimedia offerings. Whether the word ‘store’ reflects the right ethos is another matter. The Easterhouse Cultural Campus and Tower Hamlets’ Ideas Stores projects attempt to build social capital, characterized by encouraging social trust and mutual interconnectedness, which is enhanced over time though interaction. The analogy with capital can be misleading, because unlike traditional forms of capital, social capital is not depleted by use, but in fact grows by use and is depleted by non-use. It is accumulated when people interact in a purposeful manner with each other in families, workplaces, neighbourhoods, local associations and other meeting places.

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 projects around the world that attempt to grapple with ordinary and dramatic misery in cities. It reminds us how the worst can be turned into something better. It is called Katha and it works largely in Delhi’s largest slum, Govindpuri, where 150,000 people live. Katha is now at the epicentre of activities that are transforming the Govindpuri slum cluster. Katha supports people’s movements in over 54 communities with the aim of turning ‘the slums into the gold mines they are – the powerhouses of creativity, entrepreneurship and drive’. Its slogan is ‘uncommon creativities for a common good’ based on an ‘uncommon education’ (visit for more information). The word katha itself means story or narrative. It started with a simple idea ‘to enhance the joy of reading’ and to foster storytelling. India has always been a land of storytellers. It honed over centuries the fine art of telling the story – in epics, mythologies, folk tales and more recent writings. Stories can transmit values, morals and culture. Founded in 1988 by Geeta Dharmarajan, Katha started as a small publishing house translating stories from

meaning that any investment in women brings double the results. to develop leadership. They surveyed sewage conditions in their own slum and so learnt about safe water. And they get to know their community: every day their urban story gets added to through talking to their parents. paint and make models. bacteria and diseases. The idea of ‘[SHE]2’ is at its core. Many have gone on to take further education courses. they learnt to articulate and craft language and learnt how to create presentations on computers. In its main school and 12 smaller ones the whole curriculum was focused on the city and all the rooms had city themes. Yet it is possible to recoup all the fees through results attendance and the involvement of parents in schooling. Parents pay a small but. significant fee (£4 a year) – Katha believes this personal investment increases commitment and motivation. for a slum dweller. Urban Stories’. Additional costs (£50 per year per pupil) are obtained from grants and sponsorship. its ethos here is poor-friendly. The organization then started schools and income generation projects in Govindpuri. they learn how to design. There is an in-house bakery at Katha that employs some of Katha’s beneficiaries. biological processes. this in an area when illiteracy runs very high. friends and neighbours. There are no discrete topics such as biology or maths. Katha has now added city development to its repertoire. taking the ideas and aspirations of . By interviewing residents and writing up impressions. This education and employment provides women with resources with which to send their children to Katha schools. percentages and statistics and so got to know maths. I was involved when the theme was ‘Transforming the City. But in order to get parents interested in sending their children to school. In bringing together the results they grasped proportions. Its educational ethos is centred on developing a story each term. By building models of how their slum can develop.81 Hundreds of women in the last decade have gone out into the community and entered full-time employment as home helps or office workers or started businesses as stallholders or tailors earning up to 20 times what they did before. But the story idea has had greater impact. Again. Children learn these through the story along the way. Since the Katha schools started in the early 1990s.108 The Art of City-Making the different Indian regions. over 6000 children have benefited and over 1000 have gone on to higher education. Katha started a women’s entrepreneurship programme. which in 1995 evolved into the Katha School of Entrepreneurship. mentoring and work.

. to empower. bars and restaurants are opening and beginning to tame the threats. Katha’s ‘9 Cs’ slogan. as only then will growth be viable or sustainable. where desire and misery clash. things are different. The city has a powerful resonance: sexuality. cultural and social stereotypes. beautiful women and men. San Francisco. yet the clubs. based on what they believe helps form character. But down on the ground. yet at its core is a desire to stimulate an interest in lifelong learning that will help children grow into confident. Even the favelas look enticing. to build social capital.Unhinged and Unbalanced 109 the impoverished into consideration. Even the once seedy and dangerous Lapa is now a hub of the music scene and is a regenerator’s dream: faded 19th century houses and warehouses are waiting to be turned into more hip apartments and offices. self-reliant. Carnival. as rampant redevelopment fractured the tree-lined boulevards and decorative apartments. Our vantage point is the giant 38m-high Christ the Redeemer statue on the Corcovado mountain. 710m above sea level. From 2007 onwards Katha will begin to help redevelop a part of Govindpuri through a process of co-designing and co-creation with the local community. Let’s look again at Rio de Janeiro. took their toll. It still has an edginess. even by Sydney. It asks them how they want to improve their environment and to bring themselves decent lifestyles. is embellished on a main column in the principal school. bossa nova. with more people involvement. The Katha philosophy has grown organically over the years. heat. glamour. to help break down gender. The city’s vista is unrivalled anywhere in the world. It could stand for what The Art of City-Making is attempting to promote: Curiosity Creativity Critical Thinking Competence Confidence Concentration Concern Cooperation Citizenship THE GEOGRAPHY OF DESIRE Desire is the flip side of misery. samba. energy. Hong Kong or Vancouver. responsible and responsive adults. The 1950s and 1960s. It seeks equitable growth. as nearly everywhere. and to encourage everyone to foster excellence and expand their creativity.

Lyon. But there has been a stand-off: The plan has stalled politically and the city cannot get it approved. whose economic effects are unlikely to trickle down in a positive way for the poor but which pleases the better off. the idea was to help regenerate the Mauá Pier area in the historic centre of Rio de Janeiro. The battle lines are drawn between those who believe the Guggenheim will be a regenerator and those who think it will only gentrify the area and be of little or no benefit to the poor. Moscow. but it is not a personal criticism of the . Milan. they are a double-edged sword. creativity and imagination that are used to seduce us to buy more were used for different aims? Inevitably the text has a somewhat critical tone. Visionary architecture was contractually required. and Jean Nouvel was chosen and has provided the design. Apparently mutually beneficial. Rio and Guggenheim. whether you are in California. But locals instinctively know too that in spite of the glamour of the brands. from Wal-Mart to Tesco to McDonald’s to Gap. Finding an inventive route that balances the local and global is the challenge. Do you create fashionable desire. The associational richness of the two brands. the aim of redevelopment is to strengthen the Guggenheim’s ‘global brand’ and turn Rio into a ‘global city’. Yokohama or Johannesburg. It is highlighted more sharply below when we talk of the geography of desire. which is why the promise of another Guggenheim icon seems so attractive. resources. Those who move around from place to place can see the full impact of the dull sameness of the ‘same place everywhere’ syndrome. The redevelopment of this site as a new cultural centre is expected to be a crucial and strategic landmark in Rio’s plans to bring life back to the Cais do Porto region. The question that lurks in the background is this: What if the immense energy. Then the sharp dominance of global brands becomes clear. or do you go about the less glamorous process of bottom-up economic development? It is only when we see these things from a detached. endangering local distinctiveness. they are a city-marketer’s dream. Which way the creativity of people is focused to make cities great places is a subtext throughout this book. seems irresistible. eagle’s eye view that the shape and overall dynamic of things are clear.110 The Art of City-Making Rio’s resonance is why the Guggenheim wants to be linked with it. The fate of the Rio/Guggenheim connection is the supreme symbol of The Art of City-Making story and of the battle of how to deal with misery. At first.

shopping is convenient. so enabling us to experience the moment. The community centre or library. But to stand alone against the prevailing wind is hard. a chance for incidental encounter. They. a less thrusting desire. satisfy ordinary desire. old guys reading the newspaper and smoking. well maintained. let a chance encounter with books or through the internet take its course. second-hand knick-knacks the next. It is the basic needs that count.Unhinged and Unbalanced 111 many shopping centre managers. as so often. Many want to bend the market to more lofty aims. with greater focus on individual wants than on bigger-picture. spacious and affordable? Does it meet the varying needs of single persons and families? Does the urban design meld the interior and exterior landscapes into an integrated whole? Does it meet the needs of privacy yet also encourage people to interact? Are uses mixed so that living. Ordinary culture in action. the shopping street Via Fillungo in Lucca or even Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech. The sensually perfect oval square Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. a space open for coincidence rather than having to do something specific or continuously having to consider. ‘What next?’ The Plaza Nueva in Bilbao fulfils this need. well built. as does the contained Caracas town hall square or Stavanger’s Sølvberget Square. Is the housing well designed. is an anchor. developers. a stall to buy a drink or a bun. one that is softer. where. working. are caught in a maelstrom and a system that pushes us inexorably towards speeding up. Mothers looking at their kids running around. It is the ordinary day-to-day lived urban experience of people. as does idling around one of Amsterdam’s many markets or even ambling along its canals. A city is not only a static thing consisting of its built form. idle chatter. read a magazine. consuming more. marketers or policymakers I meet daily through my work. a market selling flowers and food one day. the Kulturhus. so that people have many reasons to cross paths and communicate in the . Can I walk from where I live or work to a public space where I can just be rather than having to buy something? Desirable places fulfil the need for just being. communal needs. Ordinary desire Yet ordinary desire is a more beautifully mundane thing. like me and all of us. but also a series of small human interactions that fill a cauldron. one of the world’s great squares. a place to browse. the public library.

demonstrating? Could . where you feel crowded in and your body tightens up and where you think of the next experience to take your mind off the present one? Does the car traffic flow through the city? Is parking available? Ordinary facilities working like clockwork. Are there bright lights in the city core to stimulate aspiration? Are there places to hang out – special shops. outdoor spaces for gathering. which may account for its popularity simple ways that build social capital and make communities work? Can I go swimming? Is there a gym or a cinema nearby? Are services – doctors’ surgeries. so you relax into the journey itself. celebrating. just travelling.112 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry Libraries are among the most inclusive cultural institutions … and Vancouver’s is one of the best: note how rounded the building is. schools. like in London. theatres. does the graffiti get cleaned and do potholes get dealt with? Can I ring a council official and get someone – a human being – to answer the phone? Do I have confidence in the voluntary bodies or the businesses around me? Ordinary needs well met. as you might in Hong Kong? Or is it more unpleasant. cinemas. How do you get around? Does the transport system work? Is the metro clean? Does it operate frequently and without hiccup? Are suburban train lines efficient? Is the journey itself worth the experience. meeting places – local? Is the rubbish cleared.

The shift to compulsive consumption changes the nature of ordinary desire. You might retort. Yet economic drivers go against maintaining its simplicity. fashion the mechanism and technique. status. Pumping up desire ‘Since 1970 the number of consumer products introduced each year has increased 16-fold’. but it is emptier than it appears. however enticing it may appear at first sight. It is enticing. It is astonishing how simple this quiet desire feels. wealth and power. ‘But you have a choice. The ‘free market’ propels the inexorable dynamic to get you to spend. In our age of consumption. so that everything feels it should be an economic transaction. This picture exists in snatches in many of our cities without conscious planning or any new ‘ism’. it projects pleasure. For capitalism to keep going. The system could not survive if it was not immensely seductive. twisting discontent into urges and the desire to want. and fashion is its name. This is a voracious desire that can never truly be satiated. It is a double-edged sword. texture. at least not to survive biologically. Retailing is the engine of this process. Every sensory means is used and orchestrated to trigger the imagination: sound. Yet the mall and shopping as the metaphor for a good life cannot sustain the spirit. colour and motion. where time is slowed down and with the occasional burst of excitement. expressing sexuality. and the manufacture of dissatisfaction the result. Increasing purchases take on a social function. the look and feel.82 This is the inexorable dynamic that means retailing must pump up desire and push us to buy more.Unhinged and Unbalanced 113 you call your city a vibrant hub and a place of flourishing neighbourhoods? Is the gap between the rich and poor leavened? Are segregations reduced? Do cultures cross boundaries? Is prejudice minimal? Does it all add up? Does this stage set feel safe? Does it meld into an overall quality of life? Ordinary equality lived out in real life. smell. it has its delights. we buy many things we don’t need. needs must grow and so they must be manufactured. Yet it is a hedonistic treadmill that drains our energy. This is what makes café culture so appealing.’ But when everyone around . it changes the way we relate. Otherwise the system falls apart. All-pervasive. Filling emptiness with busyness rarely works.

Out has gone the well-worn shirt fraying at the edges – chuck it instead. Even your home. Everything must be young. Treats were less in evidence. even though it might ultimately hit you and throw you back on the heap. Everything is turned into a fashion item. it is hard to go against the grain. We had less disposable money. In the end. Now treats. young. Instead we have to invent ‘shabby chic’ as a fashion type. Old clothes still look smart if worn with a quiet confidence. but sadly there is only one. Or wearing a pair of shoes until you can see your experience etched into them – chuck them.83 Schwartz starts with a story of . They come in bright red. ‘I need a makeover. The production cost of making jeans look old is more than producing jeans that look new. my dress-down watch. We have lost the sense of small history. Who thought they needed 40 varieties of candles or that 30 styles of coffee were necessary? Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less documents this and the increasing reaction to wish to simplify things well. young.114 The Art of City-Making you is wanting. my fun watch. Now all too soon things are perceived to look tired and worn. The life span of things like clothes once stretched into the horizon. my sports watch. and you need a different colour for every occasion. but the credit system has expanded to soak up wants. Think of humble spectacles or glasses. surprises and the new have become necessities. life itself becomes a commodity. This feeds the DIY craze. once bought once and for life. by tradition usually green and on occasion black. just there to keep out the rain for those in the countryside. The same for your umbrella or wristwatch. otherwise it all falls apart. the little pieces of personal experience melding together into a textured life. Now they are an urban accessory. every variation of milk. chocolates. translucent blue or garish yellow.’ Wrinkles no longer reflect experience – they are a cosmetic nuisance. Today many have little too. Even your looks are up for grabs. so you have to buy new things made to look old. Now there is Swatch and you need watches for every occasion: my dress-up watch. butters. Something always needs to make a buck. In the past we conceived most things as necessities. Now they quickly become disposable. Think of functional Wellington boots. And along the way we have lost the art of repairing and feeling a sense of trajectory and the patina of ages inscribed into things. The idea of the beauty of ageing is disappearing. In the name of choice there is a continual roll of inventions: new breads.

Even how you meet people is increasingly arranged. to sit around in public and not spend money. And so we are dissatisfied. always under threat from other causes too. We are being bred to buy and to give up on the simple pleasures of creating our own entertainment: singing. having fun and making our own things from clothes to furniture. it shifts focus to tomorrow and what could be. Many of these are the invisible threads upon which collaboration was built. He experiences choice overload. The retailing dynamic unhinges the anchored self.Unhinged and Unbalanced 115 trying to buy a pair of jeans in Gap and talks of the 85 brands of crackers in his local supermarket. And everything has to be fast. It changes how we perceive existence. . where inevitably you fail and blame yourself. playing games. This can lead to decision-making paralysis. now go to the doctor simply to have a chat and have human contact rather than be at home on their own. Some people. the market has eviscerated much of the finer texture of urban living. thus the rise in speed-dating. dancing. Social relations are being determined by whether you can buy. which is why activities such as karaoke are so popular. especially the elderly. brokered and paid for. setting you up for unrealistically high expectations. a condition that can make you question your decisions before you even make them. Continually needing makes people needy because they are permanently being shown the next thing they do not possess. Relationships and interactions that were once free are now set in the exchange economy. Rather than experiencing what is and concentrating on the here and now and its attendant realities. Like a rash. Everything is becoming a paid-for experience. Mentally moving on before arriving Being locked into a pattern of needing to consume forces people into a lifestyle which they cannot quite afford. A culture of limitless choice that implies that somewhere there is perfection leads to a sense of emptiness and possible depression. Insidiously this logic has crept into other parts of our life. as it focuses on what is missing. This means we do not appreciate the fullness of possibilities or the engagement of daily life. This is a loss so strong that it has counter-reactions. the unpaid transactions that build social capital and trust. they are now a commodity. There are fewer free activities or places to hang around.

helps calculate the amount of advertising messages we receive in a day. a new device. the high visibility and immediacy of advertising messages becomes crucial and very fast instant response rates are required. delicious meals for busy people’) are proliferating. let alone digesting. Eye Contact. In a large city like London we see as many images in a day as people . Room decorations can be bought off the peg and discarded with each new move. endangering the whole house of cards. Getting to know people and relationships are speeded up through speed-dating. Disposability is key. People are in danger of becoming overloaded. with little time for eating. people are trying to adapt. In our desire not to waste time. Travel is faster. because at some point the dream has to come to fruition or else resistance might grow. Make them understand that just like a tired shop needs a design makeover or facelift. With names like Speeddater or Hurrydate. Lunch breaks are shortening. Speeding things up means substituting quantity for quality and along the way a certain depth to life is lost. keep them wanting too. make them want. we are left with even less of it. The poor are a harder challenge: give them a sense that everyone can be a winner. Caterers with names like On the Run or Gourmet on the Go! (‘Providing healthy. communicating electronically is faster. the poor and those otherwise disenfranchised? They are already swept up in its maelstrom. The market has already sniffed out that there is an audience to be captured who are nurturing their savings when they could be spending them. This is the throwaway city.116 The Art of City-Making Indeed. but the same amount of time. Speed and slowness The consuming logic that is never fulfilled means people want to experience more. The shelf-life of buildings is shorter. it is possible to meet 20 people for three minutes each on an evening and decide who you want to follow up. There is more on offer.84 With everything speeding up. perhaps 30 hours of experience in a 24-hour day. Make them feel inadequate. The length of time we keep clothes has shortened. so too do older people. what does desire look like through the eyes of the elderly. Eating has become faster – fast food is just one manifestation of this. More and more messages are trying to get through and the urban landscape is increasingly one large advertising billboard. But this is a fragile balancing act.

in the evening their time is jammed with social functions … they’re constantly working on their wardrobe. on holiday they are activity freaks. A woman who was cured noted: ‘I’ve slowed down. I want less… I’ve replaced quantity with quality. therapists and time-management consultants are ‘slow coaches’ to treat ‘rushaholics’: At work they are management freaks. darting into shops buying things … between watching a video they’ll be phoning friends.’86 The Slow Cities movement is a reaction to speed based on ethosdriven development. the right to taste through . I live more basically and because I shop less. around 3500.85 A reaction to speed is ‘slowness’. Slow Cities developed out of the Slow Food movement. which started in Italy in the 1980s.Unhinged and Unbalanced 117 Source: Charles Landry Speeding up the world allows no space for reflection saw in a lifetime in the Middle Ages. Now joining the stress consultants. Slow Food promotes the protection of local biodiversity. Yet in a survey it was discovered that 99 per cent of messages are not consciously remembered.

Trendspotting or trainspotting? ‘Fashion is not just a matter of life and death. it is more… it helps define who we are. supporting production based on cultural traditions in the local area. Working with the Slow Food network. It emphasizes the importance of local identity through: preserving and maintaining the local natural and built environments. the cultivation and growing of local produce through slow. Being sensitive to trends helps companies stay ahead of the game. The industry of fashion trendspotters inexorably forges the forward path. yet in their own way they are as obsessive as trainspotters in their raincoats and anoraks. The focus is on appreciation of the seasons and cycles of nature.118 The Art of City-Making preserving local cooking and eating traditions. early adopters. With their ear to the ground they read the signs and symbols of changing taste and desire. Trendy they may seem. and highlights the folly of fast food and fast life. before the laggard majority. Slow Cities is not opposed to progress but focuses on changes in technology and globalization as tools to make life better and easier while protecting the uniqueness of town characters. Barely a decade ago there were two fashion cycles in clothing. as there are always leaders. a city must meet a range of requirements. Slow Cities is expanding the concept to be a way of life. yet also a withered sadness. a game that is moving ever faster. the Slow Cities movement is spreading the word about its slow brand of community connectedness. implementing recycling and reuse policies. To be a member of Slow Cities and to be able to display the movement’s snail logo. using technology to improve quality of life and the natural and urban environment. encouraging the use and production of local foodstuffs using eco-sensitive methods. reflective living. They not only track change but also create it. The aim of the Slow Cities movement is to implement a programme of civilized harmony and activity grounded in the serenity of everyday life by bringing together communities who share this ideal. including increasing pedestrian access. and promoting the quality of local hospitality. as what we wear is always on the cusp of going out of fashion.’87 Fashion is the cause and retailing the agent of the change hysteria. developing infrastructure in harmony with the natural landscape and its use. Fashion has a glow. Now there . and introducing an ecological transport system.

The shopping repertoire We could divide the shopping world into essentials. And there are alternative strategies here – one shouts louder through its sign and symbol system. ‘branded brands’. apparently. The city then becomes a desire-inducing machine. national and international audiences. Car purchasing is moving down to a three-year cycle. but both are subject to the same forces. The aim is to craft an experience that has rich layers that mean something. they still have a hollow ring as consuming. eating refined food and going to that seductive lounge bar might be great. Relationships are shorter and divorce no longer carries a stigma. which did not exist as a concept until recently. just round the corner if not already upon us. and they seek to distinguish the individual from others. and inessentials. another more quietly so as to project class. It is now down to a seven. For example. At their core they are about individuality. Home makeovers. and a repertoire has emerged to make this happen. A pair of shoes is just that – a pair of shoes. not solidarity. Even though staying in that ‘special’ boutique hotel. It needs to draw attention to itself for its local. Much as people try to give products or brands depth. such as food. Yet interwoven in most strategies are arts institutions and cultural facilities as is evidenced by every single city-marketing brochure. Moving house was a once-in-a-generation thing. You surround yourself with associational richness. Retailing is the main driver of its changing shape and look. in the final analysis. The competition to generate desire spills out into the landscape of cities and helps shape them. ‘being spaces’ and ‘curated consumption’ are. has limited value. generating the experience the means. Property prices are the core driver of this urban development. like fashion accessories. in the end does it give longer-term sustenance? Generating associational richness is the challenge and the city itself needs to play its part in keeping the machine speeding along. You become what you are through the brand and your control of it. requiring the frenzied change of window displays and media bombast. which highlights .Unhinged and Unbalanced 119 are six. At its core lies shopping and culture. making you as the individual feel you are the most important person in the world. Consider some trends from the trendspotters – and they will have already gone by the time you read this (see box overleaf).to ten-year cycle. are now on a five-year cycle. Creating the destination is the goal.

Cars aren’t immune either: Lexus proudly promotes their Mark Levinson audio systems. in an ever-growing number of B2C industries (Martha and home decorating was really just the beginning . We at TRENDWATCHING.120 The Art of City-Making TRENDSPOTTING • Youniversal branding At the core of all consumer trends is the new consumer. where catering and entertainment aren’t just the main attraction. from their own blogs to niche TV channels. Others talk about Niche Mania. Branded brands In plain English: BRANDED BRANDS means you will get a pizza from Pizzeria Uno on an American Airlines flight. cramped living rooms for the reallife buzz of BEING SPACES: commercial living-room-like settings. of eruditeness. • • • • Source: www. Wired Magazine spoke of the Lost Boys and the Long Tail. something we’ve dubbed MASTER OF THE YOUNIVERSE.trendwatching. and big city apartments shrinking year by year. At the core is control: psychologists don’t agree on much.-). Being spaces With face-to-face communication being rapidly replaced by email and chat. Fields Cookies and even a McDonald’s ‘Friendly Skies Meal’. of taste. but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie. or Commoditization Chaos. Nouveau niche BusinessWeek called it The Vanishing Mass Market. Or at least have the illusion of being in charge. own comfort . urban dwellers are trading their lonely.COM dubbed it NOUVEAU NICHE: the new riches will come from servicing the new niches! And while all of this may smack of wordplay. the drivers behind this trend have been building for years. own universe. And onboard perks offered by United Airlines include Starbucks Coffee. goods and services being purchased online. who creates his or her own playground. meeting friends and colleagues. Stuck in the Middle. or doing your admin. It’s the ‘empowered’ and ‘better informed’ and ‘switched on’ consumer combined into something profound. including the ubiquitous promo-toy. And it’s not just one way: in this uber-connected world. reading a book. It all points to consumers on the road increasingly wanting to find the brands they trust and enjoy at home. Curated consumption … make way for the emerging trend of CURATED CONSUMPTION: millions of consumers following and obeying the new curators of style. except for the belief that human beings want to be in charge of their own destiny. the new curators enjoy unprecedented access to broadcasting and publishing channels to reach their audience. Mrs.

In the Malecon in Havana. which the locals avoid when the tourists swarm in. Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street in London have suffered a similar fate. culture simply equates to museums. but many now live off memories of a past heyday. such as Mitsukoshi or Matsuya. or Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. The Champs-Elysées. where to attract the young Taipei hipsters the music also pounds out so loud that the ground shakes. The latter are tied into an oppressive relationship with the tourist. They tend to attract an older audience now as their hipness has been drained out of them. seeking to dazzle. the flow of old classic cars and the music excite. For a sheer blast of colour. amaze and stun their audience.Unhinged and Unbalanced 121 how vibrant their cultural scene is in terms of these institutions. galleries and theatres and not a great deal else. Japan is instructive. into which are interspersed the trendsetting shops like Sony or the cool and sleek Apple Store. For this reason. The louder response is best seen in East Asia. New York’s Times Square is another instance. mobilizing these institutions remains central to cultural policy. whose energy is waning. their relaxed. Think of the historic ‘boulevards of dreams’ and their resonance. packed with people at night. action and head-spinning animated billboards. but at its best you can still watch the world and not be contained in a fence of consumption. but on the down side you are aware of the clash between tourists and poor locals. it combines the stark crassness of Osaka’s . though it is still the site of fashion houses and expensive restaurants. All are kept in trim by stylish new architectural insertions. They once played on a larger stage. The level at which this is executed depends on the city’s role in the larger world urban hierarchy. once a place which fed desires and a synonym for Parisian chic. dominated as it is by airline offices and car showrooms. The Ramblas in Barcelona is perhaps overrun now by tourists. It uses every latest advertising gizmo and its craziness has an outlandish beauty. For many. Architects. as is the Strip in Las Vegas. has lost some of its lustre and glamour. Adverts become increasingly vertiginous – six stories high as in Hsimenting in Taipei. although Eastern Europe is also making its mark. laid-back lifestyle contrasts with the need to hassle and compete for tourists. still. lighting engineers and billboard animators stand in the centre. Its aesthetics so different from European sensibilities. perhaps none can rival Dotonbori in Osaka. There is Düsseldorf’s Königsallee. To get an idea of what the future may hold in store. Ginza in Tokyo is a byword for its department stores.

alternative and grotty. strongly fed by media attention and focused on an older. less rich areas like Oxford Street in London. in frenzied growth zones like Shenzhen. Very few places have achieved it. is one instance. with property prices driving the design quality and focus of any area and its distinctiveness. Like a Ginza or Sloane Street in London. The very cheapness that makes an area attractive to the young and inventive is the very thing that raises prices over time. Segmentation and area character are key. But when the market has unfettered leeway. In Amsterdam the intricate physical patterning and structure dominated by canals cannot be broken up. Then there is the continual search for the new upcoming area. shop front or urban setting. the edginess is tamed and the gentrification process starts. The resulting fragmented ownership means that landlords are not always pumping up rents to their highest levels. The next will be an area that today is still relatively cheap. Cities use every trick they have to ‘spectacularize’ themselves: image. then Camden and now Hoxton. There are the mainstream. though. calm yet exalting Zen gardens with buildings built by architects seemingly inspired by watching Star Wars on acid. media and trophy buildings by ‘star’ architects are brought into harness. design. As a consequence. Amsterdam. image and aspiration mix. Vegas looks tame and controlled by contrast. the Jordaan and the myriad other small streets that offer surprise. where high-end architecture. the Amsterdam scenario is nearly impossible to sustain. perhaps an old industrial site such as the . mainstream. In addition it is extremely difficult for corporations to buy up large areas. Most large cities can be divided into high-end. Think of the Nine Streets area. China. is beginning to rival this new aesthetic.122 The Art of City-Making Electric Town or Tokyo’s Akihabara computer district with the sublime beauty of the perfectly crafted object. In London once Notting Hill. They come together in Kyoto around Kiyamachi-dori and Kawaramachi-dori. the sheer number of unique shops is astonishing. This is largely because mainstream retailers. with the profit ratios they demand and minimum size requirements for their stores. It is always on the move. richer crowd. providing the media oxygen over time. where most day-to-day shopping takes place. This is both good and bad and keeping the balance of shabbiness and chic or inventiveness and convention is an immensely difficult trick. cannot impose their templates on to the city. With trendspotters on the prowl. Typically the pioneers discover an area.

the creative vitality that these organizations represent is being threatened by over-popularity and consequent growth in tourist fodder restaurants and meat-market . the area’s attractiveness was recognized and redevelopment was planned to make it an artistic hub. larger industrial structures are converted into artists’ studios or incubator units for young design companies. there is a cultural venue which shows fringe material. a restaurant opens. Its lease structures guaranteed affordable. They try out a shop. then another. teachers and police. A finely knitted pattern of streets in the heart of the city. The cafés come in. Temple Bar Gallery and Studio. In essence. The development was controlled by a quasi-public authority which either owned or had influence on leases and tried to obviate the logic of price spirals that were inevitable given Temple Bar’s central location. On the other hand. It might succeed. such as the Irish Photography Centre. Many years later. the Irish Film Institute. It is an essential process through which property values rise to make it worthwhile for investors to get involved. the fate of cities is determined by property prices. The gentrification of an area can spell the exclusion of key workers if left unchecked. The only solution is to contain the market and to find alternative ways of providing affordable accommodation. it can push out those who make the gentrification process possible in the first place. the Arthouse Multimedia Centre. longer-term security for the many arts organizations. When a city like London or Berlin is selling its property to a global market. such as Deptford High Street near Goldsmith’s College in London. a set of industrial streets like Tribeca in New York or streets near a university where many young hang out. A few places have tried to challenge this logic. This is why we are faced with a crisis of finding accommodation for people in lower paid but crucial employment such as nurses. Alternatively. this will tend to price out less affluent locals. A gallery opens. without whom a city cannot function. Gentrification remains a double-edged sword. the bar there becomes popular. when the plan was rescinded. and the Gaiety School of Acting. The word spreads. and the gentrification process begins as it spills into the surrounding area. Temple Bar in Dublin is an instance.Unhinged and Unbalanced 123 Distillery in Toronto. it was once threatened with demolition to make way for a transport hub and inevitably declined with this sword of Damocles hanging over it. famous for graduates like artist Damian Hurst. However. the Temple Bar Music Centre.

In Singapore the food hall adjacent to Erskine Road in Chinatown has 140 independent cafés or restaurants. The substance only skin deep. The continental European café. Enclosed somewhere. built to last a shopping generation that is measured in half-decades. America. But there is resistance to the chain gang. This has led to TASCQ (Traders in the Area Supporting the Cultural Quarter) encouraging people to stay away. essentially in places of no distinction in the middle of nowhere. rather than the usual crowd of multinationals who would fit about a dozen brand names into the same space.124 The Art of City-Making pubs to deal with stag and hen night parties. A decade ago the symptom was dead town centres at night in places like Britain where the tradition of living together and socializing publicly in the evening had been lost. with the generations intermingling. Being able to deal with the night is culturally learnt. This means urban density with accommodation for single persons as well as families. When the city began to be . though. façades hide false ceilings and the sites can be reconfigured when required. The famed Mediterranean passegiata can only occur with vibrancy where living and shopping are close to each other. ‘The malling of India’. has become a recognized phenomenon. cosseted next to the big box retailers. Asia is catching up just when the homeland of malls. so long a bastion of thousands of stallholders. The architecture imitates Classical or Art Deco. For many. travelling downtown is too much of an effort. heralding the arrival of an urban drinking environment for the young only. has not happened. is reconsidering their value. At the moment 97 per cent of Indian retailing is by small independents. Normality is increasingly the out-of-town suburban mall associated with mid-America but now wending its way through Europe and into Asia. the well-known mass brand names are enough. eating and entertainment culture. the business of shopping can proceed conveniently with an ocean of parking spaces attached. It is even reconfiguring shopping in India. especially in Northern Europe. When it fully takes hold millions of Indians will have turned from small entrepreneurs to wage slaves. Making more of the night The dream of the 24-hour city for groups of all ages has largely faded. With cities increasingly spread out.

Libraries. shop-owners. yet it is an exclusionary feeling: less intergenerational. Children and older people hardly dare venture in. Last year I started the counting again and idly counted the shops in . employers. These try to reorganize time in more flexible ways to meet new needs. Urban management should have a strong role in assessing the palette of possibilities in each segment of the day. especially those of women. In effect. many such places are open on weekdays when most people have no time and closed when people have time. such as Brindley Place and Broad Street in Birmingham. I was disappointed. trade unions. The result is monocultural. Facilities to broaden the appeal of night are rare. rather than in the morning. to be reclaimed at night by mostly young drinkers. shops. bars. it led to an increased awareness of the value of public space and investment in it. clubs and bars. less intercultural. I was already beginning to recognize too many and gave up. city centres empty. bars. Hordes of young drinkers put off other age groups. They use time as a resource by staggering opening hours of offices.Unhinged and Unbalanced 125 revalued and a shift towards an urban renaissance occurred. with some high quality examples. Twenty-fourhour services are limited to bars. and police might work more in the evening when people want to see them. who often juggle two timetables. museums and galleries close early. some even at 5. The city centres in Britain are usually very lively. 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. schools and services to maximize time and to avoid crushes and rushes. the police and other services to see how their efforts might mesh better to produce more flexible ways of living and working. Shops might open and close later. bolstered by the drinks industry with bars competing loudly for attention. The Offices of Time try to bring together transport providers. The Italians have come up with an innovative solution and are addressing the democratic deficit of the 24-hour city.88 This occurred throughout the country. as it should in the management of public space to ensure diverse use and users. restaurants. work and home.00pm. in the early evening. At least half a dozen Italian cities now have an Ufficio Tempi – an Office of Time. But generally.

11. before a headache set in and I stopped. the world of retailing in Britain has changed dramatically. criss-crossing the suburbs and outer entrances of cities from Europe to North America.126 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry Corporate blandness.000 outlets with joint ventures. Australia and elsewhere: always the same picture. with the march of malls and global brands sucking the life out of ordinary high streets. always the same names. 6800 Wendy’s and 6500 Taco Bells? Hey.000 Burger Kings.000 Subways. What if you lined up all the 30. Then I went though the same exercise with other shops. I have travelled too by car. like Gap. I experienced a lurching feeling of dullness. A chilling thought.000 McDonald’s in the world next to each other – how long would the McDonald’s road strip be? Six hundred kilometres or so? And then add the 25. and the blanding processes are worldwide. picked up on from . 11. they will stretch half the 4504 kilometres from New York to Los Angeles. In those 15 years. if we line up the ten top fast-food chains. which has 3050 outlets.000 KFCs. This is the geography of blandness. And even Starbucks has over 11. as witnessed by counter-activities such as the ‘Keep Louisville Weird’ campaign. one of Britain’s most distinctive cities. Thought experiments kept coming into my mind. I knew the names of 85 out of 94. anywhereville Cornmarket and Queen Street. the main shopping streets in Oxford. which.

They borrowed the ‘Keep My Town Weird’ idea from a similar slogan on car bumpers in Austin: ‘Collaborative fission of coordinated individualism’. mall . typically then a department store.Unhinged and Unbalanced 127 WEIRD = ‘OF STRANGE OR EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTER’ Keep Louisville Weird is a grassroots public awareness campaign. bumper stickers from Austin. Louisville’s largest independent bookstore. While we don’t discount the need for the Wal-Marts of the world. In between were several specialty shops.89 Suddenly large billboards started dotting parts of Louisville with a striking black and white design and with the simple message ‘Keep Louisville Weird’… and then there were T-shirts … and bus cards … and stickers. declining shopping areas. But to ensure the highest possible rent. And the story behind the ‘Keep Louisville Weird’ motto did not come out until almost a year later. They had foundation stores to ‘anchor’ an end of the mall. The billboards were placed by an informal coalition of independent Louisville businesses – a protest against ‘Starbucksification’. sparked by the sale of Hawley-Cooke. The march of the mall Regional malls initially started without too much of a threat to diversity. recently and quietly begun by a small but growing coalition of independent Louisville business owners who are concerned with the spreading homogenization 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. to Borders in August 2003. By then. has been followed by others like ‘Keep Portland Weird’. establishment and promotion of chain stores and restaurants that can be found in many other cities across America. but is also robbing the city of much of its unique charm. No one knew where they had come from. often smaller local traders relocating from older. we’re troubled by the current civic notion that excitement for our town should come from the courting. the media were raring to cover it.

such as Neiman Marcus. outlets are 10–20 times the size of the speciality mall store. ‘C’ malls cater to middle. Few small. but not as large or as exclusive as those in ‘A’ malls. ‘B’ malls are targeted more at middle. Yves Saint Laurent and Tiffany & Co. Depending on where you are you see Best Buy. Two approaches are being offered as an alternative to regional malls. climate-controlled shopping in regional malls is counter-balanced by the inconveniences of parking. combining big box and smaller shops. designed . driven by class and income. They now break down into three broad categories. retailers like Bulgari. Specialty retailers that seek to attract wealthier shoppers. Visitors increasingly feel the convenience of one-stop. Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch. especially those with marketing success in malls. Williams-Sonoma (cooking supplies). The first is the ‘big box’ shopping centre. chains of stores specializing in a single product niche but operating internationally. Shoppers park their cars in parking lots directly in front of the store. There. Their department stores only target people with lower incomes. Others. Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. As the market became saturated with malls. such as Gap. Dorothy Perkins and Benetton.and upper-middle-class shoppers. While the mix of specialty shops in ‘B’ malls is similar to those in ‘A’ malls. who want a more varied choice. household goods stores like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel. The second is to reinvent the old high street: the ‘main street mall’. Halfords or Office Depot.128 The Art of City-Making operators preferred leasing to stores with proven track records. local stores could match the track records of national specialty retailers. This retail mix renting strategy significantly reduced risks for mall operators but has created a monotonous shopping experience for consumers. and national niche stores that appeal to broader audiences. Malls began homogenizing by the early 1990s. Home Depot. specialty retailers thrived even when malling declined.and lower-middle-class shoppers. which is essentially a strip mall that contains several very large stores. exclusive national specialty clothing retailers like Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole. Their department stores have large selections. would not locate in ‘B’ malls. ‘A’ malls cater to upper. offer reduced selections of merchandise. Currys. ever-expanding buildings and limited choice heavily focused on national speciality retail stores. such as Gap. such as Banana Republic. such as J. In the US they include department stores.and partly upper-middle-class shoppers. will not locate stores in ‘C’ malls.

losing the street in the process and breaking up community patterns. face a pedestrian walkway. the father of the enclosed mall. when the first mall was opened in Minnesota (Southdale Mall in Edina.Unhinged and Unbalanced 129 Source: Charles Landry A good secondary shopping street in Cork. because they are now separated from shopping. They tore older cities apart by inserting malls inside their cores. like those of early malls. Placement on the edge of town or out of town drains the city of its lifeblood – a process well documented. It has made facilities like libraries and other services feel out of place. It has led to the decline of local shopping and the attendant network of relationships. providing the larger templates they require. stated that the mall was the way to replicate community by providing social interaction and recreation in pedestrian-friendly environments by incorporating civic and educa- . shedding and big boxing have reconfigured cities dramatically. Yet what irony! Back in 1956. a suburb of Minneapolis). Victor Gruen. Parking is tucked inconspicuously behind the building.90 The bland processes of malling. rupturing the historic urban fabric.91 It has helped the process by which chains have become ever dominating. Ireland – the kind that is disappearing very rapidly to resemble the fantasy of a main street in a small American community at the turn of the 20th century. The storefronts in main street malls.

The developments under way in 2003.html tional facilities. There will be some stunning new designs and lots of white-hot technology. Get beyond those disagreements. Source: excerpted from ‘The Future’ by Charles Hazlett. published on the Retail Traffic website. an imagination or to play on a world index. change is accelerating and store sizes and formats are in flux. The retail cycle is shrinking. but the biggest changes will be less obvious: redesigned malls with different kinds of anchors and different tenant mixes. though. the simplistic. No one can say for certain what the world of 2013 will look like. Developers with a heavy focus on enclosed malls say they’ll remain the big dogs. even more changes are coming. and a common vision emerges. Everywhere. working and having fun are in close proximity. as well as various remalling/demalling. The retail center of the future – whether it is enclosed or open-air. perhaps. often on the edge of town. That means environments that place as much emphasis on recreation (everything from skate parks to jogging paths to entertainment complexes) as they do on consumption. The developers made money taking things apart and now are making it again putting it back together. and interviews with industry insiders produce some predictable predictions. not just a place to shop. themed or general – will be designed to resemble a community. big or small. What irony again to note that the latest retail trend is to recreate community precisely along the lines of that which retailing took apart in the first place. http://retailtrafficmag. there will be a new focus on convenience. with doctors and dentists nearby. and lots more space for non-retail uses.130 The Art of City-Making RECREATING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE As much as malls and shopping centers have morphed in the past few years. already point to a future in which retail blends with other functions. Yet what was lost in the process? The walkable place where living. including. low-textured mall is . schools accessible. a park… Precisely what they are now recreating. those who’ve invested deeply in lifestyle and power centers think that they’ll be on top. he said. and that a lot of the older enclosed malls will be long gone. It filled rather than created a void. 1 May 2003. daycare facilities and a place to check your coat. For the aspiring city that wants to project an edge.

claiming the area as their own along the way. meat from the butcher. The chains are present on the traditional gridded streets. (Similar ventures have been set up in Paris and London.93 The one-stop shop only appears beneficial. people used to shop on foot in their local high street. a blind clergyman. Garish colours shout. because we think we are time-pressured and convenience-driven. creating a visual feast. They twist perceptions and warp them into a strong tension of ritualized behaviour and controlled wildness. which has taken the city by storm. Blindlight. the malls . not so long ago. Whether upscale or run-of-the-mill. Think of restaurant brands. Urban Outfitters.500 Burger Kings do not get the blood racing. Like peacocks showing their feathers.Unhinged and Unbalanced 131 not enough. which many find profound. however. Yet whereas most American teenagers follow the dictates of fashion provided by stores like Gap. They are not the followers of trends dictated from the top of the fashion food chain. Consider instead Zurich’s Blinde Kuh (Blind Cow). Only the manager and the receptionist are sighted. They create elaborate shapes and hairstyles and.92) This combines gastronomy with a social purpose. This process developed an invisible web of community. many teenagers in Harajuku set the trends that are then taken up by the fashion industry. For blind diners it can be liberating and those going blind can show their partners what life may be like. These are restaurants where you can’t see – you eat in total darkness – and the waiters are blind. they do not register on the ‘desirometer’. supermarkets reign supreme and they are aggressively expanding their offer of non-food goods. set up by Jorge Spielmann. The meal creates a bonding experience between diners and makes sighted people focus on their senses afresh. set up in 2000. bread from the baker. Thirty thousand McDonald’s or 11. The high streets. Hot Topic or any large national or international chain. Instead. Those days are gone. The death of diversity and ordinary distinctiveness Once upon a time. fruit and veg from the greengrocer. They bought individual products from different retailers: screws from the hardware store. Blinde Kuh is owned by a charity. they are punky and rebellious. Think of Harajuku in Tokyo. with their powdered faces. subverting traditional Japanese styles and borrowing from Western ones. teens go through an amazing ritual of preening.

multipurpose corner shops. Left behind are deserts where communities no longer have easy access to local shops and services. baker’s. As smaller shops close. local retailers suffer. leading to a Catch 22 situation. and it is happening everywhere. newsagent’s. and when local retailers close.94 The result is a bland. Without local suppliers. 33 per cent of local outlets will have shut between 1990 and 2010. hardware stores. Based on current trends. 13. And the decline of local shops forces many to travel greater distances to do their shopping. specialist shops and building relationships with owners. Supermarket chains are not interested in the ‘real’ economy and real costs of food miles. butcher’s. independents made up half of the market. This process has insidious downstream side effects.000 as supply chains globalized. now the figure is below 15 per cent. banks and building societies and the pubs and the figure doubles.000 specialized shops – bookshops. industrialized. And the popularity of the new ‘local’ stores emerging under the big supermarket brand banners presents yet another threat to independent stores. imitative shopping landscape of multiple retailers. ‘Small and independent shops may vanish from the UK’s high streets by as early as 2015 … The erosion of small shops is viewed as the erosion of the social glue that binds communities . fast-food chains and global fashion outlets. A 2005 report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Small Shops stated. local. Between 1997 and 2002. affecting the system as a whole. Add to this the branches of post offices. The decline in neighbourhood shops and services breaks up the social fabric on the way and replaces it with large-scale. Overall that is nearly 50 per week. fishmonger’s. These deep changes sound the death knell for local economies. the number of UK farm workers fell by 100. whatever specialism you care to think of – were lost. Between 1997 and 2002. the number of suppliers to small shops dwindles. chemist’s.132 The Art of City-Making and big box centres all look similar and to create distinctiveness they need to spice up the bland with ‘total experiences’. 2157 independents were lost. The link with supermarkets check-out staff is minimal. Fifty years ago in Britain. suppliers suffer as they become increasingly reliant on a handful of supermarket purchasers. corporate landscapes and relationships. In 2004 alone. clothes shops.95 Supermarkets and malls eviscerate the city. even in the largest cities. you get an increasing sense of multiplying ghost towns. We have lost the option of shopping at small. These in turn hold them in a vice-like grip. There are gains and losses in this process.

Unhinged and Unbalanced 133 together.’96 The British Retail Consortium responded that the group was ‘trying to turn the clock back’. And a Tesco spokesperson, seemingly quoting Britain’s largest retailer’s PR manual, delivered the rather ignorant statement, ‘The consumer is the best regulator and there is room in a thriving market for anyone who satisfies customers.’ How very ironic, then, that the US trade magazine Retail Traffic’s issue on future trends in retailing in May 2003 cited recreating a sense of community as the key trend for the next decade. The retailing logic that tore quite resilient communities apart is now trying to put them together again in its own image and on its own terms. Governments can only deal with wider issues of social exclusion, disadvantage and poverty if they understand that an economic system seen as ‘natural’ favours the large, the distant and the uniform. It damages diversity, choice, local economies and communities. Conversely, ‘relocalizing’ the economy empowers communities. It requires courage and tenacity to resist the lobbying capacity and media-savviness of the large retailing giants and to address the pressures of the wider economic forces head-on to create a balance between local and global economies. This requires understanding real economic value flows or local transaction analysis and distinguishing it from surface value.97 And this in turn means redefining what we understand and measure as progress and finding ways to make the invisible value of things – social, cultural and environmental values – visible. The New Economics Foundation proposes measures to restore local communities and shopping cultures. These include: • Local Communities Sustainability Bills. Based on a bottom-up philosophy, these bills would create a coherent framework for pro-local policies by giving local authorities, communities and citizens a powerful voice in planning their future to guarantee dynamic and environmentally sustainable local economies. In 2003 such a proposed bill got the support of 33 per cent of British MPs. The goal is a ‘realignment of power between the forces driving ghost and clone towns and those seeking to build more healthy, vibrant and sustainable local economies’. Local competition policy. In France, the Royer and Raffarin laws have limited the development of new supermarkets over the past few years, requiring special approval for any proposed new retail store bigger than 300m2. This has guaranteed the

134 The Art of City-Making

Italy and France have so far been able to resist the arguments, blandishments and pressures towards blandification coming from the large chains in the name of efficiency and progress. Many of their socalled restrictive planning guidelines are precisely those that are securing diversity and resisting what the French call ‘ la Londonization’. Paris approved a Local Urbanism Plan in 2005 which seeks to encourage small shops and key workers to stay in the city. It seeks to sustain the economic, social and cultural ecology of Paris, not in a nostalgic way but to strengthen locality and diversity. Central Paris, with just over 2 million residents, is far livelier because it has a dense and varied network of shops and people. It wants to sustain the social balance that makes Paris what it is and not have a place with the rich on one side and the poor on the other. It seeks to achieve this goal by influencing the market through regulation and incentives. To nurture la mixité sociale, a requirement for developers is to set aside 25 per cent of any project spanning more than 1000m2 for social housing apartments in districts where there is little at present. The majority of these will be reserved for key workers, such as teachers, nurses, council employees and shopkeepers, who are rapidly being driven out of a city where many residents rent their homes, endangering the social fabric. To enhance a vibrant local retail sector on the streets of Paris and to sustain its distinctive food culture, half the 71,000 shops in Paris have restrictions placed on them to prevent inappropriate change of use when the shopkeeper either sells up or retires. This means that a small food shop would have to remain a food shop, and it would prevent, for example, a string of mobile phone chain shops replacing butchers, bakers or greengrocers. The move follows studies showing that the number of delicatessens has fallen by 42.8 per cent in the past decade, with butchers falling by 27.2 per cent, fishmongers by 26 per cent and bakers by 16.2 per cent. At the same time, the number of mobile telephone shops has risen by 350 per cent, fastfood restaurants by 310 per cent and gymnasiums by 190 per cent. Other measures in the plan include a requirement for developers to set aside 2 per cent of any new building for residents’ bicycles and pushchairs. On the other hand it will reduce the number of parking spaces they are required to create.98

Unhinged and Unbalanced 135 diversity of French shopping. Poland has also enacted similar versions of this law. Using planning law to protect locally owned stores. Planning gain agreements, such as Section 106 in Britain, which usually grant planning permits to social housing, should extend to include locally owned stores. Introducing a retail takeover moratorium and limit market share to 10 per cent. Tesco in Britain, for example, currently has a market share of over 30 per cent; the next three each have over 10 per cent. Extending local tax relief to independents, such as newsagents, and food, beverage and tobacco retailers, particularly those in villages, town centres and deprived urban neighbourhoods. Undertaking local money flow analyses. Local authorities, planning agencies, regeneration bodies and regional development agencies need to monitor local money flows to help guide local retail development. Setting requirements for economic and community impact studies. Holding local referenda on major developments that affect the identity of localities. Some issues, such as local identity, are so important that the ordinary democratic process is not enough.99

• •

The curse of convenience
The blanding process needs to be counteracted by creating the lure of excitement and massive choice. A brief excursion into the world of supermarkets reveals that in Britain, the big four control nearly 75 per cent of food retailing, a frightening figure. Tesco has 30.6 per cent, Asda (Wal-Mart) 16.6 per cent, Sainsbury’s 16.3 per cent and Morrison’s 11.1 per cent.100 They have drained the life out of the high street and cleansed it of diversity. The supermarket model is also space eating and they have wrenched space away from the edge of town and out of town. Looking at their activities through a broader food miles and sustainability perspective, they are far less efficient than they make out. They have sidled into the imagination of the public as the onestop destination for your every need. They have projected themselves as the only way. They are not stupid and they have a wealth of expertise and resources at their fingertips to lobby, to change minds and to get their way. And when the going gets tough,

136 The Art of City-Making they adapt, chameleon-like, and pretend to be local in their desire to please. Many fund local initiatives, as long they can get on with business as usual. In sum, they pull the wool over our eyes so we do not understand the underlying dynamics of their operations and their impact on real life. These guys are professionals, exert immense power and are in it for the long haul. Few other shops swallow such a huge chunk of our net income as supermarkets do. Tesco, for example, takes £1 in every £8 pounds spent in British shops. Do we get the value we are promised? Comparing the big chains and local, independent shops on the high street, the result is surprising. Guardian journalist Sarah Marks conducted an experiment over two weeks. In the first week, she spent £105.65 at Sainsbury’s. In week two, a total of £105.20 at local shops was spent on the same groceries. A difference of 45p is admittedly not an enormous amount and she had to walk around more. Nevertheless, local retailers suffer because there is a perception that the big four are cheaper and because they tell us they are ‘good value’. But they rely on people only knowing the cost of a small number of goods, referred to as known value items (KVIs). These are items that supermarkets price check against their supermarket and independent competitors and keep as low as possible to attract custom. Other items can be much more expensive. Bananas are one KVI and the local market cannot match the price. But other fruit, like seedless white grapes, can be twice as expensive in the supermarkets. There is a ‘hierarchy of value’, with extra cheap ranges, everyday prices and premium brands. Basic sliced white bread cost Sarah Marks just 19p, but its country style with rye loaf was eight times more expensive at £1.49. Overall, chemist and grocery items in the supermarket were cheaper by 11 per cent and 28 per cent respectively, but fruit and veg, meat and fish were not.101 What are the gains and losses in shopping in different ways? In one you support the local economy and in the other the corporatized economy with global supply chains. Supermarkets have maintained their power because of their convenience and seductive tricks like pumping out smells near the bread counters. But how else? The planning system is weak in practically all countries and favours multiple retailers over independent stores. In Britain, in contrast to France, the government’s Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6) is failing to prevent out-of-town development, possibly as a result of supermarkets lobbying central

Unhinged and Unbalanced 137 government. Yet PPS6 forms the only formal defence that local authorities have against retail development that may negatively impact on the community. On the one hand the policy states it is ‘facilitating and promoting sustainable and inclusive patterns of development, including the creation of vital and viable town centres’. On the other, about 60 per cent of development still takes place out of town, with a rising percentage in edge-of-town locations. PPS6 also states, ‘Larger stores may deliver benefits for consumers and local planning authorities should seek to make provision for them in this context. In such cases, local planning authorities should seek to identify, designate and assemble larger sites adjoining the primary shopping area (i.e. in edge-of-centre locations).’102 But local authorities have no ultimate control. Supermarkets are beginning to have more power than local councils, as local decisions are being overturned on appeal by higher authorities. Councils are also influenced by the very high costs of appeal and are reluctant to lose. As one councillor, also a shopowner, noted: Tesco has hit the town really badly. My typical daily turnover went down 50 per cent the day it opened… They are too big and powerful for us. If we try and deny them, they will appeal, and we cannot afford to fight a planning appeal and lose. If they won costs, it could bankrupt us.103 This is the result of supermarket lobbying and leveraging planning gain whereby a developer agrees with a planning authority to pay for community facilities in return for planning approval. Supermarkets run lobbying and public relations campaigns focused on local authorities and communities respectively in order to increase the likelihood that planning applications for their stores and the stores themselves, once constructed, will be accepted. The focus on out-of-town and edge-of-town development reduces creativity because it is geared towards branded, global chains. A feeling of public space may be propagated but in reality it is privately owned space that is tightly controlled to foster a consuming environment. There is little or no room for individual participation and invention. One could imagine food chains and other stores rethinking their service delivery so that people can use city centres without worrying too much about carrying things about. Internet grocery shopping with home delivery is one

138 The Art of City-Making development but as are local pick-up points where shoppers collect their shopping without worrying about being at home at a certain time. Such delivery innovations lessen the imperative of supermarkets to locate on the edge of town. Clearly some chains have better track records than others, such as Waitrose in Britain, which has a good reputation for quality and is owned by its employees and not shareholders. As one would expect, this produces a high level of commitment among employees and a far stronger commitment to locality. In contrast are Wal-Mart and Tesco. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, with more than 3000 stores in the US and almost 1300 international operations, such as Asda in Britain. It is also the world’s largest corporation. It employs 1.4 million workers worldwide and with over a million in the US it is the largest private employer there. More than half of Wal-Mart’s US employees leave the company each year. They earn an average hourly wage of US$11.00 for non-management positions, with no defined benefit pension and inadequate healthcare. Wal-Mart was sued 4851 times in 2000 – or about once every two hours, every day of the year. Wal-Mart lawyers list about 9400 open cases.104 They pay below poverty-level wages. At 34 hours per week (fulltime at Wal-Mart), a person makes US$19,000 per year, well below the poverty level for a family of four. Six hundred and sixty thousand of its employees are without company-provided health insurance, forcing workers to seek taxpayer-funded public assistance. A US congressional study found that Wal-Mart costs the American taxpayer up to US$2.5 billion in public assistance to subsidize its US$10 billion in profits. But the going may be getting tougher. Wal-Mart won city council approval in May 2004 to build its first store in Chicago after months of delay and intense lobbying by the chain’s foes and supporters. After a raucous debate, the council voted 32 to 15 to allow Wal-Mart to construct a 150,000square-foot store in a poor, largely black and Hispanic neighbourhood on the city’s West Side. In a second vote, however, the council rejected a huge store that Wal-Mart wanted to build in a racially diverse, largely middle-class South Side neighbourhood.105 In June 2005 Vancouver city council rejected (by eight votes to three) Wal-Mart’s bid to build its first store in the city, a big-box outlet on Southeast Marine Drive, this in spite of the green design that Wal-Mart put forward after criticisms of its environmental practices. As councillor Peter Ladner noted, ‘There was a

Unhinged and Unbalanced 139 real “undercurrent” that wasn’t officially part of the council’s debate about Wal-Mart’s labour practices, its sourcing practices, the satanic nature of giant multinational corporations.’106 In 2005 producer/director Robert Greenwald made an emblematic film called Wal-Mart: The High Price of Low Cost, which took the viewer on an extraordinary journey that could change the way people think, feel and shop.107 It tracked the conditions of workers at Wal-Mart, the company’s intimidation of employees, its power over supply chains and the culture of fear it induces. It allowed these people to tell their story. The film really came alive when it utilized footage of deserted towns and main streets all across America, many of which had been affected by Wal-Mart and other big-box stores moving in and causing destruction. It was released through an alternative distribution network via thousands of house parties.108 Similarly, there is a growing movement of people in towns and cities across Britain who believe Tesco and other big superstores threaten to destroy their communities and reduce choice. Increasingly, local people are joining together to fight new supermarket developments that they believe pose a grave threat to the health of their local economies and communities. ‘Tesco has driven down the supply price of meat, vegetables, everything, because they have such a huge share of the market. It’s a monopoly position… they can simply go and find someone else who will supply them at the price they want.’109 The Tescopoly Alliance documents these campaigns. Britain is renowned for its apple varieties and quality, yet surveys by Friends of the Earth show that, at the height of the British apple season, over 50 per cent of Tesco’s apples are imported and that supermarkets reject perfectly good British fruit for no good reason. Tesco says it has 7000 regional (i.e. Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English) lines on sale and many promotions related to regional produce. Yet this figure is less than 20 per cent of the total of 40,000 Tesco lines and many of these ‘regional’ products are sold throughout Britain so are simply British produce.110 Many people choose locally grown produce because of the associated environmental and social benefits. Yet ethics are increasingly marketed as a consumer choice rather than a corporate standard. Fairness and justice in trading, for example, are niched as fair-tradelabelled speciality products and not mainstreamed into business practice as of late 2005. Tesco sells only 91 fair trade product lines, a tiny amount representing only 0.2 per cent of its lines. In

140 The Art of City-Making November 2004 no more than 4.5 per cent of Tesco’s sales of bananas were fairly traded.111 Tesco, like other major chains, claims to create more jobs, but the figures do not add up. In 2004 small grocery shops in the UK had a turnover of around £21 billion and employed more than 500,000112 while Tesco, with a £29 billion turnover, employed just 250,000 people.113 As retail chains grow, overall jobs are lost. This might be more efficient in narrow terms, but not when taking into account downstream impacts. Furthermore, the buying power of the big chains is considered to be distorting competition to a worrying degree.114 Londis, the national corner shop brand, has admitted that it is cheaper to buy brands from Tesco and resell them than to get them from its wholesalers.115 Tesco may claim to be a ‘magnet for market towns, keeping people shopping locally’,116 but the reality is that local shops close wherever Tesco goes, from Dumfries in the north to Penzance in the south. ‘The new Tesco in Dumfries now sells chart music cheaper than me, so people now only come to me for the rare stuff and the staple 35 per cent of my income from the chart music has disappeared,’ says an independent record retailer.117 The idea that regeneration can be driven by major chains needs close and sophisticated examination and appropriate and robust policy. Friends of the Earth suggest: • a much stricter code of practice to ensure suppliers along the whole chain are treated fairly and which covers sustainability, labour and health standards; a supermarket watchdog to ensure that the grocery market is operating in the interests of consumers, farmers and small retailers; enlargement of competition policy to address impacts on suppliers (not just consumers) to prevent misuse of buying power; and a market study by competition authorities to examine the wider effects on society of the over-concentrated retail sector with a view to presenting policies to address market share.118

You come across iconic and representational buildings, new and old, more often as you drive to the core of the city. Yet the city is more than icons. Office parks, industrial estates, housing quarters

Unhinged and Unbalanced 141 rich and poor frame the overall urban experience. Perhaps the most dispiriting areas are shedland. This is the visual experience of most places when you navigate the ring roads and dual carriageways that feed into the city: cheap, windowless, large buildings of steel frames, corrugated iron and pre-cast slabs. They are distribution hubs or light industrial sites. Their blandness neutralizes the surrounding landscape. They are lifeless. Occasionally a garish logo is the only visual relief. Built with a short shelf-life in mind, perhaps 10 or 20 years, they are part of the throwaway, disposable city. Can you imagine the artist of the mid-21st century suddenly deciding to move into these as the new live/work space as they have in the solid brick buildings of the industrial age? What new areas can artists discover when all the industrial buildings have been used up?


and also a new sports stadium and a new concert hall. More recently the repertoire has been broadened to include ‘creative quarters’ – which in fact are usually refurbished old industrial buildings in inner city fringe areas – as well as attracting big events. as a perceptive commentator recently noted. The costs of generating brand . Taking the name of an existing cultural institution like the Tate. the sports stadium and finally the aquarium. In the past these institutions mostly carried the name of the city in their title.2 Back to Rio. like the Birmingham Rep or the Cleveland Museum of Art. which in 2003 announces with a fanfare the new Guggenheim. Indeed. museums. the experience centre of whatever theme. often used thoughtlessly and in an imitative way. the concert hall. is an attempt at a short cut. where intense efforts are made to give the word itself powerful resonance. either sports or festivals. to use culture or arts in city development. The aim is to enhance image and prestige and to attract visitors and therefore inward investment. the theatre. The attempt is to brand the city and richly associate its name with cultural sophistication. Hermitage or Guggenheim. ‘The Baltic’ or ‘The Sage’ in Gateshead.4 Repertoires and Resistance URBAN REPERTOIRES From Prado to Prada1 There is an emerging repertoire. ‘we live in the age of aquaria’. The full repertoire includes galleries. More recently the trend has been to create more unique and distinctive identifiers such as the ‘Esplanade’ in Singapore. and the ‘The Guggenheim’ in Bilbao. which have spent generations building their reputations.

UK .144 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry The urban regenerators repertoire: The concert hall and ferris wheel in Birmingham.

There is a tension between the need to continuously provide innovative and technological derring-do. The Tate in the UK has also pursued this route. The Guggenheim’s internationalization strategy includes outlets in Berlin. And very few achieve this.Repertoires and Resistance 145 recognition through a name from scratch are immense. so cultural institutions have increasingly recognized that they can have drawing power and iconic qualities. although in a less commercial way. The latter requires a series of mundane considerations. especially indigenous artistic communities. from cities such as Tokyo. another architectural star) and its oldest outlet in Venice. Others following this approach include the Hermitage in St Petersburg. Alsop and Calatrava. enabled increasingly through complex computer modelling. The primary focus of these recognition strategies is outwardlooking and internationally oriented. This is why Tate Modern hired a community regeneration manager while it was being built to ensure that rich links with and involvement of the community were fostered. who may feel their needs are being neglected. Izozaki. Las Vegas (built by Rem Koolhaas. This often creates problems for locals. Not only must the power of the building – the container – entice. Foster. The Guggenheim frequently receives offers to establish new operations. but the contents also need to be associated with world-class quality to get through the ‘noise’ of information overload in order to become a ‘must see’ destination. But one day the deals are on the map. and the requirement to make buildings work functionally for their purpose. . The attempt to generate international attention in a world of short attention spans has meant architects now have an increasingly powerful role and there is frenzied competition to attract those with star quality who are able to create iconic buildings. They have recognized value in their brands and have begun to franchise their names. Cities seeking to take the short route to international status now pursue them with vigour. These outliers make sense given that the vast majority of their artworks are in storage. such as when Bilbao paid US$20 million for the use of the Guggenheim name for 20 years. such as ‘Can I get the lorries to actually deliver the theatre scenery?’ or ‘Can I clean the windows so as not to disturb the building as a work of art?’ As branding has become the mantra of the age. Snøhetta. Rogers. with museums/galleries in Amsterdam and Las Vegas. the next they seem to have fallen through. Rio and Johannesburg. such as Gehry.

radicals and risk-takers are all of paramount importance. It has a narrow ‘bandwidth’ and highly focused purpose. one of the few iconic buildings that is etched into the world’s imagination Urban iconics In The Creative City I make the distinction between narrative and iconic forms of communication. The deci- . Emblematic initiatives can leapfrog learning and avoid lengthy explicatory narratives through the force of their idea and symbolism. Its ‘bandwidth’ is wide as its scope is exploratory and linked to critical thinking. seeks to be instantly recognized. The challenge of creative urban initiatives is to embed narrative qualities and deeper. emblematic best practice projects. it is ‘high density’ because it seeks to ‘squash meaning’ into a tight time frame. In this context. principled understandings within projects which have iconic power. It is about creating meaning. It is ‘low density’ in the sense of building understanding piece by piece. Narrative communication is concerned with creating arguments.146 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry The Guggenheim in Bilbao. and the work of campaigners. visionary leaders. it takes time and promotes reflection. by contrast. creating high impact by encouraging symbolic actions that make what is being projected feel significant. Iconic communication.

3 Places of desire need iconic projects. it provides psychological comfort. These qualities will not be the same for all types of buildings or hard infrastructure. Everybody immediately knows the power of the word ‘zero’. as in the Toronto art school by Will Alsop. both good ordinary functional buildings and iconic ones can exude a deep register of feelings and emotions that can sustain or enrich a city. The aim of icons is to grab attention and profile. At their best. identifying projects that embody principled and fresh ideas yet can be communicated iconically is the challenge of the creative city. how it is made or projected. symbolic value or resonance in relation to . A choice will be made as to what extent of stimulation is right and appropriate. they must reflect a range of triggers. In an age where attention span is at a premium. Identifying the iconic trigger – whether light. iconic communication. ‘Zero tolerance’ was a packed phrase and people knew what it meant and what was expected without complex explanations. you can be stuck with architecture that you don’t like for a very. in another a sense of wildness. craftsmanship. The idea of ‘zero tolerance’ initiated in New York to combat crime was equally iconic. as in Bilbao. although some criteria may be common: utility and use value. its traditions and identity. very long time.Repertoires and Resistance 147 sion to create the first directly elected mayor for London had huge iconic resonance. It symbolized not just the creation of a leader committed to the city but a break with tradition and a new start. To succeed. Calatrava’s airport in Bilbao and Liebeskind’s Imperial War Museum in Salford come to mind. however. from the layers of a city’s history to the thrill of the new. as in the de Young art museum in San Francisco. where the Guggenheim Museum is part of a much wider economic and social regeneration initiative. materials used. What is right depends on context. is quality. The discussion of and arguments about what quality is at any given moment is at the heart of what makes an urban culture. if not leavened by an understanding and acceptance of deeper principles. Icons seem to be most accepted when they are part of a ‘head in the clouds and feet on the ground’ approach. a song or even a word like ‘zero’ – is the most difficult aspect as communication needs to relate to the place. In one instance calmness may be required. the meaning generated. And if they fail. Overriding everything. though. Even though it has an authoritarian feel linked to the word ‘tolerance’. can be dangerous and turn into manipulation and propaganda. However.

many voices. challenge and raise expectations. they can concentrate more on quality. jolt the imagination. many versions. Icons are projects or initiatives that are powerfully selfexplanatory.4 . Oslo airport and Amsterdam’s Borneo Sporenburg and West 8 housing development all meet these criteria.148 The Art of City-Making the visual forms that inhabit a culture. For example. galleries. is catching up and risking far higher costs for downstream image benefits. surprise. the Kiasma gallery in Helsinki. resonating with symbolic meaning behind which lies a powerful expression of the bicultural nature of the country: Recognizing the mana (authority) and significance of each of the two mainstreams of traditions and cultural heritage – Maoris and Pakehas – so providing the means for each to contribute to the nation’s identity … A place where truth is no longer taken for granted. An exception is New Zealand’s national museum – Te Papa. The name itself translates as ‘our place’. or the Guggenheim in Bilbao. especially in fashion. The London Eye is already rapidly becoming the marketing symbol for London after only five years. However. Museums. as is the Sydney Opera House. reflecting the confidence of Paris’ role in the industrial age. causing us to rethink the possibilities of Australia. minimalist John Pawson’s Calvin Klein flagship stores in New York or Norman Foster-designed Asprey’s in London and New York. The battle between content and container is key. Rarely do iconic buildings follow through this iconic approach into the content of the institution. but is understood to be the sum of many histories. emphasizing the courage and determination of the Basque people. Because they often do not have to strictly apply market criteria in the same way an office building needs to. These brand-building retail stores are visible for both the brand and the architect. The Eiffel Tower is iconic. Witness Koolhaas’s Prada. In time they become instantly recognizable and emblematic. commerce. so changing the perception of a place and expectations of it and for it. theatres and sports stadia in particular can communicate iconically. Such projects make us think again. Shopping provides a showcase of what is new in architecture as there are many new shops but only likely to be a few museums and galleries.

and third-tier cities simply have to try much harder in a hyper-mediated world. The key objective of big events. both by I. at the very least. Second. which is a symbolic home for all New Zealanders. Iconic status accrues more easily to those cities that are already seen as icons. A long. This frenzy has. although the desire to create new icons is hotting up at a fast pace. before we reach the marae atea (the traditional Maori meeting place). and Calatrava’s City of Arts and Science in Valencia. a tradition. Pei. festivals and icons is to increase drawing power. Others vying for iconic status among the cognoscenti include Richard Meier’s new Getty in Los Angeles.From Repertoires to Resistance 149 This sensibility is built. Some would argue that the list should also include the Walsall Arts Centre. M. In reality there are very few icons that have world recognition. dramatically increased discussion of standards of design. but who knows them internationally? They are unusual: the London Eye wheel. Anecdotally. the Louvre Pyramid in Paris and the Miho Museum near Kyoto. free-for-all of Amsterdam) can have iconic status – yet cities seek to take the apparently easy and expensive route of a building without sufficiently exploring other dimensions. Peckham Library and the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead. A building. The UK’s new national icons can be counted on one hand. a person (such as Nelson Mandela or Frank Gehry). reflection-inducing staircase proceeds past outward-looking bays towards the top. where a dramatic promontory projects us out towards the drama of sea and sky. I have found through my own work that only two buildings constructed in the last 40 years are consistently cited as immediately and popularly identifiable global icons: the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim in Bilbao. for example. Most icons built in the UK through its national lottery funds are of largely regional significance. Cornwall’s Eden Centre (an imaginative use of an old quarry in the middle of nowhere). noble. and Tate Modern (which had the inheritance both of an old building and a name). like Paris. This requires little explanation and is instinctively understood. in part. It helps . into the physical fabric. a festival (such as Edinburgh) or an atmosphere (such as the liberal. an event (such as the Love Festival in Berlin or the Notting Hill Carnival). such as the Life Centre in Newcastle or the Hull aquarium. This is in part because the cities themselves are not sufficiently known at an international level. It raises too the question of whether we can have icon or big event overload.

This redundant brewery site became subject to intense local discussion with the idea of incorporating it into the regeneration of its area rather than tearing it down. essentially the cultural Olympics for the visual arts. however. such as London’s Millennium . festivals and big events seek to provide the content for the iconic containers. Sometimes the use of these sites creates a dynamic for renewal. icons can be negative when they are deemed to fail. Significantly. an additional value in that they use many other unconventional locations which allow both locals and visitors to explore less well-known parts of the city. and by increasingly projecting the city as a ‘style’. you already have one: the Golden Gate Bridge on to which you can add another layer like Herzog de Meuron’s new de Young museum. either subjectively or objectively. like in San Francisco. Melbourne is interesting as it is seeking to define the city as a whole as an icon and stage by holistically using and orchestrating iconic triggers. from urban design to events. Within this repertoire. It is now a performance and exhibitions space. The larger festivals have.150 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry Iconic buildings are sprouting everywhere: Canberra’s National Museum when. An example is the use of the massive Binding-Brauerei for Kassel’s Documenta 11 in 2001.

and a spiral-shaped escalator – ‘all to get a sense of the real spectacle: the stores themselves’.Repertoires and Resistance 151 Dome. At the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. fireeaters in the parking lots. The same media frenzy that helps generate iconic impact is the same that can work in reverse. This in turn might create a more intense battle to create ever more outrageous or innovative structures that can blast through the miasmic information swamp. even once suggested charging customers entrance fees to come to their ‘experience’. Louis Vuitton. the distinction between the theme park and shopping centre will have all but evaporated. we are about to suffer icon overload. colonnades. There is also a growing worry that in a world of attention deficit. When the Wynn Las Vegas opened in April 2005.6 . Over to Las Vegas. When that happens. celebrity chefs rustling up gastronomic feasts in kitchen shops. Bluewater. Graaf. The shows like La Reve? ‘As an exercise in sheer power they’re unbeatable. Comme de Garçon in New York wooing customers through art exhibitions or chill-out areas. visitors stormed the entrance to see if his US$2. statues. one of Britain’s largest shopping complexes. The stores in Vegas are not just stores. and what Steve Wynn is up to counts. singing gondoliers whisk shoppers down a winding canal and street performers distract those on foot. Cartier. where consuming becomes a greater leisure ‘experience’:5 acrobats in the atrium. The crisis of meaning and experience ‘Shoppertainment’ is the next phase of retailing.7 billion luxury resort would live up to all the hype. Chanel – you get the picture. the artistic director ‘has presented us with dazzling images that stir the senses and the soul’. This means that people can only remember a distinct number of icons. Oscar de la Renta. And there they were with ‘dozens of designer shops tailored to one lifestyle – yours’: Dior. The Desert Passage at the Aladdin has a Moroccan bazaar theme in its mall and a thunderstorm that explodes every half hour. music bands in record shops. animatronic Bacchus and Venus sculptures. TV decorating personalities doing their DIY.’ Franco Dragone. At the Forum Caesar’s Palace you walk past gigantic fountains.’ ‘La Reve is a new world of dreams that will alter the theatre-goers experience of theatre forever. Gaultier. Ferrari Maserati. Manolo Blahnik. they’re the backdrop for shoppertainment.

learning and the experience of culture. Bars are becoming less like your local. It has sought to wrap the transaction of buying and selling into a broader experience to give it greater purpose. In this process. marketers are competing for customers’ attention – trying to break through the clutter and sensory overload to capture their attention and to try to give them a sense of depth. where customers and visitors participate in all-embracing sensory events. Shops are turned into stage sets. visiting a museum. The latter cost US$40 million for just 23. Their design can change as fast as an art gallery. It feels cramped and lacks appropriate lighting. museums can become more like extensions of entertainment venues. libraries.000 square feet of retail space. multimedia. which you could rely on being the same for years on end. The majority is in the basement.8 And then towards the ‘dream economy’? With greater choices on offer and given our higher expectations. shops can develop museum-like features. Vice versa. such as the Future Systems Selfridges store in Birmingham that looks like a reflective bubble. is a new mantra and a union of everyday consumption and spectacle. ‘beyond the experience economy’ is already being discussed. science centres. Suddenly for the mainstream. It involves creating settings and using every trick in the book. where ‘cultural quality’ is added to the menu of possible experiences. often blurring the boundaries between shopping. These trends are shaking the foundations of museums. whether for shopping. in which a transformation economy where people will pay for a life-changing series of experiences is upon us. the power of .7 The process is turning retailing into a part of the entertainment industry. cultural centres as well as virtually every aspect of the business world. shopping malls. eating at a restaurant. such as the new collection of museum spaces in Las Vegas. such as the Discovery Store or Hard Rock Café. conducting business-to-business activities or providing any personalized service from haircutting to arranging travel. theatrics and soundscapes increasingly move centre-stage. How is this done? By creating experiences that are so distinctive that they stand out in a crowded landscape.152 The Art of City-Making Commerce has recognized that consuming on its own increasingly provides insufficient meaning and satisfaction. installations and artworks. with its display of original artefacts. Design. or Koolhaas’ Prada stores in Las Vegas and New York. labelled ‘the experience economy’. This development. The ground floor has little merchandise. art galleries. Given that we are subject to the vagaries of fashion.

at its factory in Wolfsburg. evoke entertainment modes in presentation. Autostadt. wrapping everything up in a cohesive narrative. but at the same time go against them? Capturing the final frontier: Ad-creep and beyond We have allowed marketers to blast our senses with manufactured smells and sounds to affect our mood. In examining these conditions. Another is the response broadly defined as post-modernist. which views the jumble of modern conditions with ironic detachment. Leading imagineering companies work on corporate ‘brandlands’. Everything to charge you more for a cup of coffee. defensive appropriation of aspects of the marketplace by cultural institutions. They may borrow commercial criteria in selection processes. We have been too relaxed . Everything in order to make a bigger story out of a mundane product. At the same time. Niketown’s museum-like stores. and storytelling techniques are applied to projects like the Sephora and Niketown stores and Volkswagen’s experience centre. is it possible to identify and assert cultural values and priorities that are based neither on resistance nor on capitulation. that deliver a memorable message by telling a compelling story that reflects magic and wonder. special effects. there is a corresponding. Casa Bacardi’s tells the story of rum. which are destinations.Repertoires and Resistance 153 Disneyland is seen as salvation and organizations are seeking to create their own ‘brandlands’. the market economy has recognized other aspirations in its public beyond consumption alone – a desire for engagement. this viewpoint treats this complexity only whimsically. appropriating stylistic aspects as it suits. Borrowings and uneasy graftings are one approach to understanding the interconnection of culture and the marketplace. In effect. the Rainforest restaurant creates a plastic jungle environment. In its latest guise. cultural ‘discoverylands’ and ‘learninglands’. or justify their existence in terms of marketplace goals. involvement and participation. create facilities nearly indistinguishable from shopping experiences. engaging visuals and soaring musical scores. to feel at ease with markets. Commercial enterprises have begun to take on core roles associated with culture and cultural institutions: The ‘educational’ experiences of Disney World’s Epcot Center. and epic bookstores such as Borders come to mind. both real and virtual. Theme park-style technology.

buses and other mass transit. on fruit. Often there is a thrill to the spectacles of fast life and it can have a seductive quality. elevators.12 Gratification over fulfilment We have speeded up experience. on beach sand and on toilet walls. doctors surgeries. We rush so fast. In this mental evolu- . It studies the subliminal responses of the brain to adverts. the inner workings of our minds? Neuromarketing charts the neural activity that leads to our selections in the supermarket and the voting booth. brands and other messages littering the cultural landscape. so achieving the complete corporate manipulation of people.’ notes company executive Adam Koval. on trains.154 The Art of City-Making about ad-creep. TV programmes in an innocent guise are packed with embedded advertising. but have overloaded our senses with information and have dazzled them. Yet too often this impact is without meaning. The urban environment is a canvas for adverts.’ as the organization Commercial Alert comments acerbically. cinemas. it is a blur. on escalator rails. The aim is to transform otherwise rational people into consumption-driven robots. We are compelled to watch and listen to tamper-proof TV sets in airports. Paying for a technology that makes people buy less? Sounds very unlikely.11 Those involved in neuromarketing try to make it sound like nothing special. on park benches. on the internet. They simply want. convenience stores. The means are to trigger neural activity in various ways so as to modify our behaviour.10 ‘Let that quote linger in your mind. gas stations. Atlanta’s Brighthouse Institute for Thought Sciences claims it is closing the gap between business and science – with the goal of getting us to behave the way corporations want. Alternatively their research ‘could be used to shut off a buy button as well as turn it on’. on ATMs. Public space has become advertising space. desperate to get more out of each moment. ‘What it really does is give unprecedented insight into the consumer mind. airport lounges. hospitals. on garbage cans. on roundabouts. they claim. No place is sacred. which has allowed us to be assaulted by adverts in schools. We have learnt to absorb quickly.9 Will we respond at last to the assault on the final frontier. offices. ‘to help consumers understand their true desires’. And it will actually result in higher product sales or in brand preference or in getting customers to behave the way they want them to behave. But the result is we experience less.

Fashion can take on a life of its own that can send cities on a trajectory on which they do not want to be. the shrill. what it is producing. image and fashion is both an industry in its own right that may be significant for a city and also a means of putting the icing on the cake to reinforce its attractiveness to other investors in its industries. Proliferating needs get us on to the treadmill of consumptive desire. A city’s resilience needs to reinforced and buttressed by ‘real’ economic drivers. What cities look for is to lodge in assets that are difficult to dislodge. such as a stock exchange or major university. We are left permanently hungry. and how open its investment environment is.13 URBAN RESONANCE The city as a fashion item Cities are now part of the fashion parade. It is unlikely that the New York exchange will locate elsewhere or that Harvard will move from greater Boston. It has a psychological effect on residents too. mulling over things. its generation of employment. the loud – and miss out on subtler intricacies – the enjoyment of lingering. Being deemed to be part of a ‘cool city’ gives people confidence and in . Nevertheless. Fashionability is used by cities as a global positioning tool in their attempt to anchor or shift their identity. shopping is arguably the last form of public activity. Having the right image strengthens the image of a city’s assets. its research and development capacity. To be is to buy. the ability to process vast amounts of information is almost machine-like and we lose the capacity for reflection. simply being. it will never be sated. such as what wealth it is creating. The effect on the city is dramatic. But induced and perpetuated by the media and retailing industries. from car manufacturing to IT and finance. Avoiding this fate is therefore of paramount importance. We are in danger of living solely through consumption. as Rem Koolhaas notes. It can create greed that needs to be permanently fed. where you go with the intention of being dazzled and where. But being fashionable is almost by definition unsustainable and on its own is incapable of achieving long-term recognition. Places need to be made into destinations. In this world of bright lights and logos you only look and experience the things that jump out at you – the hype.Repertoires and Resistance 155 tion.

Places like Hong Kong and Taipei. Most of us are living a step or two behind. a reputation for trendsetting.’ ‘Vienna is the gateway to the East. for example. a burst of creativity expressed itself in relief. Once cities reach a certain level of development they begin to shift towards service industries and their capacity to consume. Rather than buying into Western design aesthetics. New York. they found their own voice and Eastern designers began to make their . fall off the radar screen. Driven by the trend industry and travel market. more to the city than waltzing. to Barcelona under Franco and to Shanghai when China was a more closed society. the Paris of the East. Lipizzaner horses and Sacher Torte. always transforming. investors and cultural types. increases. The interplay of economic opportunity. once seen as low-grade production centres for textiles. construction possibilities. a position in the world of arts and heritage. London and Amsterdam have managed to do. a raft of places are ‘rediscovered’. the designer capital of Europe is the essence of urban chic.’ These cities were dormant giants whose energies were suppressed by conflict. Yet with their intrinsic substance and their cultural resources. The principle of fashion is changeability.’ a headline might read. from heritage and museums to political power. Only a few urban fashionistas can stay close to the pace. ‘Move over London – Berlin is coming up the slipstream. especially of clothes. they have the assets to re-emerge and create a global resonance to attract attention.’ ‘Relive Eastern grandeur in St Petersburg. entertainment and travel. inevitably seek to move up the value chain. Visibility comes to capitals of countries or regions as they inevitably draw the power brokers to themselves: politicians. is coming back with a vengeance. departing before it arrives. As the world production centre inexorably shifts east. ‘Shanghai.156 The Art of City-Making turn makes the city cooler. The international movement of ideas and people goes with it and the fashion media industries play a strong role.’ ‘Barcelona. When a resolution was found. Others. as happened to Berlin and Vienna in the Cold War. and the lure for tourists reinforces their position as hubs. always moving. rather than borrowing from elsewhere. cities move in and out of fashion and only a few keep up with the pace for the long term as. thus creating greater desirability in a virtuous circle. through historical accident. the large Eastern production empires hired in-house Western designers. Yet as places gained confidence.

This shifted focus on to things Japanese. Both are part of the repertoire for cities to grab attention for themselves and project distinction and distinctiveness: . David Tang. The association of fashion is partly how Paris and Milan built a core aspect of their image and reputation. Lu Lu Cheung. Harrison Wong. In the process of fostering its own. The drive to redefine fashion as ‘art. It was disappointed it could not get the Olympics. and the Harajuku crowd in Tokyo are as hip as their contemporaries anywhere in the world. the same process happened in Japan. Japanese design first made a real impression on the fashion world back in 1982. Since then. when 12 designers showed their collections in Paris at the ready-to-wear shows. is reinforced by such shopping temples’. which went to its main competitor. and so took the consolation prize of the World Expo 2010 instead. Beijing and Guangzhou are being advised to rethink their role and to allow a move of their industrial facilities to second-tier areas like Hefei. ‘to create Shanghai with an image of world metropolis. a few such as Keita Maruyama have been added to this established list. major production. Already.Repertoires and Resistance 157 own name: Vivienne Tam. In terms of global awareness. it is street fashion that leads the way. Already known at home. the names of Beijing and Shanghai designers will be on everyone’s lips. with Tokyo as its hub. The fashion focus shapes the physical environment as the big bosses of fashion are ‘now competing for high profile architects to create the ultimate accessory – extravagant buildings designed to impress’. Yoji Yamamoto. Kawakubo Rei of Comme des Garcons and Hanae Mori shot into world consciousness. at the apex.’19 This is part of Shanghai’s strategy to play on a bigger stage. especially in Tokyo. finance houses and.20 Fashion and art live together in an odd symbiosis: art contributes to fashion’s cutting-edge feel and fashion helps art’s fashionability. Soon. Two decades before. Behind this lies a mighty economic infrastructure of market intelligence. As China Daily noted in 2003. removed from commerce and something more than mere clothing. The aim is to make the city a world centre of fashion. Both already have their Fashion Weeks. Shanghai. Nanjing and Wuxi. Beijing. Sophie Wong. and to promote export and import in the fashionable fields … we are going to organize [the] second Shanghai Fashion Week. Issey Miyake. with this refocus. catwalks. indigenous fashion designers. Kenzo. the city itself becomes fashionable because it is part of the media whirlwind.

Taipei. linked to an ethnic look and shabby chic: the chic of poverty and the unknown. London and Paris. downplayed chic. And unlike New York. . design and fashion. Drawing power and the resonance of cities The drawing power concept pulls the various aspects of a city’s desirability together. The international executives. Accra briefly appeared for a moment.158 The Art of City-Making I think it’s going to happen here… I’ll be surprised if in five to ten years Taipei is not considered one of the great cities of the world for doing contemporary art… I’ve been struck by the youthful. As the urban fashionistas scour the world for new hip places. Most importantly. Mumbai is the city to experience urban India and Bollywood films help keep the media profile in view. Then its Western protagonists out-shabbied themselves and had to back-pedal so that the clothing could be universally appealing. industrialists. Bollywood’s popularity in the West has grown exponentially. It is the blend of elements that make a city attractive and desirable. investors.22 suddenly becomes a hive for the hip where trends are made. drive the consumption patterns on and the battle of the brands keeps attention focused. The new disposable income of the new middle classes provides the opportunity once a certain stage of development has been reached.21 As a city’s fashion status increases. And so it moves around. and with that comes Indian music. Taipei is relatively affordable for young artists from Taiwan and abroad. Will Lagos make its star turn or Johannesburg? Buenos Aires and Rio are due for a comeback. once ‘the ugliest city of the planet’. it looks at what repels people from a place. the advantages of cheapness disappear. It was an ugly. with their demand for international-level services. Hong Kong is the safe starting point to get a glimpse of the Chinese miracle. retention and leakage of power. And different aspects will tempt different audiences: power brokers. they had to coil back and so Accra was less in the limelight. What will be the next stop on the fashionable city treadmill? Anywhere is fair game. Taipei enjoys an unselfconscious and freewheeling city life that lends itself to an explosion in the arts. It assesses the dynamics of attraction. vibrant art talent here. Equally. resources and talent. Having gone out on a limb.

. in other cases because the various data are not brought together within a broader explanatory conceptual framework such as overarching drawing power. employment sector totals. The same applies to transnational statistics. connections. tourists. say the image of a city or its resilience. The currently available data on cities. as distinct from relational measures of flows. which is ironic given the mantra about the importance of networking. environmental. The axes of power and relations to be looked at should include social and cultural power as well as political. however. Sometimes this is because an element is not measured at all.Repertoires and Resistance 159 shoppers. mere ranking of cities says nothing about relations between cities. usually derived from the census. social and cultural data are looked at in isolation and rarely in terms of mutual impacts upon each other. There is a dominance of attribute measures over relational measures in social research. The Global and World Cities (GaWC) project in Loughborough23 reminds us how out of date our measurement systems for assessing city dynamics are. it is no such thing: hierarchies can only be defined as relations between objects. These include heritage or tourism power. headquarter totals. But there are other sources of power. Lastly. ‘In this process cities are effectively de-networked’. For example. Economic. We measure static quantities. property developers. – cities can be ordered by size in various ways that may look like an urban hierarchy. Since data can be compiled from official statistics on cities to provide quantities of attributes – population totals. The sum of these threads of attractiveness creates the resonance the city projects. GaWC note: There is a great temptation to interpret rankings as hierarchies. If this is positive. Many of the components can be quantified. Of course. the massive concentration of flows of information across the North Atlantic and the vast connection networks linking London and New York are simply not picked up in ‘official statistics’. especially within niche sectors. linkages and other less tangible relations. the results will be shown through economic. yet much needs to be evaluated through peer-group assessment and qualitative judgements. such as population or gross domestic product. social and others indicators. etc. which are based on the nation. do not allow us to comprehensively assess drawing power. administrative and economic power.

in my experience. With 500. How exclusive it might be or how it might attract inward investors would also be considered. Mumbai by contrast. engineering or high-tech manufacturing.24 An effect of being a talent magnet is the ability of a city to get outsiders to associate with it.82 million as against 1. Mumbai’s Dharavi is the largest slum in the world. This might be to do with a historical event. becomes in its own right a source of pulling power. such as the metro. That talent itself. those who know they are coming from a place that is going somewhere derive energy from that. The positive or negative resonance of a city affects its citizens and they behave accordingly. if it clusters in a place. memories and associational richness a city establishes for itself. Yet the judgement of how powerful these assets are would not be exclusively based on high levels of tourism. This was the initial trigger that made Silicon Valley happen. And this is made up of tangibles and intangibles – it is the multiple facts. but the infrastructure. Other sources of potential power include research or industrial specialisms. an image or its role as an industrial engine. is very good. when in fact it has a far greater proportion of slum dwellers: 5. By contrast. Kolkata is still seen as the epitome of urban hell and slum-living and is not attractive to inward investors. It is difficult to measure.49 million in Kolkata and 1. This gives a city more opportunity to be selective and perhaps attract greater talent. because of its association with Bollywood. It refers to the death of 123 British prisoners who had perished in an airless dungeon in 1756 after the Nawab of Bengal incarcerated them but. stories. especially to post-graduates.160 The Art of City-Making where clearly a Florence or a St Petersburg would score highly. positive or negative. such as the hardcore disciplines of computing.82 million in Delhi. even though objectively . All power resources need tracking. The overall effect of drawing power is the resonance it creates. People often have strong views about a place. to attend events like conferences.000 inhabitants. There are some dreadful conditions. is seen as glamorous. which in turn have spin-off effects as people get to know the city and become ambassadors by sending out good messages. partly as a result. yet. The reality is far away. The phrase ‘black hole of Calcutta’ will always blight Kolkata’s prospects. people in places that have a negative perception of their city lack confidence and have less motivation and energy. images. even if they have not been there. Another source of power is the attractiveness of learning institutions.

’ The same is true for intangibles such as image. Perhaps most irksome to the city of Leicester was the renaming of East Midlands airport as Nottingham-East Midlands. Getting an institution to base itself in a city is more sustainable than being only fashionable. many of whom moved from Leicester. Yet being fashionable plays its part in getting on the radar screen in the first place and perhaps attracting the key institution. ‘50 per cent of my advertising works great – I just don’t know which 50 per cent. At the global level the stakes are even higher as cities battle to attract institutions such as the European Central Bank. The collective psychology of a city plays a significant role in achieving its objectives. It affects its ambition.Repertoires and Resistance 161 they may have no more talent than someone from a place lacking confidence. Nottingham always had the regional broadcasting authority. Conversely. . But it can be hit and miss. the balance has tipped to Nottingham. If these only relate to a city and region. the regional arts council and regional headquarters of national companies. such as Birmingham in the past or present-day Shanghai or even Hong Kong. level and importance of legislative functions or government institutions based in a city or region. companies headquartered in the city. The economic indicators are well known. events and so on. Taipei’s or Osaka’s current difficulties with the rise of mainland China affects them deeply. That is why we can talk of ‘can do’ or entrepreneurial places. the presence of key research centres. This inexorably reinforced Nottingham’s power. such as the value-added created per employee. Leicester and Nottingham in Britain were equal regional powerhouses in the East Midlands. There is a symbiotic relationship between the different areas of power. the better. even though Leicester is more conveniently placed for London. Over the last five years. even though it is in Leicestershire. its chutzpah and its vision. however. and political and economic power often reinforce one another. then the position is weak. The more national and international institutions based in the city. Forms of drawing power25 Political power implies assessing the number. which Frankfurt won over London. For example. This became a point of leverage to attract the regional strategic economic authority. As Henry Ford said. and international trade fairs.

selfevident and transparent. for example. Cities can accrue power and desirability by capturing a territory that others also want to occupy. is not enough. They help companies assess where to locate. theatres and art galleries. and Lasalle’s World Winning Cities programme. So the relevant cultural indicator may be levels of tolerance or interaction between differing groups. The container itself. or through the views of the streetwise. where local job creation and local sourcing are important. and where they fall in the national and international hierarchy. Lang. as do initiatives such as the solar region project or Vauban environmental district.162 The Art of City-Making Cultural power involves the assessment of the status of various institutions in the city. Its strong environmental profile – car use has remained stable over the last two decades. so the city is an attractor of resources and talent in this sphere. nightlife and overall design should be assessed. The same is true for environmental damage. These softer issues are now central to the quality of life and competitiveness surveys of organizations such as Mercer’s. A good economic indicator may cause a cultural. Usually many Nordic cities as well as places like Zurich and Geneva come top. In addition there is a trendiness or hipness factor. Of most importance is the content of these containers for culture. the Economist Intelligence Unit or Jones. This is largely judged by peer-group assessments. competitiveness is a key criterion because it creates the resilience a city needs. Yet to gain from such an asset. A social indicator such as levels of crime may require an assessment of the costs of crime to be set against an economic growth figure. even if it is an iconic building. Within an overall assessment. Economic vitality causes large movements of people. The city of Freiburg is instructive. food writing. such as museums. Its significance is growing because of the increasing interna- . social or environmental problem. where quality of restaurants. it needs to be known about – tangible. Being competitive is essentially about doing something well and better than somewhere else. A range of cities have built reputations on these that create downstream spin-offs. This reinforces its position. This is where quality of life and environmental and sustainability power come in. despite growth in the population – has attracted major eco-research institutes. Measuring the performance and competitiveness of a city across various dimensions is problematic because good performance according to one indicator may mean poor performance in another.

Gifted and talented people are attracted to such places. especially in tourism literature. access to venture capital. Statistically. if not them. the media needs feeding. the quality and skills of the workforce. a city is doing well. technological innovation. Environmentally. it concerns the rank and status of educational and cultural institutions and activities. one expects and wants clever locals to leave their city.Repertoires and Resistance 163 tional mobility of investment and skills. and the rank and status of local firms as well as their products and services locally. Part of talent is the capacity for creative thinking which harnesses and maximizes competitive advantages. If it is positive. to broaden horizons and learn about the wider world. then talented people from elsewhere. There is a persistent tendency for place-marketing literature to focus on clichés. nationally and internationally. Socially. Therefore the talent agenda is rising to the fore and a primary indicator for a city should be its talent churn. Like a voracious beast. it is a city’s sustainability agenda. are at best partial and at worst fictitious. and similar techniques are applied to their marketing. usually only accentuating hypothetical posi- . such as a car. Cities are now being treated like any other product. competitiveness is expressed in terms of profitability. it will perform better across all dimensions. For example. but a city also wants them to return or. to represent places as culturally homogeneous and not to show their diversity or distinctiveness. Something as complex as a place cannot be marketed in onedimensional terms like an insurance policy. computer or breakfast cereal. levels of investment. it concerns the quality of the relationships between social groups (including race relations) as well as the achievements of a city’s voluntary sector. Culturally. Cities on the radar screen Cities are now a media event and city-branding is the process by which media attention is secured. and cities are part of the feeding frenzy. because they have vitality and they help individuals achieve more. how well the city is networked at a human and technological level. which is the balance between talented people moving in and out (who or what is talent will be subject to debate and is context-driven). The identities of cities being peddled. bland mix of facilities and attractions for every area. if a place has more talented people than somewhere else. and particularly how they are seen by peer groups. Economically. promoting a similar.

a survey of 77 brochures of British cities showed the pages of brochures to be crowded with images of the past. branding a place is about claiming territory in people’s imagination. It has to be alive. Clearly a city is an amalgam of personalities. promotional messages from different agencies are rarely aligned. It needs to be sharp.27 To create brand symbols of desirability. every aspect from manufacturing vigour and research capacity to architecture and sex is used in city-branding. often sanitized experience. For instance.26 This precisely at the moment when Britain is seeking to project itself as ‘cool’. The difficulty is making the old seem relevant. official tourism material. There is often a conflict between the inward-investment promotional literature. knights in armour. new and vital. with competitive intensity increasing. which usually projects a breezy forward-looking tone. An article on the ‘sexiness’ of cities felt that Paris or Venice were such well-worn names that they did not trigger the imagination to the same degree as before and that Stockholm exuded now a stronger sexy feel. This would not be a problem if the images had been balanced with others. which can be backward-looking. The very creativity that has made places vital is lacking in the practice and literature being used to promote ‘places’. Manchester and Bristol have an underground gutsiness that defines their identity. The underlying criticism is that they depict a truncated. it needs energy and it has to play the fashion game. but brochures lack a sense of authenticity or reality. murderers and millionaires’. which project being at the cutting edge of style. Cities are continually trying to broaden their appeal and change perceived images they consider false. In a crowded media landscape. perhaps telling an artificial story that creates an unfulfillable desire. memorable and work on different registers of consciousness at the same time. but generally they are not. The globalization process is a daily reality for large cities to deal with and. and streetwise magazines. Frankfurt once had the undesirable image of being a city of ‘Marxists. Eighty-five per cent of the sample had a heritage theme for the cover – people in historic costume. Further. It is a short cut.164 The Art of City-Making tives rather than reflecting better realities. it is hard for cities to create a sharp focus for themselves. gentle country peasants and local fisherfolk enjoying a pipe at dusk with their dog on the quayside. which led to a long-term campaign to invest heavily in cultural facilities to project the city as more sophisticated and . creative and innovative and when cities such as Glasgow.

These alternative approaches seek to pick up on local flavour and look at a bigger palette. behind the rise of favela chic in Brazil was a counter-branding strategy alluding to the gangs. I was personally involved in a strategic set of meetings with government officials in Johannesburg in autumn 2000 when South Africa was discussing its branding as a tourism destination. graffiti and poverty as something truly authentic. Selling urban identity and the individuals within a city as a commodity is problematic given the differences between outsider and insider perceptions. Most importantly. The trendspotters are on the look-out for which city is high on the hip register. The meeting began with old-style marketing messages: sun. the group realized that South Africa’s history of conflict was perhaps its best-known feature and that the country’s journey of self-discovery could be reflected in tourism by inviting the visitor to take part in their own self-discovery. it acknowledges conflict in cities. community representatives. environmentalists. The hippest clubs and street scenes in the world are in continual flux. Hong Kong. Dubai is intensely trying to broaden its appeal. It reflects and looks at the good and bad. such as those of artists. Warsaw and Tel Aviv. involve . The challenge for city-marketers is to reflect the associational richness of a city and to find simple ways of playing on these registers and layers of interest. Cape Town. One day Miami. New York. When people do not participate in the story that is being sold about them. historians. Rather than seeing city-marketing as a narrow discipline. then London.Repertoires and Resistance 165 build a series of high-profile museums including Richard Meier’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Hans Hollein’s Museum of Modern Art. Stepping back from these core brands. For instance. beyond shopping. lions. it creates resistance. sand. Beirut. A more culturally attuned approach to city-marketing takes a far broader perspective. cutting across the public and private sectors and involving a wider variety of insights. it has honesty. Amsterdam seeks to reflect its creativity to make the city part of the life choice of creative people around the world. more integrated and multidisciplinary approaches should be used. as a leisure and knowledge centre. Then for the aficionados there is the ‘I heard it through the grapevine’ tendency: Moscow. urban geographers and psychologists. Even Singapore emerged briefly as Asia’s gay hub. the next Ibiza. There is a danger of always falling into the fashion trap. Berlin.

the next Hong Kong – an endless list of the ‘next thing’. we engage little with them. Tourists mostly borrow someone else’s landscape for their own personal pleasures and needs. thrown away the next. the strength and sheer scale of activity. Frenzied tourism has transformed the way we treat places. Hong Kong or Tokyo. where you do not travel physically but explore the world through the internet. In the hierarchy of travel. to absorb outside influence without being too absorbed? In the resilient city. rather like we treat clothes. Niagara Falls. tourists are seen as mere consumers. It is often better to look at a picture or watch a film than visit them because it is difficult to see them in the flesh. Their impact is minimized. BORROWING THE LANDSCAPE Tourism is vast and has transformed thousands of cities. It is one reason. Think of Agra and the route to the Taj Mahal. meet a local or go to their home. we use them (and abuse them). Many cities are drowned by tourists and have had their lifeblood drained out of them. business and the industry means the tourist is a bit player. One day Prague. let alone sense their awe. It may be an urban buzz or a beach. smelly food and sticky drinks impinge on the experience. why armchair tourism and virtual tourism have become popular. even though most of us want to pretend we are travellers. Barcelona’s Sagrada Famiglia. at least – of a better class: amateur anthropologists. money aside. How under those conditions can we find the ‘true soul’ of a place that seems to be authentically itself: resilient enough through inner strength to take on the blemishes. flashing cameras. for good and for bad. Venice. whereas travellers are – to themselves. books or TV. With so many people there is little respect as chatter. and now Keralan beaches and Mayan temples. As tourists we treat those landscapes or cities as commodities – used one moment. such as New York. We see the cities briefly. We give nothing back except a bit of money and rarely do we speak the language.166 The Art of City-Making too a wider range of people who actually live in places to help form the marketing messages. The insider (the resident) rather than the outsider (the tourist) defines . their identity squashed by the sheer mass of human bodies crowding into sites. Tourists rarely converse deeply with the place.

A city with too many tourists is like a home that receives too many guests. you search for a home from home and that is truly borrowing the landscape. Health tourism. Think of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Yet cities become a stage set when the balance is wrong and the outsider overwhelms. The tourism industry as we know it can be dated back to 5 July 1841 when Thomas Cook. It is about transgressing and escaping from everyday reality. by getting out of yourself you can reflect on and affirm who you are. there was a humility and a respect for place. in complete contrast. organized transportation and entertainment for 570 people travelling from Leicester to Loughborough to attend a temperance rally. From the 16th century onwards it became fashionable for sons of the nobility to take an extended Grand Tour of Europe as an educational experience. which provided an active social life for their fashionable visitors. But it is important to appreciate that they are committed to the city by living there. where religious activities and fun and games are mixed. At the same time. a Baptist minister. helped banking to develop and. They helped create cities like Bath. such as catching a lift on boats bound for ports near religious sites. but the pilgrims already saw the experience as a holiday. Pilgrimages created the souvenir business. They give something back by providing their ideas and labour. used all forms of transport. there is little time to be yourself and get on with your life. inventively. He . Tourism has recently opened in China and already the beautiful Lijiang is complaining about losing its identity. Karlsbad or Baden Baden. For the English abroad it can mean the clichés: fish and chips. In between there are those on their way to becoming insiders or temporary insiders and they are necessary to give the city new blood. The contradictory effects of tourism come from its mixed motives. The equivalent today is perhaps the backpacker trip. You let go of yourself and at best you enrich yourself. old Venice or even the strong city of Barcelona with Las Ramblas and new city beach. The word derives from the ‘holy day’. The purpose was religious. Or. which represent two kinds of yearning. such as balls and tournaments. Where does this leave the city visited? The history of European tourism originated with the medieval pilgrimage.Repertoires and Resistance 167 the city’s self-perception. lukewarm beer and a cup of tea. such as visiting spas to take the waters. developed early and became popular by the 18th century.

‘There’s a haunting sense that maybe Prague could become an urban ‘an all-in package for all-in drinkers’.28 What a supreme irony that the temperance movement’s fight against alcohol shares a history with tourism! We have now turned full circle as cities and holiday spots around the world. food.000 tickets were sold in the county of Yorkshire alone. We like all that. from Prague and Dublin to Goa and Bali’s Kuta Bay. such as help getting passports. all doing the same thing – all in strip clubs. For instance. Stand on Wenceslas Square on any Saturday evening and you will see lots of British stag groups. For five shillings.168 The Art of City-Making thought that the new power of the railways could help the cause of temperance. In Dublin’s Temple Bar area an association called TASCQ (Traders in the Area Supporting the Cultural Quarter) is actively discouraging such visitors and block bookings of hotels. 165. Listen.29 As Peter Hall noted. prefiguring big-event tourism.praguepissup. lodging and traveller’s cheques. Cheap beer. it’s a beautiful city. Beautiful women … culture. Cook’s big break came with arranged package tours for the Great Exhibition in London that took place in 1851. transportation. And they openly admit they’ve come to Prague for the cheap booze – and cheap sex: There’s fifteen of us in various places. eat and sleep in London. fantastic. But what we’re saying is. Cook argued that the lower and middle classes would be better off if they saved their money for trips rather than spending it on booze. Tour operators tout attractions such as Prague Pissup. language guides. and the architecture is fantastic. following the curve from charming discovery to mass tourism hell to tourist slum in one . Cook arranged similar tours to the Paris Exhibition and developed many of the services we know today. (www. a person could travel to the exhibition. fight to control binge drinking and drink-induced bad behaviour by tourists. Fantastic. it’s easy to get to – two hours from the UK. the traditional English habit of a ‘stag night’ or a ‘hen night’ before a wedding has taken on international dimensions. it’s built up a culture now that’s a stag weekend … and people enjoying themselves. beautiful blonde-haired culture.

Repertoires and Resistance 169 generation.’30 And expansion is on the way as the lure of Prague wears off: The cheap, beautiful East European cities like Tallinn, Budapest, Ljubljana and Krakow are next on the list of the Prague Pissup organizers. As they say, ‘The groups pump money into local businesses – hotels, bars, restaurants, taxis and so on. These blokes spend a lot more than the average tourist.’31 Tourism exploded from tiny beginnings into the world’s largest industry with finance.32 ‘The Lonely Planet is not lonely anymore’ reads a headline in the Guardian.33 Tourism employed 235 million people in 2006, which is one in every 15 jobs, and this is projected to reach 280 million (one in 11 jobs) by 2016.34 Its economic value was US$6.5 trillion (US$6,500,000,000,000) in 2006 and is expected to double between 2007 and 2016, 4.2 per cent annual growth in real terms. It represented 3.6 per cent of global GDP in 2006.35 Yet when considering both direct and indirect contributions to the world economy such as the growth in tourism-related businesses (cleaning companies, caterers, and so on), the industry is estimated at 10.3 per cent of gross domestic product.36 In 1950 there were 25 million international tourists. By 2005 it had risen to an estimated 800 million – an astonishing 24-fold growth. This was aided by the rise of low-budget airlines and cheap airfares, whose prices are cheap because there is no tax on their fuel. It is the environment that is paying the consequences. Of these tourists two-thirds are European, the equivalent of one trip per European. In 2004, just over half of all international tourists travelled for leisure and recreation, business travel accounted for 16 per cent and around a quarter had other motives like visiting friends and relatives, religious purposes and health treatments. Together, they spent US$623 billion on souvenirs, hotels, restaurant meals, museum tickets and the like. The World Trade Organization reports that the world’s 6.5 billion people produced US$8.9 trillion worth of merchandise exports in 2004 and international tourism represented 7 per cent of this total. This is a bit less than the total world agricultural exports of US$780 billion for that year; about twothirds of the US$990 billion in energy exports; more than twice the value of global steel trade; 40 per cent above the US$450 billion textiles and clothing trade; and 20 times the US$30 billion in annual arms exports.37 Tourism is growing at a faster rate than trade as a whole. In 1950, 25 million international tourists spent US$2.1 billion equivalent against a world export total of US$125 billion. The ratio of

170 The Art of City-Making tourist spending to export revenue was 1 to 60. In 2005 it was 1 to 13.38 And just wait for China and India to take off. For instance, in 2005 31 million Chinese flew abroad, admittedly most to Macau and Hong Kong, and by 2020 it is estimated it will be 100 million39 – and how many to Europe? 10 million? To Britain, perhaps 1 million? And the Chinese go to quirky places. In Germany, the second most visited place by Chinese tourists after Berlin is Metzingen, a small town in the Black Forest unknown to most Germans, but home to a giant Hugo Boss discount store – since joined by another 20-odd factory outlets for designer labels. The Chinese already account for 11 per cent of the annual US$121 billion luxury goods industry and this is projected to rise to 24 per cent by 2009, surpassing the Americans, Japanese and Europeans.40 But tourism is a two-way process and more will go to China, especially with the Olympic hype, and India. In 2006 alone China is building 48 new airports. There are also 120 million middle-class Indians longing to travel. People travel for bizarre reasons. Everything is now a potential tourism resource. Take any topic, theme or purpose and it has tourism potential. Does this show endless human curiosity or is it simply boredom that needs satiating? Obvious niche tourism includes: cultural tourism, like visiting museums and galleries; heritage tourism, such as visiting old canals and railways; ecotourism, which is responsible tourism that includes programmes that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment and enhances the cultural integrity of local people; sports tourism, which follows teams; adventure tourism; and gambling tourism. The raison d’être of places like Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Macau or Monte Carlo is gambling, and others are increasingly getting in on the act. And sex tourism is often connected. In spite of the gloss, there is a seediness. The more unusual tourist pursuits include: disaster tourism, not to help out but to be a voyeur; dark tourism, to visit places associated with death; pop-culture tourism, where you visit a particular location after reading about it or seeing it in a film; perpetual tourism, where wealthy individuals are always on vacation to avoid being resident in any country where they might be liable for tax. Not forgetting vacilando – where the process of travelling is more important than the destination – and the quirky experimental tourism.41 In this latter form of tourism destinations

Repertoires and Resistance 171 are chosen not on standard tourism merits but on the basis of an idea or experiment. For instance, try the ‘bureaucratic odyssey’, which recommends that you: Take a tour of the following places known for their administrative function (rather than their tourist value): waiting rooms, social services offices, town halls, police stations. Use the facilities and resources, such as the photocopier, brochures, magazines, and sample the gastronomic delights on offer like the canteen, coffee machine, sandwich shop.42 Another is by-night travel: ‘Arrange to visit a place and arrive at night. Spend the night exploring the town and return home at dawn the next day.’43 Experimental tourism reminds us that the ordinary and mundane can be strange places. By making strange what is familiar to us, we do not have to travel to far-flung clichés to escape the everyday or to explore our identities. Indeed, we do not need to leave our bedrooms. An atlas and a pair of dice may be all that are required for a journey. Experimental tourism cannot, by its very nature, become a growth industry. However, its ethos is not to be sniffed at. At present, much tourism represents a tired rehearsal of a song we do not understand the words to. We visit monuments, museums and churches because this is what tourists do, but vary rarely to explore the history, culture or spirituality of a place. This is not to deny the potential resonance of such places but to question the tourist– destination relationship itself. As it is currently configured, the tourist gaze brings no new life to places. Experimental tourism suggests that we look afresh at things, start from scratch. By so questioning the received wisdom of heritage and travel brochure narratives, new ideas about ourselves and others are generated, lending a new dynamic to tourism which isn’t just about taking but also giving. Further, the ordinary day-to-day facilities of a place can often offer the most rewarding experiences. Hong Kong’s transport system is a case in point. It has great diversity and is affordable, frequent, always on time and a joy to use. For instance, the midlevel escalators are, at 800m, the longest escalator system in the world. It is free. First thing in the morning they take people down

172 The Art of City-Making the steep Hong Kong island hill to work. Then at 10am they switch directions and take people up the incline. The escalator floats past the ever-inventive shops that advertise themselves on the higher floors of buildings, creating a strip of high-level shops. The areas it passes below have regenerated, affirming the truism that transport is the maker and breaker of cities. The Peak Tram funicular railway is a more typical tourist pull but it is still heavily used by locals because it gives an astonishing view of the city. The Star Ferry that runs continuously between Hong Kong island and Kowloon gives you a glimpse of the city from sea level for practically nothing. Hundred-year-old double-decker trams trundle around Hong Kong Island at a leisurely pace. The MTR underground system is clean, fast and very frequent and the Airport Express Link speeds you to and from the airport while you watch the personal TV that is in the back of every seat. When even transport is pleasurable in its finest detail, there’s no need to fetishize obscure historical relics in order to create an experience for the tourist. The everyday becomes as central to the tourism experience as more rarefied cultural attractions on offer. In fact, getting a visa extension, reporting a lost camera to the police or washing your clothes in a local launderette are, one could argue, somewhat more authentic experiences than eating ice-cream on a gondola, drinking beer in lederhosen or watching the Changing of the Guard in London. So why is it that the tourist industry peddles such invented traditions in the name of ‘authenticity’? Travel literature is fixed on ideas like ‘real food’, ‘local culture’ and ‘history’ while simultaneously propagating cultural antiquities. Why? Because both travel and destination are commodities which are subject to the imperatives of marketing and competition.

Selling places
There is a gigantic global infrastructure of hotels, travel agents, transport providers and marketers driving the industry forward in search of ever more exotic, unusual places creating ‘must see’ destinations. Tourism is the coalface of branding: out there, garish, and, at its worst, prostituting the city. Everything is on the move to keep the frenzy of tourism going: Bangkok transforms itself from ‘Asia’s bargain basement’ into ‘the coolest city on the planet’; ‘Ich bin ein Berliner – how the city learnt to party’; ‘Tel Aviv has the edge of Belfast, the spirit of Rio and the 24 hour attitude of New York’;

Repertoires and Resistance 173 ‘Mumbai’s the word – get to grips with one of the world’s most extreme – and now most fashionable – cities’; ‘C’est chic – you bet – for the US, Montreal is Paris without the jetlag. Montreal can do that version of itself in its sleep’; ‘[Shanghai is] the most exciting city on Earth. There’s a boom-town exuberance to Shanghai with its outlandish skyscrapers, designer shops, hip bars and world-class restaurants.’44 Favourite destinations change by the season: one day it is Reykjavik, the next Ljubljana; and then the lure of the tango in Buenos Aires. You even hear, ‘Move over New York, bring on Bratislava.’ There are the perennial favourites, usually prefaced by the phrase ‘the irresistible charms of …’ (Paris, Venice, ‘Brazil’s most vibrant city’, etc.). And everything has to be ‘cool’, ‘hip’ or ‘hot’. ‘UK Cool: Why we are hip again’. There are the ‘cool capitals – Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna’ – and ‘mid-sized cities get hip’. The elemental, primal and visceral is a strong theme and the ‘cold’: ‘try the untamed North’. By contrast it may be themes such as glimpses into Russia’s repressive past, gay tours, firing kalashnikovs or tracking wolves. Or ever dreamt of taking the kids to the beach in Europe, but find the logistics daunting? Stay at the pretend beach at Centre Parcs, a controlled indoor setting whose signature feature is a large dome that houses a landscaped waterpark and tropical pools, play zones, restaurants, shops and a spa and other ‘novelty features’. Or you want something more exclusive? How about the private world of Mustique in the Caribbean, where even the locals aren’t allowed to go. Is that too dull? Try Stalin World in Grutas Park, Lithuania, which mixes humour and history. An imitation Soviet prison camp interspersed with old communist statues may not sound like the ideal place for a good time, but in the search for the exotic anything goes. Or try the more sedate Statue Park in Budapest where another collection of old Marxes, Stalins and Lenins looks down on you. Excitement is promised and stimulation provided. The reality is that most of the experience is pre-digested and manipulated. And, on return, the tourist hunters bring back their trophies. Instead of brandishing rifles or shooting animals they shoot pictures and bring back souvenirs, memories and a passport stamp. It is still a conquest. It is collecting experiences, collecting places, collecting things. What is left for the city? It has to clear up.

174 The Art of City-Making

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 acres, describing it as ‘enormous, and unlike any proposal put forward in this country before,’ and contrary to proper planning and sustainable development of Fingal.45 Instead UEP is in talks with Belgrade. UEP had hoped to attract 37 million visitors a year to Ireland (nine times the Irish population) with its three theme parks, golf courses, shopping centres, 14 hotels, conference centre, equestrian centre, ice rink and 10,000 apartments for short-term lets. Carl Hiaasen, a newspaper columnist with the Miami Herald who has written extensively on the impact of large theme parks on his home state, says it sickens him to think a plan such as Vega City is even being considered by the people of Dublin. As a warning to Fingal, Hiaasen described the area around Orlando, where Disney World is based, as an ‘ugly, congested, sprawling hellhole’.46 Consider too the latest ideas for Venice. It is likely to become the first major living city to charge an entrance fee, to offset the damage done by hordes of tourists. Often over 50,000 people a day traipse through the city and this will increase dramatically when Chinese and Indian tourists begin to travel en masse. If Eurodisney charges visitors 50 euros a visit, surely Venice is worth much more? And the sums collected will help save the city. Implementing the ideas behind the eco-tourism movement is one way forward to overcome the contradictory dilemmas. It seeks to conserve cultural and biological diversity and to adopt an ecosystems approach to thinking through tourism. It involves being aware of the cultural sustainability of the places tourists go to and encouraging them to develop cultural knowledge and self-awareness. It focuses on providing local populations with jobs, sharing socioeconomic benefits with local communities and getting their informed consent in the management of enterprises, rather than encouraging foreign ownership of the majority of resources. In this way resilience can grow.

Repertoires and Resistance 175 The ideas behind the City Safari project in Rotterdam may be a model. They have invented a new sustainable approach to tourism development. The brand name ‘City Safari’ has been ‘stolen’ or copied by many, but not the core idea. The project has a list of over 300 people or organizations that are willing to be visited. The visitor chooses the kind of people they want to meet – which could range from priests to imams, from urban planners and gardening enthusiasts to unusual shopkeepers, tattooists, and collectors of the bizarre like a man who owns over a thousand koi carp kept in tanks in a collective garden of a series of apartment blocks – and places to go to, from delicatessens to sex shops to a café employing recovering heroin addicts. The visitor gets an address and has to find their target by exploring and navigating the city. They encounter people a normal tourist would never meet. They hand over paidfor vouchers and in return they get a service – primarily a conversation about their life and what they do. In addition, perhaps, a glass of wine, a tour of a building or a meal. Its power is that the tourist and the locals connect and the benefits go directly to the local rather than an intermediary. City Safari was started as an economic development project by Kees de Gruiter and is now owned by Marjolijn Masselink to bring more resources to local people rather than intermediaries.47 The problem for less-developed countries is that tourism is often presented as one of the only routes to development. But tourism can in fact be a terrible burden on the economy of the destination. There are a number of reasons for this. One is leakage: not much tourist expenditure stays in the economy after taxes, profits and wages are paid outside the area and after imports are purchased. Indeed, of each US$100 spent by a tourist in a developed country, only around US$5 actually stays in that country’s economy. A second reason is the phenomenon of enclave tourism: many tourist packages are ‘all-inclusive’ wherein tourists do not leave their resort or cruise ship. Third, infrastructure improvements – in roads and airports, for example – can cost the government at the expense of local health and education, especially if there is pressure from developers for tax breaks. Fourth, with an increase in the spending power of tourists, prices can rise faster than indigenous wages can accommodate them. Finally, an area can become dependent on tourism and therefore subject to tourism’s vagaries. Other parts of the economy are neglected and the area lacks a healthy diversity. Also, a local tourist industry may be seasonal, meaning

176 The Art of City-Making instabilities in employment and leaving the economy as a whole vulnerable to climatic instabilities.48 Tourism can be configured to help the areas it affects. Pro-Poor Tourism, for example, is an organization that promotes the local expansion of employment and businesses and the active inclusion of the poor. Eco-tourism as a movement is intended to encourage tourism that is responsible and environmentally and culturally sensitive. However, as with any industry, tourism must be understood as an extensive system of which no particular facet can be seen in isolation. Air traffic is increasing and, as an abundance of new wealth enters the tourism industry, this will continue. But at what cost? Clearly flying to the other side of the world to see the famous dyers in Fez market or to watch pandas chew bamboo shoots is not eco-tourism. Responsible tourism may in fact be travelling less far from home. Cities could do worse than look to Rotterdam’s City Safari as a model of how tourism can be incorporated into self-discovery. In fact, why not turn your own citizens into tourists of their own city?

Making the most of resources
Urban rituals provide one measure of resistance to the never-ending consumer journey. But even they are subject to becomming more commerical. Day-to-day rituals abound. The evening passegiata in the Mediterranean, where you look and are looked at, you have an idle chatter and you check out who you fancy. Coffee in the café with a newspaper. Going to a pub in Ireland or a beer garden in Germany. Sunday dim sum in Hong Kong. A Sunday stroll in the park anywhere urban. The weekly supermarket visit or – better – browsing the markets. The Saturday football or baseball match. In addition, a raft of new rituals has emerged: urban fun runs, marathons, heaving Friday night pub crawls, karaoke. In warmer climes, this urbanity is easier to experience in the open. In the damper, colder north, however, it is more difficult to get that sense of alfresco urbanity; activity tends to be indoors (though places like Copenhagen manage with outdoor heaters and blankets). Rituals serve a purpose. Rituals anchor individuals in time and place, they bond groups together, and they create an occasion and regularity. Even in an ordinary activity like drinking tea or coffee

Repertoires and Resistance 177 there can be ceremony which establishes, affirms or reaffirms social roles. In fact, every aspect of life and every resource is or can be ritualized and can thus be turned into an asset. Think of any food, animal, flower, art form, sport, religious occasion, major historical battle or topic and there is likely to be a festival or ritualized event surrounding it. Rituals mark the calendar. They identify seasons and create formalized activities that mean something to those in the know. They assert the ‘tribe’, personal and place identity, awe, and submission to a higher authority. In religion, ritual is geared toward union with the divine; otherwise rituals can celebrate achievement or are just fun. Celebrations after harvest or anniversaries of significant events are part of human history. Usually local in scale, in the past they helped form local identity and distinguished one city from the next. If anything was important to local life, it would be celebrated. Think of the Italian sagre or feste, where there is simply acknowledging and indulging: chestnuts, mushroom, artichokes, olives and wine; pigs, sheep and fish. And the same is true for other cultures. The snail is celebrated in Lleida, Spain, Belfort, France and Pianello, Italy. The donkey in Otumba, Mexico, and Aleria, Spain. Sheep in the US in Cummington and Bighorn. The cat festival in Ypres, Belgium, broadens the scope to consider myths around that animal. More recently, as festivals have come into vogue, places have consciously fostered the bizarre to get name recognition, such as Keppel, Queensland with its crab leg-tying event. Or Gilroy in California, branded the world’s garlic capital, which has been celebrating garlic since 1979 and whose festival attracts 125,000 people. The only problem is that now more and more of its garlic is imported from China. Religious processions have formed part of the social fabric since the first human settlements were formed. Many early settlements, like Nineveh or Antioch in the Middle East or Teotihuacán in Mexico, were dominated by ritual. The Christian celebration of Easter in Rome or the famous New Orleans Easter Parade; Christmas celebrations nearly everywhere, even in non-Christian places (another opportunity to shop); feasts before fasting such as the Fasching carnival in German-speaking countries in the period before Lent; the Haj to Mecca; and the Hindu Diwali festival of light in many places. The Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai is a ten-

many of the traditional events are in danger of losing their qualities of authenticity as the balance of participants to tourists tips against the former. on the last day. as is the modern gay incarnation of the Mardi Gras in Sydney. possibly tens of thousands have been conceived. In the process.178 The Art of City-Making day festival of the elephant god where. A bright white linen carpet is unfurled before him so that his feet do not touch the bare ground. Carnivals often represented the few moments in the calendar where rank could be forgotten. Today festivals are part of the urban regenerator’s armoury. The broader-scale festival and events culture which seeks to attract visitors as well as indigenous participation only took off in the post-war period. Sri Lanka. festivals were early prototypes. celebrates Buddha’s tooth being brought to the country. The Edinburgh. Australia. showcasing a range of genres from opera and jazz to electronic music. barriers overcome and norms transgressed. from the specialist to the general. Since their inception. from hope and sex to urban utopia. the short filmmakers’ frenzy in Newcastle. Ganesh’s image is taken through the streets in a procession and immersed in water. but was only founded in 1964 on a small scale. Other festivals had and have a different purpose. In Germany alone there over 100 music festivals in the summer. literature and book events. Vancouver’s ‘Dancing on the Edge’. Marseille’s ‘Festival of the Wind’. The Notting Hill Carnival. Arts festivals are the most common form of festival today and they come in every conceivable form. seems to have been with us forever. rules broken. Within these. ranging from Coventry’s ‘The virtual fringe: A festival of possibility’ that you only know is in Coventry if you are on the net. The Esala Perahera in Kandy. It projects itself as multicultural. Its active participants are largely AfricanCaribbean. It was a way of creating social equilibrium and letting off steam. The main elephant is preceded by a slowly prancing parade of dozens of elephants and a frenzied cast of thousands of Kandyan dancers and drummers. but in reality it is showcase for quite a narrow band of cultures. Imagine anything and it can be turned into an event. and later Adelaide. where people race through the night to finish a 24-hour shoot. Carnivals in Port of Spain and Rio and the New Orleans Mardi Gras are prime examples. any theme can be explored. now one of the biggest festival events in the world. Then there is the raft of theatre. the more sedate open-air . ballet.

Cheltenham. which may then later become part of the mainstream.Repertoires and Resistance 179 painting festival in Geneva. usually based on partnerships and a task force-based approach. a series of conundrums and strategic dilemmas occur that require reflection. How do you combine political ambition and external marketing goals with. Edinburgh. Equally. a skill. Salzburg and Istanbul. a person. a local resource. to the surprisingly hectic ‘Slow Food Festival’ in Turin. in Glasgow the building of the Royal Concert Hall was a by-product of the cultural year. The regeneration agenda is another new objective. The special circumstances. experimental delivery mechanisms. extend a metro line. especially arts initiatives. especially as cities which hold bigger events like the Olympics can use the prestige to do things that otherwise would be impossible. Two cities which have used big events to good effect are Barcelona and Glasgow. cultural or artistic objectives? How can projects and events balance celebrating a city’s existing . Contrast this with the ‘disposable Olympics’ approach of Atlanta. of getting on the radar screen and breaking through the information clutter to create recognition. a bizarre idea – cities scour their cultural resources and ideas bank to turn anything into something bigger. Below that are the ‘cities of festivals’ that build their reputations and city-marketing on putting on events. tearing down the stadium as soon as the Games had finished. Typically this might be to renew the sporting or cultural infrastructure. or extend the city. In Barcelona the Olympics was used to open out the port area and renew the sports infrastructure as well as to reposition the city globally. At its apex stands the super league of big one-offs: Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. say. It is possible to raise additional financial resources and to set up innovative. reclaim derelict land. With major events. an accident. but now the danger is that festivals are subservient to the overarching goal of marketing. a victory. from the very local to the globally significant. such as Cannes. scales and purposes. In the next division are the World Expos and European City of Culture celebrations. local resistance to development and red tape. They have different cycles. open out old port areas. the deadline and tight timetables make it possible to break through political obstacles. A story. The 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Glasgow’s European City of Culture celebrations throughout 1990 pioneered a regeneration approach to big events.

You can take any theme as long as it is given meaning. creativity and identity? Is the priority to work with mainstream institutions or less formal entities? Meaningful experiences Leaving aside fun. The carnival season in Christian countries is the party before the abstinence of Lent and its variations. not to go into depth and focus on a narrow range of issues. Active not passive.14 They are largely quantitatively driven. Here are some ways of doing so in an urban context: • Bonding individuals and the group. let alone the quality of the art or the nature of culture change and its meaning for the city in question. its transformational effects on individuals or the social impacts of events. • . ever more frequently fringe festivals and rituals are created in response to commercial aims. Collectively and selfconsciously sharing experience. It provides a forum for the sense of imagined community to be played out – people feel connected through a collective identity.180 The Art of City-Making cultural status and its past history with seeking to reflect more deeply on how a city’s culture could develop in the future? What is the respective importance of local residents’ involvement and attracting visitors and tourists? How do you follow up and maintain momentum in the wake of events and projects? What level of commercialization or sponsorship do you invoke? Indeed. But significant questions are not assessed: Who defines what culture is? Is the emphasis on city regeneration or the cultural development of art. They tend. Normally it is national events that do this. focusing on tourism figures and levels of participation rather than on the quality of the experience. like Fasching. such as Anzac Day in Australia or National Day in Singapore. We learn too little about how these dilemmas are solved because evaluations are usually disappointing. For the ‘realists’ these conceptual or philosophical evaluations appear too soft. To express self by being an actor on the festival stage. with notable exceptions. celebration. creating a spectacular and having a good time. such as economic impacts. what makes a festival significant in a wider sense? The best rituals respond to a deep yearning to be part of a bigger thing. the Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an example. In terms of creating urban belonging and identity.

transforming city spaces into stages. decision-making and self-analysis. when it was realized it could help the village to overcome the threat of isolation and social breakdown in its transformation from peasant to modern life. Renato Nicolini. from July to September. As the natural meeting place for the whole community over the centuries. It is preceded by the Estate Romana. The theatre has become an important element in raising the village’s consciousness in its efforts to understand itself and achieve an identity. Such participation consolidates community solidarity. confession. Run by a co-operative and developed in an atmosphere of community solidarity and intellectual purpose. The names of the main mas camps (groups allied to a particular band) indicate the gang legacy: Invaders. with two giant screens overlooking the River Tiber and St Peter’s Cathedral in the background. While it is very competitive. such as Tiberina island. The square is the centre of the community from every point of view: the space for social encounter. Community self-reflection. The teatro povero (‘poor theatre’) and its festival started in 1967 and is like a community drama. Renegades. The gang warfare of the 1950s and 1960s was tamed and the energies were turned into making music.Repertoires and Resistance 181 Italy’s Carnevale or Mardi Gras. masquerading and parading. • • • . Relevant themes about the place itself act as a trigger for self-reflection. They developed the concept of autodramma (performing oneself). It has taken on an important meaning in the life of Monticchiello. The theatre is centred on the Piazza San Martino. the whole community and surrounding areas are involved as actors and helpers. encourage the participation of the many. they are at least not cutting each others’ throats. with nightly outdoor cinema in the best spots in the city. it is the ideal place to stage autodrammi and is transformed every summer into a stage.15 The city as a stage. Ritualizing and reconciling conflict. Desperados. The same is true for Trinidad’s Carnival. The Estate Romana was initiated in the 1970s by the politician then in charge of cultural affairs. The urban theatre festival in Rome claims the territory of the city. Tuscany. It invades random streets and surprises the public. not countenancing indifference. The Palio in Siena is a famous horse race where the local contrade (districts) fight it out for supremacy.

The experience surrounds viewers on all sides and impacts all five senses. to ‘Reclaim the Night’. The crackling flames. are deep themes of ritual.182 The Art of City-Making who pioneered an annual summer arts festival to liven up the city and. fire and earth. The initial Chicago auction raised US$3 million for charity. Bonding across cultures and groups. It has a reflective quality. the happy and the sad open out. They have an authentic quality that harks back to origins. All major religions use light: Eid in the Muslim world. The average bid price • • • . The fires are tended from sunset to past midnight by black-clad performers in boats who pass quietly before the flames. There is no admission charge. Chanukah for Jews and Advent for Christians. At the conclusion of each event. and the music from around the world engage the senses and evoke emotions in the many thousands who come to stroll along the river walks. the cows are herded up and many are auctioned. Chinese lantern festivals. Rhode Island is one of the strongest new urban rituals. the fragrant scent of blazing cedar and pine. Invented by Barnaby Evans. The basic elements. the silhouettes of the firetenders floating by in their torch-lit vessels. Common experiences in open space. to use the feminist campaign slogan of the time. thus providing safety through the natural surveillance of crowds. water. The Cow Parade has become the world’s largest public urban art event – cows painted in a maze of colours line the streets. They illuminate nearly two-thirds of a mile of urban public spaces and parks. Children. and residents and visitors gather to stroll along the river while listening to an eclectic selection of classical and world music that serves as a melodic accompaniment to the normal sounds of urban life. the US centre of cattle trading.16 More than 20 times a year. air. It is a fundraiser for charitable activities and started in 1999 in Chicago. Eliciting primal instincts. WaterFire in Providence. with a substantial portion of the proceeds benefiting charity. Diwali for Hindus. and people who have never met talk. parents. It centres on a series of 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the waters. a fire sculpture installation on the three downtown rivers becomes a moving symbol of Providence’s renaissance. He argued this was best achieved by designing cultural policies which would encourage people to use the city at night in large numbers. the flickering firelight on the arched bridges.

Since 2001. This public art event brings rats back into the streets of Hamelin in the form of 70 individually decorated five-foot rats. The Love Parade was founded in 1989 in Berlin when 150 ravers protested for the right to party in a city just still divided. started in 1879. Iacobelli is considered ugly as he has a small nose in a culture where large noses are considered beautiful. last held in 2004. The festival is a reaction against the forces of fashion. who represent understanding among cultures and a peaceful coexistence. who claimed they could not find attractive husbands. Over 40 cities have now held the event. whose core message is sustainable development. Italy – ‘The World Capital of Ugly People’ – holds the annual ‘Festival of the Ugly’. is Yann ArthusBertrand’s powerful ‘The Earth from Above’ outdoor photography show.Repertoires and Resistance 183 on each of the 140 cows was nearly US$25. In their own way these shows are an indicator of a city’s presence in global consciousness.5m panels aligned in various configurations in public spaces and has been displayed in places as varied as Dushanbe in Tajikistan. Telemark in Northern Norway and Boston to Buenos Aires. For those that travel a lot. Protest and protest within protest. Taipei and Qatar. from New York. Twenty 6-foot Buddy Bears kicked the ball on the pitch of the world’s largest table football table to help launch the FIFA World Cup in Germany.000. Hamelin. The bears raise money for UNICEF and similar charities and had by 2005 raised over a million euros.’ Telesforo Iacobelli. design and aesthetics and was relaunched 40 years ago with a new focus on a marriage agency for the town’s single women. its chair. has spent his life fighting for the recognition of the ugly in a society that places a high value on physical beauty. Sydney and St Gallen. The event has now gone global. It claimed to be a polit- • • . has a Rattenfestival (Festival of Rats). A similar global event. Piobbico. Ljubljana in Slovenia. Moscow.17 Today the Ugly Club.000 members around the world. the famous city of the Brothers Grimm Pied Piper story. Seoul. Berlin has had its ‘Buddy Bears’. has 20. Social statement. though with no charitable aim. Switzerland. ‘Ugliness is a virtue. beauty is slavery. It has around 120 photos on sixty 2ϫ1. At a more local level. London. Helsinki. it creates a thread of common experience that is different from a McDonald’s or a Hilton. with artists making bears in Shanghai.

during which they assist South Australia to build on its climate of creativity and excellence. Zürich’s Street Parade is similar to the Love Parade and since 1996 has similarly spawned a counterparade called the Antiparade. live concerts and performances with a very powerful social dimension.184 The Art of City-Making ical demonstration for peace and international understanding through music. The Thinkers provide the state with strategies for future development in the arts and sciences. Two hundred thousand people came to Novi Sad during this period to join the demonstration. environmental sustainability and economic development. to vote at the presidential elections and remove Milosevic from power. Two days after the closing night of EXIT 2000. The Thinkers undertake residencies of between two and six months. Started in 1999. Fuckparade. Since 1997 there has been an alternative techno demonstration. Now a mass of DJs perform on their trucks. For a hundred days. Rarely are there public opportunities to be part of a city that explicitly conceives of itself as a thinking city. beach parties. in 1999. Serbia. The EXIT event in Novi Sad. but especially young people. Adelaide also has a Thinkers in Residence programme. At it highpoint.5 million people attended and it was copied from Santiago to San Francisco.000strong demonstration that physically removed Milosevic from power two weeks later. started in 2000 as a response to student demonstrations against the political regime. its aim has been to celebrate ideas and innovation as central to South Australia’s values and identity. In addition. It fights for a vital subculture and sees itself as an antidote to the commercialization of the main event. When it lost its reputation as a political demonstration in 2001 and began to be seen as a mere commercial event. Adelaide was one of the first places to have a Festival of Ideas. participants went to the polls and many ended up as part of the final 500. that protests against the Love Parade’s commercialization. social policy. Getting intellectual. now simply a music event. As the competition for ideas is so • . which invites two or three thinkers to Adelaide each year to live and work. (I was fortunate to be one of these in 2003). It had one goal: to motivate all social groups. the EXIT organization coordinated a continuous programme of cultural and academic events. it entered financial difficulties but re-emerged again in 2006. turning Berlin into one big club. 1.

It is perhaps only sports events like the Olympics where for a time we reach across cultures and backgrounds and where a collective consciousness is created with a bigger message such as peace. Other branded events like Expos find it difficult to tap into emotion in a similar way. Burning Man is a radical arts festival based in Black Rock. such as the mega-operas like Turandot at the Munich Olympic stadium. Or the FIFA World Cup. The same was true for the Pavarotti and Friends concert. because two pleasurable thoughts merge: enjoying yourself is helping others. the Ideas Festival was immediately copied by Brisbane and Bristol. There is almost a tribal group consciousness that is also found in war when people say ‘our boys are out there’. ‘Together for the Children of Bosnia’. • • . with the song ‘Miss Sarajevo’ acting as a communal hymn. bars.000 occupants with temporary facilities. like Live Aid or Live 8. A shared humanity. Nevada. At its maximum it has 35. Normally if a stranger talks to you. 2006’s theme was ‘Hope and Fear: The Future and the Road to U(Dys)topia’. leaving the desert as it was beforehand. whatever misgivings they might have had about nationalism or cricket. England regaining the Ashes against the Australians in their national sport. When mega-events are created on a simple commercial basis. the science fiction fantasies of the past gave way to traffic jams. Globally transmitted mega-events. where you know that you are just one person in a mass of humanity glued to the TV. You’re not the weirdest kid in the classroom – there’s always somebody there who’s thought up something you never even considered. recreate a similar feel. everyone was England. Each year there is a theme. a post office. ‘Along the road to a utopia. although the European Cities of Culture programme on occasion has. clubs and restaurants to hundreds of art installations and participatory ‘theme camps’. ‘You belong here and you participate. which have charitable purposes. you might consider them as a weirdo. Alternative views of life.Repertoires and Resistance 185 intense. During that time.’ Burning Man is a temporary town largely made up of art installations that exists only for one week a year. they lack this quality. Such occasions provide an excuse to participate in festivities and talk to strangers. The future. from emergency services. At a national level. cricket. in 2005 provided a mass sense of unity that was positive. The city is then taken apart and mostly burnt.

186 The Art of City-Making it begins to seem. advertising or commercial transaction (‘we resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience’). A similar event is Haro in Spain’s ‘War of the Wines’. fire extinguishers. In 2005. One story is that it was a political response in 1945 to the continuing influence of Franco. there are fields full of moose shit. ‘communal effort’. Today anything goes. It commemorates a tenth century property dispute between Haro and the neighbouring village of Miranda.000 kilos are used in the biggest food fight in the world.’ The ten Burning Man principles include ‘radical inclusion’. buckets and pesticide sprayers. even suggest- . The inhabitants arm themselves with what is at hand for the annual festival. local resources are key. and ‘participation and immediacy’.18 Release of tension and the bizarre. ‘self-expression’. 4000 people were involved. which lasts for three hours and which began in 1906. so anyone can be involved (you cannot just be an observer). global capital projects an air of inevitability. Or consider the ‘Moose Shit Festival’ in Talkeetna in Alaska.000 people throw tomatoes at one another – 110. It is a free-for-all and anybody is able to throw a ripe or over-ripe fruit at anyone else. When it is gratuitous. such as the crab leg-tying event. from squirting red wine on to the obligatory white shirts to pumpaction pistols capable of shooting half a litre in five seconds. ‘civic responsibility’. At the Tomatina in Buñol near Valencia there is a mass release of tension when around 30. it has little resonance. ‘radical self-reliance’. water pistols. ‘leaving no trace’. When the snow melts at the end of winter. A less lofty explanation is that it happened by chance after a lorry-load of tomatoes spilled on to the streets of Buñol around the same time. The out-of-the-ordinary has become ordinary as cities search to make themselves known. Whatever is left over is used to make jewellery! • A CODA: URBAN RESISTANCES Like the proclamations of millenarian religions or ideologies of certainty. ‘encouraging people to rely on their inner resources’. has ran out of gas. so there is no sponsorship. it takes on a different colour. Its origin is disputed. As ever. ‘decommodification’. But when it has a local meaning.

To question its unimpeded march is to invite ridicule. in fact. what keep society moving and alive. Wherever you look. projects. it regenerates the culture. Yet conformity and resistance to the mainstream continually coexist. self-interested globalization. As even George Soros notes: Unless self-interest is tempered by the recognition of a common interest that ought to take precedence over particular interests. people increasingly rely on money as the criterion of value… What used to be a medium of exchange has usurped the place of fundamental values.Repertoires and Resistance 187 ing its forces are ‘common sense’. groupings and movements batter against the implications of a narrow.49 . Creating the alternatives and building counter-arguments about how life can be lived are. our present system … is liable to break down… Unsure of what they stand for. The issue is whether the alternative is absorbed into the mainstream simply as a new idea – as part of a general innovation process that strengthens its potency – or whether it has the power and resilience to change the system and its inner workings. The winners and losers live side by side and inevitably they will fight.


The changes feel dramatic. to approximate Einstein’s words. Since such mental architecture gets out of date. The shift of the global axis towards the East is one example. With so much happening quickly and simultaneously. Not to mention climate change.5 The Complicated and the Complex THE FORCES OF CHANGE: UNSCRAMBLING COMPLEXITY Escalating change is in evidence. Our intellectual architecture was constructed for the age of industrialism and has sedimented itself into our minds like a cityscape of familiar streets and buildings which we simply take for granted. it causes a particular set of conundrums and strategic dilemmas when we try to apply it to the emerging world. interlock and reinforce. like a paradigm shift unfolding. And we attribute incomprehension to ‘complexity’ rather than revisiting and questioning the . An underlying theme is that our mental toolkit may not be appropriate for current circumstances. because the elements interweave. changing global terms of trade another and growing global disparities a third. the world feels complex and disturbing. If you look at the world within the mindset that created the problems we worry about. pollution and the growth of fear culture. How do you unscramble the complexity to see clearly and disentangle the different layers and levels of problem? It is more than unpeeling an onion or an orange. you will only replicate those problems: the mind that created the problem is unlikely to be the mind that solves it.

‘Complicated’ is about acting on.190 The Art of City-Making Source: Richard Brecknock Anish Kapoor’s beautiful and popular sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park embodies physically the idea of thinking in the round. Brenda Zimmerman has noted that: ‘Complicated’ is essentially mechanical.1 . ‘Complicated’ is appropriate in a world of predictable outcomes. ‘Complex’ must acknowledge and respond to uncertainty. Yet each generation says its age is more complex. What we really mean is ‘this is a pattern of events that I do not understand’. We learn and adapt from day-to-day experience. But we know how to do it if we stick to the plan and execute with diligence. ‘Complex’ is essentially relational. There’s lots of room for error. ‘Complex’ is raising a child. The distinction between complicated and complex is useful. ‘Complex’ is about acting with. And we co-evolve in relationship to one another. Putting a rocket on the moon is complicated where an enormous number of detailed steps have to be taken into account from engineering to navigation. holistically and from multiple perspectives appropriateness of that mental architecture.

choice and independence spilling out from the Enlightenment has been with us for some 250 years. how we appeal to individual desires. from how politics appeals to its constituents to how we customize products and services. Even deep trends can be charted. speed and power. Taking an eagle’s eye view of the 20-year horizon requires us to look at existing trends to assess their depth or superficiality. Yet evidently it still has enough energy to shape everything. it makes operating globally an imperative for success. they can gain or lose momentum. In spite of all the unpredictables. and their impact. which both makes operating across boundaries easier and helps shift global terms of trade. For example. Another trend is the renewed vigour and degree of globalization enabled by IT. Thus understanding the difference between a trend and a fad is crucial. whether housing choice or the types of cheeses on offer. We now know that individuals pursuing personal wants do not add up to a harmonious whole. and to understand timelines and connections. to unravel the trivial from the profound. so gaining in force. Some feel this particular driver of change is at the edge of exhaustion: its selffocused energy is causing more negatives than positives. Business creates the increasing wants: Who would have thought ten years ago that we deeply needed iPods? There is little doubt that a realignment between individual desires and a broader public purpose is in the offing. In the context of cities. . thousands of products and services wait to be invented at the right cost to wrench our habits and behaviour in a more sustainable direction. and they can create cleavages and occasionally flip into entirely new trends in a paradigm shift. you can interrogate and assess the changing dynamics which shape possibilities and determine the direction of change and its possible routes. Some deeper trends and drivers are now easy to see because we have lived with them for a while and their impacts are unfolding with increased force. They can coalesce. Trends can be linear or cyclical. the nexus of emancipation built around individuality.The Complicated and the Complex 191 A conceptual framework is proposed through which it may be easier to focus on the significant and strategic. The environment is just one example. their characteristics. although not with precision since they evolve gradually. or they can operate independently without affecting the broader environment. With an incentives framework in place. their differential rates.

how we gather. policies and choices. Peaceful coexistence is the goal of civilization and avoiding the ‘clash of civilizations’2 should be the overarching intent of politics. However. But in trying to achieve these goals we are to a lesser or greater extent prisoners of circumstance – of old habits. barriers and borders within cities. especially. communicate and understand each other rises in importance. It challenges us to ask how porous we are while still feeling confident about who we are. This draws attention to our tribal tendencies and our insider/outsider instincts. social and economic structures. we can at least partially transcend this imprisonment through understanding and analysing the world. A conceptual framework The central dilemma of our age is how we live together. The significant issue is where the continuities and. Selfreflection should focus us on considering boundaries.192 The Art of City-Making Just because we are so acquainted with such deeply embedded trends does not mean they will not have considerable further effects. By undertaking this exercise we can see they have been underpinned by ideas and motivations about how life should be lived. currents. They will continue to affect urban lifestyles. assumptions. such as ghettoes. History circumscribes possible future trajectories. and. Then it becomes crucial to assess more what . as well as how we claim territory. These are questions of identity and belonging. acting on our reflections. battles and animosities. it is necessary to go below the surface to discover the undercurrents and tectonic shifts in the socio-political substrata that shape trends and drivers in the first place. discontinuities are likely to fall. who and what configuration of forces will make that happen. crucially. as when gangs physically occupy an area or when we distinguish ourselves from others through lifestyle choices or making people like the homeless feel like outsiders. and between cities and countries. As the world comes closer together virtually and in real time and space. Ripples on the surface are less important than waves of increasing significance which are themselves formed by tides. Most importantly. voluntary or imposed. struggling with the physical and mental worlds. and when it will happen. climatic changes and geological events which shape the movement and dynamics of the whole – and which might throw up the occasional tsunami. An analogy is to think of change like an ocean.

This is not to claim that some cosy togetherness should occur. irrational and arational. From this premise of the aim of civilization I propose a conceptual framework. but rather to stress how we negotiate conflicts and be together in difference. It may help decipher what is happening and what might be done. Fundamentalists are responding to disappointments with a material progress that neither makes us happy nor answers genuinely fundamental questions such as ‘What is life for?’ What in this context are the agreements that bond and anchor communities when fundamental views of the . battlegrounds. It is then more a question of mediating and managing conflict. 100 years or more. They determine our landscape of thinking and decisions across multiple dimensions and can be global in scope. and of realigning individualism with collective good. an understanding of how different cultures think and see the world.The Complicated and the Complex 193 we share as common citizens of the world rather than what divides us. the most obvious aspects at a global level are the varieties of religious fundamentalism. drivers and strategic dilemmas and navigate your mind around them. You will find gaps that you can fill in. Even if they eventually solve themselves. affecting our broadest purposes and ends. Indeed. which implies a cultural literacy. Taking the first. These affect a mass of downstream decisions. Think of faultlines. This means the ability to look at the world through an intercultural lens. the battle between these two ways of thinking may be the biggest faultline of all. between environmental ethics and economic rationality in running countries or cities. To do this adequately requires a kind of thinking that is holistic and sees the connection between things rather than the fragmented parts. If being global in every sense is the tenor of the age. intractable and contentious that they shape our entire worldview. between the artificial and the organic. such problems are likely to take a very long time to resolve: 50 years. between the rational. Faultlines Faultlines are change processes that are so deep-seated. then the notion of the intercultural moves centre-stage. paradoxes. The five most important faultlines are the battles between faithbased and secular worldviews. They may create insoluble problems and permanent ideological battlefields.

It implies instead acknowledging that a narrow rationalist. They believe emotion is a source of great value and that it enriches understanding. The bigger picture made up of flows and dynamics disappears from view. It sees things less as a machine or defined structure and more as an organism that evolves and is emergent as things unfold. knowledge and insight. irrational and arational. linear approach is not the answer to inextricably interwoven issues where to untangle the threads involves thousands of variables. some of which will remain intuitive for a very long time. The narrow rationalist eschews emotion and so misses out. because it implies the belief that an imaginative leap in thought can occur. a neighbourhood. Being arational is not to be irrational (that is. A big put-down is when the logical rationalist claims someone they don’t agree with is irrational or arational. that there are higher registers of understanding. What. if anything. The third faultline is the conflict between environmental ethics and economic rationality. The rise of environmental ethics is a sustained challenge to an economic rationality increasingly regarded as an impoverished theory of choice-making. that very deep instinct exists. It is rather like the cat that starts pulling a thread of a ball of wool and entangles itself as its claws get stuck. This rationality implies a value set and resulting behaviours and states that the sum of profit-maximizing individual choices and self-interest-driven behaviour through ‘the invisible hand’ in the longer run equates to public good. The result is confusion. It can be intuited from within a higher pitch. The arational person understands the principles of connections and processes and is not scared of emotion. can city leaders do to both balance differences yet also provide citizens with greater sustenance beyond material wants? The second faultline is between the rational. ‘Rational’ choice and its associated economic system have led to environmental degradation and . Being arational is being full of reason and openness. The result of trying to isolate each thread or system of threads is logical entanglement. to act without reason). where the seeming randomness is not mindless. a street? The search for greater meaning and releasing the spiritual realm beyond consuming lies at its core.194 The Art of City-Making world are so different and people with diametrically opposing views now live in the same place – a city. and makes decisions without sufficient knowledge and insight. A central fault is that it assumes that the environment is a free exploitable resource.

This mirrors the divide between culture and nature. or that made by humans and that which pre-exists. is to consider individual and collective needs simultaneously. The default position of a new ‘common sense’. This might relate to encouraging recycling. Expressed differently it is about how much we take or how much we give. lacking in understanding of natural cycles. however little the results speak for its rationality. The growth in organic foods or farmers’ markets are instances of the latter. be this a local community. the logical. the constructed. creating local energy-efficient building standards or the public sector acting as a role model in using alternative sources of energy. The urban stands for the rational. We want to touch nature and the undisturbed. To what extent have cities got the independence and power to operate in this way? The more urban we become. In other words it is the clash between the artificial and the organic. How far we are going to remain egocentric or understand that being egotistical is a blind alley. Eco-efficiency on its own is only a small part of a richer web of ideas and solutions that requires a fundamental rethinking of the structure and reward system of commerce. the instrumental. The divide typically is with the eco-view and expresses itself in many manifestations contrasting the fast and the frenzied with the simple and the slow. The fifth faultline is the struggle to realign the individual and the collective in 21st century terms. the untamed and unexplored. In The Malaise of Modernity. Instead the battle is to reframe day-to-day individuality so it embeds a concern for the larger whole. forces and rhythms. The trumpeted choice of individuals has largely reduced people to consumers with a parallel loss of what it might mean to be a citizen. Charles Taylor (1991) suggests that the source of our malaise can be largely summed up as individualism and instrumental reason. the more we hanker after the wild. however disputed the term. Thinking driven by the urban mindset appears to those on the opposite side of the fence as lifeless. Many feel individualism has gone too far. This is the fourth faultline. It mirrors too the urban/rural split. a city or an activist campaign. It implies a different taxation system which in essence makes what is considered good for us tax-free and taxes heavily what is bad. Individualism has resulted in the .The Complicated and the Complex 195 massive pollution. seasons. This implies developing a regulatory and incentives regime attuned to encouraging resource efficiency by combining innovations in business practice and public policy.

which often merely means consuming something different. Seemingly contradictory. However. Instrumental reason is the kind of rationality we draw on when we calculate the most economical means to a given end. perhaps the finest achievement of modern civilization. an emptiness that is filled often materialistically. in passing. It is perhaps better to describe them simply as part of the human condition. the maximum efficiency.196 The Art of City-Making growth of human rights. civic life atrophies and when life is moving fast it ‘spins out to a rationalization that the average citizen is accomplishing a great deal simply by coping with or even surviving in this modern milieu. There is a yearning for completion. being at one. what motivates us. The great cities. private. which both flattens and narrows our lives’. Resolving the contest between new experience and the familiar and fixed creates cultural identity. an urban festival or the way a public space is laid out. separate and only concerned with self-interest rather than the public or common good. It might be a place of worship. individualism comes with a centring on the self. having a sense of wholeness that might result in fulfilment. this highlights the desire for stability and familiarity while constantly striving to experience the new.3 And remember the Ancient Greek origins of the word idiot: meaning self-centred. spirituality. are those that manage to make you feel you know them. Private life becomes more important. never mind being expected to assume responsibility for civic engagement and concern’. One is the striving for fullness and avoidance of void. but does not provide satisfaction. The combination makes people feel a lack of meaning in their lives. but that you can still explore. ‘in its debased forms. The desire to fill the absence leads to a striving and the void is filled in various ways – religion. . ritual. it makes them poorer in meaning and less concerned with others or with society. There are also human attributes that feel like faultlines as they rarely seem to solve themselves and are constantly present. It explains why tourism is so appealing. Ultimately these seemingly abstract things are expressed in the city. internal mediation. The dilemma today is that swaying between the two is happening more quickly and so absorbing what it means is difficult. Another example is the human tendency to flip between needing anchorage and wanting exploration. but still sensible. our patterns of behaviour and how we act. These determine how we feel. Often they oscillate from one extreme to the next.

renewable energy resources. Yet a counter group will always resist and create a backlash. To elaborate briefly on a few: • Multiculturalism versus interculturalism. The contention is. Environment matters versus the technology fix. those with power often want to project the inevitability of things as they are. They are usually about significant policy choices and thus more concerned with pragmatics. Some of these. although at times touching on them. Yet there are other battlegrounds less concerned with ultimate purposes. The compact cores of major cities have widespread assets. The inclusion and empowerment agenda will remain with us as the dynamic of capital tends to produce excluding effects which impact more strongly on the disadvantaged. energy efficiency and behaviour change in general or will it just be left to the market to produce new technologies? Social equity versus disparity. Each battleground has implications on the future of cities. In the multicultural city we acknowledge and ideally celebrate our differing cultures and entrenched differences. state. They do not quibble. Outlying suburbs which jump over jurisdic- • • • . nation) be constructed to encourage recycling. They argue that this is economic ‘reality’. every transaction. as history tends to prove. ranging from transport networks to cultural infrastructure. What power do cities have to bend markets to broader social needs? Sharing responsibility versus exporting problems to neighbouring jurisdictions. need to be maintained by the public purse. Will the regulatory and incentives regime at differing levels (city.The Complicated and the Complex 197 Finally. social interaction. Yet funding structures are usually predicated on the first. In the intercultural city we move one step beyond and focus on what we can do together as diverse cultures sharing space. at the commodification of everything – our time. that the latter leads to greater well-being and prosperity. Battlegrounds Discussions and policy debates around faultlines often become battlegrounds because the nature of debate is intense and contested. for instance. who have the least capacity to respond. arguing these trends are merely self-serving. Alternatives are always available.

The contrast between the real. distinctive and the unique has become pervasive as our sense of the ‘real’ and the local is dislocated by virtual or constructed worlds such as those of cyberspace and theme parks and standardized. The pervasiveness of risk consciousness and fear come from deeper anxieties about life. The battle between central and more localized power is ever present. Holism versus specialisms. Authenticity versus global markets. and of unconstrained pollution. of the speed and scope of globalization and its unintended effects. Hard versus soft indicators. It is said that density creates a better urban fabric since it results in viable activities born of the increased vitality and economic efficiency that sprawl dissipates. it is difference not sameness that contributes the most. Can cities counteract decades of city-building and habits that encourage sprawl? Can cities built with the car in mind be reconfigured to a pedestrian focus and to public transport? This is easier for highly textured European cities or dense Asian cities. the virtual and the fake will move into a new gear. Once basic facilities exist. based on trust. whose value bases anchored people. We need to be open to compete and operate and not draw ourselves into voluntary ghettoes. This has coincided with the decline of traditional ties. If cities accrue greater powers. Related to this is the battle between chain-store power and its homogeneity and locally distinctive shopping. The search for the authentic. Central versus local. There is a battle between those who see issues such as urban decline or how cities as a whole operate as being composed of interacting wholes that are more than simply the sum of the parts and those who look at the fragments within narrow specialisms. we know we need to see the parts and the whole simultaneously. Fear versus trust and openness. What indicators are the most important in measuring the success or failure of organiza- • • • • • • . Increasingly.198 The Art of City-Making tions seek to avoid paying appropriate contributions for their use by their residents. from fears for personal safety and of crime to those of out-of-control technology. yet the trend is towards the local. do they in aggregate have broader responsibilities for their countries? How do they activate this? Compaction versus dispersal. global mass products with little link to a particular place.

Yet our systems of measurement and the calculation of value are out of step and lag behind realities. philosophical and psychological traditions get sidetracked. For instance. The other six are: • Calculating tangibles in a world of intangibles. We live in a ‘weightless economy’. with the futurists fighting the nostalgics and rarely anyone living in the present. and not just for the old and infirm. For instance. The residue that remains from the past is a selection of what could have been remembered. accountancy systems invented in a mercantilist age and developed under industrialism remain largely focused . We talk too of the importance of people. What we choose to forget and remember reflects a society’s priorities. From the Slow Cities movement to the ‘clock of the long now’ that will chime only once every 1000 years people are trying to avoid existence becoming a whistle-stop tour through life and then you are dead. the feminist movement helpfully reminds us of the women urbanists well beyond the remarkable Jane Jacobs. or an economy of ideas. There are seven worth highlighting in the context of cities.The Complicated and the Complex 199 tions and cities? If competitiveness combines the hard and the soft. How do we know where a city stands when these are not measured? Speed versus reflection. income or GDP suffice? Soft factors of competitiveness are people-related. where 80 per cent of wealth is created through intangibles.4 Equally. • • Paradoxes A paradox is an incongruity that seems to be contradictory or an outcome that is different from that envisaged. governance capacity. These are often more than mere battles of history – they reflect power struggles. growth. will hard indicators such as levels of employment. Competitive pressure with IT as an enabler speeds up life and makes it shrill to the extent that the slow is increasingly desirable. Forgetting versus remembering. The first and overarching paradox is the conflict between risk and creativity that will be elaborated upon below. for example a city’s networking strengths. This connects to another battle line between always emphasizing the next or the past. cultural depth and creative milieus.

As mentioned earlier. Yet if too many visitors appear. The critical mass tips from being ‘just right’ to being ‘out of control’. Porousness and identity. The result may be that a city’s future is determined by the nostalgic past that visitors want to see. This tends to mean that cities need to balance being parochial and cosmopolitan. We need to be both local and global to survive in the current world. People need to be porous to new influences as well as to retain their identities. It can be overwhelmed by popularity fired by a new accessibility and mass mobility. Perceived • • • . Although identity is shaped by a variety of factors. yet too much accessibility can destroy what it sets out to do. they can drain the lifeblood of and drown local identity. People. A heritage setting can inspire and generate welcome tourism. The isolated settlement that thrives on being distant can suddenly find the outside world too close for comfort. Space and density. Reflection often thrives more on being under-stimulated. others one or the other. Some will want both. In spite of increased mobility. crucially it is also rooted in geography and place. Accessibility and isolation. with knick-knack shops. from upbringing and friendship networks to work. Can there be too much access? Being swamped with cascades of uncontrolled information impossible to filter is a well-known problem. We need boundaries and borders to ground and anchor identity as well as bridges to connect us to the outside. are by contrast treated as an accounting cost even though in the sale of a company they are part of its goodwill. People want space and density at the same time.200 The Art of City-Making on measuring assets as material entities. too much of our data gathering is based on nations and static measures when it is cities that are the driving forces of national economies and it is relations and flows that reveal more about urban dynamics than quantities of attributes such as population. but which residents do not need. selectively open and closed at the same time. souvenir outlets and interpretative centres that gel the past into aspic. who as ideasgenerators create most value. Accessibility is deemed an unquestioned good. Space is at a premium and will become the benchmark of luxury. Unfettered access can make things too popular or bring things into reach too easily. a sense of place remains a core value and often acts as the pivot point around which a person acts.

As technological change drives the economy. We already know that children teach parents how to use videos. edge developments and rises in population. In a global culture where age has engendered respect. so shaping the look and feel of cities. lifestyle choices. It will all merge into a built-up mass. and in a seemingly contradictory way.The Complicated and the Complex 201 lack of space will drive location decisions. only 4 per cent of people want to live in urban areas. densities and technological development. and the young feel more comfortable with it than older generations. densities will increase as the number of households rises and urban vitality is deemed to come from close-knit mixed uses. with risk avoidance strategies often cancelling out . putting pressure on market towns and villages whose formal integrity will be blown apart by in-fill. This will exacerbate the intense pull out of urban areas. Age and technology.14 The overwhelming majority want to live in the countryside. a figure constant since similar surveys were first conducted in the mid-1990s. email and the internet: they have become the translators of the modern world. Systems to optimize space. The battle between perceived urban and rural values will surely get worse. The simultaneous rise of the risk and creativity agenda is one of the great paradoxes of our time. the less like countryside it will become. will develop by making journeys more efficient through autonomous vehicle control devices involving smart card technology so that a greater number of cars can travel at far higher speeds in convoys on existing roads or by car sharing. it could thus transform power relationships between generations. Simultaneously. City and country. According to a recent UK RICS survey. • • Risk and creativity The landscape of risk5 We are caught between a rock and a hard place. The more we move to the country. The capacity to handle technology is a form of power. The overall feeling will be of many highways connecting some settlements rather than many settlements connected by some roads. such as roads. what will technology do to social relations when older people feel increasingly disenfranchised? For some older people there is a growing sense of being an immigrant in their own technological country.

. Risk has its experts. this rose to over 25. Bad luck gets retrospectively reinterpreted as carelessness. There seem to be no more good risks. it spectacularizes issues and even creates panics. Creativity. Risk-taking. Guidelines are drawn up on worst-case scenarios. Risk is the managerial paradigm and default mechanism that has embedded itself into how companies. It narrows our world into a defensive shell. an associational structure and lobbying bodies. where the idea of ‘reasonable endeavour’ had a much stronger hold. interest groups. This drives a tendency never to blame oneself or to take responsibility. specialist literature.6 The notion of accident seems to have gone from our vocabulary.202 The Art of City-Making inventiveness. consultants. the public sector and most cities operate. Cleansing the world of accidents means scouring the world for someone to blame. leading to claims of a ‘compensation culture’. act with overcaution. The evaluation of everything from a perspective of risk is a defining characteristic of contemporary society. Risk is a prism through which any activity is judged. At the same time creativity is denied. Instead many litigate. In 1994 Factiva noted 2037 mentions of the term ‘at risk’ in UK newspapers. The media shapes perceptions of risk. This might concern personal safety or a health scare. It subtly encourages us to constrain aspirations. avoid challenges and be sceptical about innovation. community organizations. Many say this culture of fear and litigation started in the US and developing from there has been exported to other societies. a positive activity. creating a climate which disposes us to expect bad outcomes.000 by 2003. The mood of the times is averting the worst rather than creating the good. The life of a community self-consciously concerned with risk and safety is different from one focused on discovery and exploration. yet that culture feeds on deeper fears. A risk industry has formalized itself. The opportunity side of risk-taking begins to disappear. It is as if risk hovers over individuals like an independent force waiting to strike the unsuspecting citizen. Risk consciousness is a growth industry: hardly a day passes without some new risk being noted. It heightens dangers. Which risk factor emerges within the media or political battlefield can seem arbitrary. all risks appear bad. 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. is viewed negatively through a prism of negligence.

guard rails and excessive signage and signalling. no fee’ or ‘Where there’s blame. The boundaries of ‘foreseeable’ are continually being tested and stretched. Liability under the Highways Act affects the look of the streetscape. epidemics or bullying are more recent and grabbing most headlines are safety concerns about personal injury in the public realm. there’s a claim’. The basis of arguments concerns whether it was reasonably foreseeable that an accident could occur. when claims clusters occur in specific areas. junctions or interchanges.7 The rise in claims has forced local authorities to enhance their inspection and maintenance regimes. some of whom have up to 10. In Britain Leeds. so maintenance is now conducted specifically with the avoidance of claims in . Protecting against road accidents results in an increased clutter of barriers. the press. The only defence for local authorities is to have ‘a reasonable system of inspection’. radio. People look for someone else to blame for their misfortune. Others concerned with safety. with dedicated departments acting like production lines. Consciousness of risk comes in myriad forms. One group in Britain alone generated 15. they advertise on TV. for instance what railings or banisters are acceptable to ensure no injuries. Occupier’s liability affects the design of buildings and their aesthetic. stepping off the road into an oncoming car or tearing your trousers on the edge of a park bench. is far less than risks caused by sedentary lifestyles encouraged by urban planning that reduces walkability in our cities and makes people obese. Leeds targets these for attention. through direct marketing. Undoubtedly a perception exists that the public have a greater tendency to seek redress if they suffer an injustice or injury. such as tripping over a tree trunk. ‘Who can I sue when nobody is to blame?’ The major categories of claims affecting our living environment are fourfold. constantly highlighted. health. such as assessing the financial viability of projects. street canvassing or tele-sales with slogans such as ‘No win. An environment emerges where suing is seen as an entitlement as when a leading practice was asked. Cardiff and Liverpool are often cited as having good procedures. selling them on to solicitors.000 claims per month. with everything hinging on the word ‘reasonable’. Some have been with us for a long time. This has affected the culture of maintenance. The rise of claims management companies help.000 personal injury claims running. For example.The Complicated and the Complex 203 The risk of food poisoning.

Design and Management (CDM) regulations which have created new professions such as planning supervisors. The sustainability agenda demands new ways of building and sometimes using novel materials. in projects that are extremely risky. Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition provides a detailed examination of how promoters of multibilliondollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform parliaments. They confront the legacy of how things have been managed in the past. the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. There is a preference to go for tried and tested technology. the authors argue. 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 process. This results. the desire for more walkable places can tip the balance between pedestrians and cars. moving forward becomes doubly difficult. but where the risk is concealed from MPs. Achieving these aims involves ‘good risks’. embodied in Britain in the Construction. Yet we need to take measured risks as new agendas challenge us – think how the built environment is put together. that the Machiavellian formula for approval is underestimated costs. The result of this thinking would be a reframed approach to risk management.204 The Art of City-Making mind rather than seeing the urban environment in terms of criteria such as ‘Is it pleasing?’ or ‘Does it feel attractive?’ Concerns about construction industry safety have been widespread and involve employers’ liability. where each side of the coin is equally validated. overestimated revenues. It shows. yet. there is little criticism of their safety improvements. Ironically there is one area within this where people have become blind to risk – ‘megaprojects’8 – because human frailties come into play. taxpayers and investors. though. new architecture can push at the boundaries of the tried and tested within construction. aligned to a culture of risk aversion. A first emblematic step would be to rename the current risk statements as ‘risk and opportunity policy’. has affected urban professionals in pursuing innovations. in unusual depth. undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects. Most risk statements currently focus on problems rather than possibilities. . materials or procedures.

Periods of transformation and transition can involve a mix of heady expectation and worry as the foundations are reassessed before they move to a more settled pattern. on the part of other members of the community’. or unconstrained pollution.9 The increasing disenchantment targets the Enlightenment’s limitless optimism. Unable to control pressing issues. especially in the commercial world. Everything is uncertain. Risk consciousness rises when conditions of uncertainty and the perception of powerlessness increase. They are part of broader historical forces impacting on our sense of self and how we view the world. crime and health hazards to the imbalances created by globalization. is then experienced as frightening. like ties of community. Those value bases anchored people. Within this setting. the arrogance and over confidence of science and industrialism. trust in oneself and others erodes.10 The paradox is that the freedom of choice projected as liberation. Misfortune cannot be blamed on acts of God so the blame must lie elsewhere. This has coincided with the decline of traditional ties that provided values and models for action and readily understandable identities for individuals. the ‘system’ is . it is difficult to know which information to trust and what to predict. It is a symptom of the cleavages which have made us fearful and risk aware.11 An absence of trust in humanity shapes our perception of risk. based on commonly shared norms. giving them a purpose and direction allowing them to negotiate life’s travails. ideology or other forms of solidarity. honest and cooperative behaviour. Francis Fukuyama defines trust as ‘the expectation that arises within a community of regular. This loosening of ties feels like swimming in the rapids with free-floating anxieties. From the early 1990s onwards a series of books highlighted a profound shift in our view of the modern world and notion of progress embedded in the Enlightenment ethos. ideology or a fixed community setting. When little can be taken for granted. whether through religion. from environmental degradation. the speed and scope of globalization and its unintended effects.The Complicated and the Complex 205 The pervasiveness of risk consciousness and aversion comes from deeper anxieties about life. the fear that technology is out of control. The erosion of tradition and taken-for-granted relationships and responsibilities breaks continuities and establishes uncertainty within which individuals have to assess lifestyle options themselves.

’12 Ironically this raises a further paradox. The world is negotiated as a dangerous jungle with risks lurking in the undergrowth beyond the control of humanity. project managers. especially with the development of CDM .’ ‘Increased risk process tends to focus on managing the downside rather than considering potential. estate agents and property developers. Blame is credited to an external force and the sense of responsibility is distanced from ourselves. How responsibility and accountability is defined is determined by social and political norms. The capacity to absorb the speed of change is difficult. always on the receiving end. valuers.’ The consensus is of a clear increase in the awareness of risk. It is best not to take a new risk unless all outcomes can be understood in advance. quantity surveyors. so negating objective risk calculations. including engineers. alertness and self-responsibility lose sway and by making claims we assert our authority and identity. Judgement remains the key in deciding where to act with caution and where to give leeway for experiment. It legitimates the growth of litigation and shifts individualism defined as self-sufficiency and personal responsibility to a rights-oriented individualism. ‘The expansion of the right to compensation is proportional to the shrinking of individual autonomy. Resilience. The responsible individual as potential maker. If we focus on the fragility of people it shapes norms of accountability. architects. were interviewed to assess how their work and perspectives are shaped by risk consciousness. The author of circumstance becomes the victim of circumstance.206 The Art of City-Making to blame for what is wrong. which is why the notion of the precautionary principle has gained currency. That principle suggests we are not merely concerned about risk but are also suspicious of finding solutions. Risk and the urban professions Thirty leading urban professionals. They concluded: • ‘Risk has moved into the core of what we do. shaper and creator of the environment becomes a passive individual. vulnerability and impotence begins to shape selfidentity. The sense of powerlessness. as the science that now allows us to assess and calculate risk is the science that we blame for causing risk in the first place. This affects public perceptions and the emotional frame which guides perceptions independent of the reality of risk. People who believe they cannot cope will find it difficult to be responsible for their behaviour.

Now more projects are undertaken through intermediaries such as projects managers and contractors.The Complicated and the Complex 207 regulations. Acerbically. ‘Do risk assessors understand design?’ Lack of understanding by risk assessors or safety auditors often makes assessments inadequate. who might take the whole risk of an innovative project. ‘They are from the lower end of the gene pool – most of them want the ordinary because they can manage the ordinary. yet felt it constrained their capacity to innovate and provide certain design features.’ None of the design professionals is against design review processes. Criticisms centre on a desire for design to be looked at from a broader.’ The notion of undertaking work on the basis of ‘reasonable endeavour’ is declining. ‘The price we pay if you create pressures on various consultants to manage their own risk by building in too many safeguards is that engineers will overdesign and build in self-preservation and waste. but there is a hardening view that risk assessment professionals ‘want an increasing climate of risk as it justifies their existence’.’ ‘The risk industry has a vested interest in a climate of risk. especially in relation to environmentally sustainable design. ‘Passing the parcel on risk. ‘Increased resources are being spent on risk assessment. Risk should reside with those best able to manage a specific risk was the consensus. long-term perspective.’ Practically every practice is spending more resources on risk than five years ago. ‘There is now little intelligent interpretation of the rules.’ Those with responsibility for design tend to believe those attracted to risk assessment are not people with imagination. This ranges from employing people with legal experience or risk assessors as part of instituting new management procedures. Insurance cover for all professions has increased beyond the level of inflation. This fragmentation tends to increase risk aversion.’ In the past engineers dealt with a single client.’ In a world of multiple contracting and intermediaries.’ • • • • • • . where is risk located? ‘There is a merry-goround’ with people trying to pass on and export their risk to someone else. ‘The rise of intermediaries cramps our style. A number noted that risk has sharpened up their practices. someone noted. ‘The new planning supervisory and risk assessment roles reduce the risk for themselves.

such as skateboarding. ‘More safety rather than health conscious. This ranges from encouraging public transport use to creating walkable urban settings or cycling-friendly environments.’ The risk of not going against the grain of perceived rules ‘was the far greater one of creating depressing cities that do not work emotionally’ so generating spin-off problems from crime to vandalism. battlegrounds and paradoxes were discussed first. which will reduce dramatically. ‘The biggest risk is not to take the risk. Closeness to clients will help avoid litigation. especially in public space projects. and climate change. New issues will rise to the fore and shape urban decisionmaking. that risky activities might occur. global terms of trade.’ There should be an assumption. with inward migration balancing out expected skills and job shortages. ‘Our palette of possibilities is shrinking. This is fine as far as it goes. which will move forward unabated. and especially an ageing population in the West. These include: .’ The risk agenda from the perspective of urban professionals focuses too exclusively on safety and not health. The core drivers include: demographics. Rather than designing street furniture to repel skateboarders it should be designed to withstand it.’ The way forward proffered was to develop risk mitigation strategies by keeping close to clients and other contractors in a collaborative process of systematic risk assessment. technology transfer periods.208 The Art of City-Making • ‘Design for risk rather than against it. For this reason faultlines. which will hasten the end of the oil economy and speed up the search for energy alternatives. globalization. ‘Keeping the client close and consultation. This stunts debate on creating urban environments and developing a regulations and incentives regime that fosters healthy lifestyles. and the basic drivers are known which determine much of what will happen.’13 • • • Drivers of change We are used to discussing futures by using ‘drivers for change’ as the template. but tends to tell us little about the depth or severity of a change process and its possible timeline. which will shift inexorably to favour the East.

underpinned by arguments for containing the car. more intense and spectacular in an attempt to give them greater impact and meaning. controlling out-of-town shopping. freedom and creating sustainable environments. such as those between convenience. throwing up ever more • • . which will push debate on city-making more towards the New Urbanism agenda. kitted out with a diversity of surveillance devices. and legal and ethical norms. Design tactics will become more sophisticated in anticipating and blocking criminal activity. making cities more compact and investing in public transport. This is why the fake experience is easier for many to cope with than reality.The Complicated and the Complex 209 • The health and urban design agenda. privacy. Variations of gated enclaves have always existed. Troublesome trade-offs will need to be negotiated. creating local facilities within walking distance. The question is. who will increasing feel they need to play the game of ‘urban iconics’. increasing pedestrian-friendly environments. culture and education facilities. especially leisure activities. Safety. especially for shopping. The ‘watchful eye’ of surveillance will be with us wherever we go in cities. surveillance and a public realm. The same is true for public authorities. cost and profitability. How will arguments for public realm investment be made in a context where no one feels public space has anything to offer? Will urbanity completely disappear in the newer gated communities which tend to be severed from the local community. The commercial sector will respond and increasingly seek to make all experiences. with everything sealed within a fortress? Time and the spectacular. What types of gated enclaves are created from the urban design point of view? Crime and fear of crime. which regularly come at the top of people’s concerns. This will affect design. Public health and urban design will come together. affect the way the built environment is constructed. Safety and responses to terror will determine how cities are built and managed. People will choose to live in voluntary physical ghettoes and gated communities will proliferate which parallel the mental ghettoes they create to block out a seemingly uncontainable world. Healthpromoting urban design will emerge as a central planning issue over the next decades. People increasingly perceive themselves to be ‘time poor’ and yet dream of being time and experience rich.

or will not. it is possible to bring in a language of city-making long lost. will encourage the development of truly 24-hour cities. It has significant merits. The future. new. but does not tap the complexities of human behaviour. shopping malls. such as the expansion of airports. mentioned in terms of the future. Crucially. are significant determinants of the future look and feel of the city. The shape. if ever. style and form of the future city is in essence embedded in the laws. narrowing the range of alternative choices. A simple way to assess whether such decisions were right is to ask some simple questions: Does this building or structure say ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Does it feel right emotionally? Is it good enough for my city? Once standards are raised in these kinds of ways. The Slow Cities movement is an example of such an ethos-driven development. more invasive ‘spectacularizing’ technologies will emerge as knowledge from brain research cascades down into commercial applications. giving rise to neuromarketing whereby the individual at a conscious level does not realize they are being sold something. Its ideas provide the warp on which the patterns of our behaviour are encouraged to be woven. for good and for bad. It affects the language we use and the discourse of public . roads and industrial sheds already built. Additionally. codes and guidelines of the present. regulation. One effect may be the increasingly animated advertising hoardings that both lull soporifically and excite. Beauty can be demanded from a shed. make the necessary psychological adaptation.210 The Art of City-Making spectacular buildings to catch attention. such as those which have resulted in the houses. also tell us now what cities will be. The pressure to maximize every moment. and increased globalization. How dominant ideas and mindsets affect what we do is forgotten. pre-existing decisions and dominant ideas and mindsets are the forgotten drivers. Compressing time may increase the speed of events to a point where people cannot. This is likely to generate a counter-reaction towards slowing things down again. What shapes present decisions more than the decisions that have preceded them and the intellectual architecture of those that make them? But precedent and ideology are rarely. a mall or an industrial estate. let alone a residential apartment block. land-use decisions and tourism developments. Pre-existing decisions. longerterm plans of cities. The central idea of our civilization is the notion of business logic and efficiency and economic rationality.

Again people usually refer to the older fabric and not the new. which in our surveys of cities people like usually come on top. our addiction to cars. Some will say. The managerial logic spills over into other domains that traditionally worked on different principles. civic engagement and connection is in decline. a village neighbourhood like Hampstead. the lanes of Brighton. justice. wider mindsets. ‘What is transport for?’ because the efficiency criterion makes it difficult to calculate ‘soft’ benefits. grey. Too many do not work as a fine. It becomes difficult to ask questions like. London’s Regency squares. creating as many problems as it solves by promoting short-term thinking. with its colourless.The Complicated and the Complex 211 affairs. waste management or service provision are addressed since it conditions deeper. When efficiency is itself the end. such as the overwhelming needs of global companies? The fact is that when you try to replicate the principles of those places we like the rules usually forbid it. when narrowly defined. What went wrong? Have we all lost the art of city-making? Is it to do with us. although there are urban delights in parts – the well-crafted building. But it favours means over ends and process over broader ambitions. It entraps us. ALIGNING PROFESSIONAL MINDSETS 15 The cities we have disappoint. it is a given. the market hub of Norwich or the gardens of once grand houses. For instance. our love of asphalt and our blindness to pollution? Or is it down to forces beyond our control. the streets of York. Yet discussion of such concepts is now shaped by the language of ‘efficiency’. So there are often surprises when people do not behave ‘logically’. morality. such as ethics. There are too few examples from today. a buzzy retail centre or a comforting. . neutralized language of process that has little flavour or energy. Think of Italian cities. Not surprisingly. small park. an occasional housing estate. Too often we turn to the past to look for urban features we like: in Britain this might be the sweeping crescents of Bath. seems to work by definition. Cold economic logic is coupled with the rise of managerialism. Because ‘efficiency’. however much we talk of ‘thinking outside the box’. it strips out other life values. webbed whole. voluntary work and the idea of the public. ‘So what?’ The logic of efficiency affects how issues like public transport. an uplifting icon. the intimacy we might try to create is seen as a safety problem.

Yet we still seemed to have lost the plot. evaluate. higher-order forms of thinking. We have increasing expertise in the technical aspects that make up the city. Escaping the silo What aspects of city-making get left out in the gaps between the professions and who is responsible? Often the physical spaces in between – the public realm.and damp-proofing. demographic prediction. understanding. And secondly – since a city is made up of both hard and soft infrastructures – social. We consider feasibilities. interpretation and behaving exist that should shape how the silo works. we project plan. review. psychological and sometimes even economic domains get overlooked. It is simply undervalued. Criticizing silos does not mean we should all know a little about many things without deep knowledge of a particular subject. allied to the ‘natural’ tendency to act tribally. We can speedbuild with new techniques. the carrying capacity of new engineering structures. This will make silos more porous and permeable and give them the lifeblood they need to develop and expand. . We go down narrow funnels. Knowledge and specialism silos can ossify without proper communication to outside learning and development communities as there is little discussion and challenge of assumptions. increasingly separating the parts from the whole. air circulation. monitor. cultural. Instead it implies that more important. spatial modelling. road-building methods. Professionals can become entrenched in silos. say – and no sooner than we have done this. assess. so making a physical setting lose its sense of place. Such silos see the world from their own point of view. But somehow it does not hang together and we seem no closer to better cities. we cost. sound. project manage. It becomes difficult to make bigger-picture strategies. knowledge. heating and ducting systems. we predict. Scientific studies on every conceivable microscopic aspect multiply and proliferate.212 The Art of City-Making because a fire engine cannot drive down as it needs at least twice its own width or a turning circle needs to be extra wide just in case an articulated lorry comes your way. are the traditional views of more hierarchically based management. a neighbourhood or a building: the qualities of materials. Being a professional shapes a person’s self-identity and. another type like inter-war housing estates raises its ugly head. We regenerate one kind of area – former light industrial zones.

They all have been helpful in shifting the debate and setting out its new terms. . The first group includes those whose primary concern is planning. through associated professionals whose impact is also great. The tide is turning positively even though there is much to be done. to the wider public. Some solutions have been proffered in response to a series of crises of confidence in the main built environment professions. they are not discipline specific. The second group consists of those whose contribution is very important. There is a new wave of change occurring in Europe.The Complicated and the Complex 213 The play of similarities and differences between insights is central to good city-making and the differences should be exploited as they enlarge the whole. such as local residents. leadership and the ability to manage processes and change. such as the police or health professionals. such as ‘inclusive visioning’. Urban design highlights the need for collaborative working too. The best professionals know the other silos well and allow themselves to be influenced by other insights. This agenda has also begun to impact on the more enlightened parts of the development community and professions. North America and Australia. Urban design emerged as a discipline and profession and sought to put the fragments together again as a means of giving coherence and continuity to urban developments. members of regeneration partnerships and agency leaders to infrastructure providers. including the elected and appointed decision-making classes. but still remains largely a physical discipline. but also how to get there. team-working. The review lists over 100 jobs cutting across several dozen professions. It outlines a set of generic skills. because seeing the world through a sustainable communities prism reshapes not only goals and priorities. The Egan Review16 reminds us usefully that nearly all of us are part of making sustainable places. The third wider public group includes those whose active engagement is important. delivering and maintaining sustainable communities. the media and school children. from politicians. behaviours and ways of thinking that are requirements for moving forward. Crucially. from the core professions whose fulltime job it is. These have been attacked from various quarters about what they have done to cities over the last 30 years. In Britain is was initiated by the Richard Rogers’ Urban Renaissance report and the development of Regional Centres of Excellence as well as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s ‘sustainable communities’ agenda and the Egan Review of New Skills for Sustainable Communities.

For the majority. as it determines how other areas are conceived and perceived. yet it is cultural literacy that in fact helps us understand where a place has come from and what is important to it and has meaning. interest groups. the city needs many experts. Holism as a theory emphasizes the whole and connections over the parts. Since most opportunities or problems are inextrica- . the cultural has been neglected. in isolation from its effects.) Thinking through the issues a city throws up. even while partnership building is a mantra of the age. In the context of the city. It argues that you cannot understand a system such as a city by merely looking at parts. it stresses the relationships between elements such as transport. The evaluation of everything from a perspective of specialism and narrowness is a defining characteristic of contemporary society. For far too long. advocates consultants. albeit moving along a narrow furrow. but its insights were battered into submission in the race to understand ever smaller bits of the puzzle. community organizations and the public sector operate. From this have grown many inventions and innovations. It helps us understand the present and thus possible futures too. Narrowness also has its experts. Narrowness is the paradigm and default position that has embedded itself into how companies. loops. This has made us lose the art of holistic thinking. Yet we should remember that native or aboriginal people have been thinking holistically for millennia. social life and the economy. Holism is a scientific theory with a proud history of over 100 years. social. It has formalized itself. associational structure and lobbying bodies. It has refocused us on chains.214 The Art of City-Making Whole connections and specialist parts We now have a greater understanding of the connections between things. If we are culturally confident rather than self-effacing. specialist literature. whether this was how cities work or nuclear physics. Others prefer to call this narrowness ‘focus’. boxes and segregations. at last. cycles and feedback mechanisms. (In fact the cultural should be seen as overarching. narrowness is the prism through which any activity is judged. the cultural. also the fourth pillar of sustainability. we are much more likely to take the necessary risks to move ahead. Transferred to cities it has made us see connections between the different domains: the environmental. For centuries we have been splitting knowledge and insight into fragments. economic and. like traffic. Ecological awareness and environmental distress have revived an interest in holism.

The Complicated and the Complex 215 bly interwoven, experts need to take account of each other. Yet ordinary citizens are also experts – they are certainly the expert of their own concerns and what they want. ‘Taking account of’ should not be seen as a marginal add-on once the basic decisions have been made. The list of urban issues is well known and extensive: choices of shelter at varying standards and sizes; comfort; warmth; making services – from rubbish and waste removal to maintaining roads and walkways – work; the capacity to move around in cars, bikes or public transport; the ability to earn money in varying places of work, from offices to factories; the ability to shop in differing types of outlets; to have fun; to be artistically challenged; the availability of facilities for health or social care; spaces to relax and reflect, meet people and interact; spaces to avoid noise, to escape into natural surroundings, to feel safe; to be free of vandalism; to reduce fear and crime; and to be part of decision-making. Which of these factors are more important? Clearly the built fabric is key: it sets the frame and provides the setting within which the city conducts its business and goes about its life. Not every structure works. If it is ugly and projects itself as if it were saying ‘no’, leaves out consideration of how people use space, uses cheap materials, impedes the pedestrian through a clutter of obstacles and signs, or is insufficiently accessible, it affects the rest of the urban system negatively. For the city to work well requires more than the simply utilitarian, although the practical and functional remains key, as inspiration is required to motivate. That motivation has manifold downstream impacts, from the ability to get a job to aspiring to learn and do better for oneself. This reintroduces the idea of beauty, a word long lost from our urban lexicon. A simple device may be for cities to ask themselves, ‘Is this beautiful (and practical) enough for us?’ Addressing how people feel about their city is not ‘just another burden we have to bear’ but tangibly affects the value of property, how long it will last and reduces maintenance costs. To make the varied urban factors mesh well means assessing mutual interdependencies and impacts. The life of the city shaped by a community of professionals selfconsciously concerned with niches or specialisms is different from one focused on connecting and integrating their knowledge with others. This specialist focus has shaped the growth of urban professions, usually seen as those concerned with the physical: engineers, planners, surveyors, architects. They have associational structures that mirror the shafts of light they throw on to city-making. Their

216 The Art of City-Making list of abbreviations exemplifies the profusion of organizations and divisions. In Britain they include APS, CIBSE, CIOB, CIH, CILT, ICE, IHIE, IHT, ILT, IMECHE, IstructE, LI, RIBA, RICS, RTPI and TCPA. However open-minded the professions are, it is in their interests to claim special knowledge and specialist knowledge is needed. Often this is translated into technical codes, standards, guidelines and directives. This is not to decry the specialist, but to avert the tendency for particular professions to feel they are ‘the top dog’ of city-making. Architects, it is argued, feel they have the monopoly on three-dimensional design because they can draw. Planners might see themselves as ‘the kings of the process’ because they know the steps to the agreed plan. And surveyors might consider themselves the arbiters of every kind of value, even though there are broader definitions as to what value is. In arguing for integrated thinking and cross-cutting team work, a sustainable response to the challenge must be a cultural one arising from the heart of the professions’ values and purpose, rather than an add-on approach which mimics a changed mindset. Integration is about mutual respect and the ability of the various team members to be full and equal members of a project. Integrated working implies allowing others to comment on or even rewrite the script or rules of a project. This does not displace the architect, engineer, planner or other professional: it invites them to rethink how their gifts and experience can be opened to genuine partnership within an honest, reflexive conversation. It means working towards professional institutions whose interpretation of citymaking is dynamic, aware of the tensions between perspectives within contemporary society and more instrumental as a result. It means forging new hybrid and evolving practices which secure our shared values and goals.17 There remains a misalignment between the challenges and tasks of city-making and the types of thinking, intelligences and skills we apply to it or give legitimacy to. This is a faultline of major proportions. The primary aspect of this is between the dominance of hard infrastructure professionals, from engineers and architects over those concerned with soft infrastructure, those who understand social, psychological, cultural and economic dynamics. In the hierarchy, the built environment professions are deemed to be on top. Perhaps at the beginning of the process others are consulted, but once the ‘real’ project starts, ‘the regen lads’ take over as the more exciting activity of getting things on the ground takes hold.

The Complicated and the Complex 217 There is a need for more cross-connections between planners and historians, developers and sociologists, and surveyors and health professionals. A useful technique is to consider ‘outcome swaps’ in implementing a city vision. Here a planner might be charged with gearing plans to the goals of health professionals, thereby considering, say, obesity issues in thinking through urban design. The same notion might work with transport planners taking on the mantle of the person concerned with social inclusion or the head of environment taking on the mantle of transport planning. Each profession has its value, but none fosters key elements of the combined qualities of thinking required for city-making: holistic, interdisciplinary, lateral; innovative, original, experimental; critical, challenging, questioning; people-centred, humanistic, nondeterministic; ‘cultured’, knowledgeable, critically aware of the past; and strategic.18

Stereotypes and the professions
Urban transformation lives with the legacy of stereotypes as each profession and their associated institution finds ways of justifying its primacy or dominance. In interviewing the professions in the Future London survey I asked each what they thought of the other, what they thought others thought of them, and whom they admired and for what qualities. I was attempting to get a 360-degree perspective. The aim was to explore their frustrations in finding ways of working across disciplines with mutual respect, including the soft disciplines, and in addition how new knowledge could be embedded into the common sense of city-making. Rather than getting the developer or engineer to say, ‘And now I also have to learn about this facilitation and consultation stuff,’ the goal was to reach an understanding that a broader perspective helps achieve their personal, professional objectives better as well as those of citymaking as a whole. We live in a world of clichés and stereotypes. By using these the aim is not to complain about any particular profession or add another layer of prejudice. Stereotypes are revealing about perceptions or prejudices and useful in helping to assess and overcome obstacles. Like all caricatures, stereotypes are grotesque, yet they retain a grain of truth and can be amusing, even though the images often linger long after realities on the ground have moved on.

218 The Art of City-Making A difficulty is that each profession is taken as a catch-all, when in fact there are great distinctions within each profession. For example, there are many types of surveyor, such as building, quantity or planning surveyors, and many types of planner, such as spatial, development-control or more process-oriented planners. Linked to stereotyping is scapegoating. Yet who gets the blame changes over time: the spatial planner today, the highway engineer tomorrow. I offer the following composite sketches based on verbatim remarks from these interviews, strung together to form a narrative. These are by no means scientific, but there is merit in highlighting prevailing assumptions and incomprehensions. The conclusions do not constitute the whole truth, but they will contain elements of it.

The planner
‘Planning is about fairness and sorting out the muddle.’ ‘They plan, they project into the future.’ ‘Planning attracts people who want to make a difference. They have a social conscience, but are depressed at being worn down.’ ‘They have become grey-haired, especially those in planning control. Spatial planners are less grey because they feel they are shaping the city.’ ‘But the way the system now works is that increasingly the private consultants are doing the creative stuff, leaving the public sector planners to deal with the drudgery.’ ‘The cliché of the planner is that they are bearded, a bit left-wing and have a social agenda.’ ‘They are worthy and their origins compared to an architect are more likely to be working-class.’ ‘They are downtrodden, spending their time holding back the floodgates; but they generate quite a lot of sympathy since they are treated quite badly, and more and more of them are thinking, “I’ve had enough, I can barely cope.” And there is a lot of exasperation that the government is not making their life easier, the whole system is under-resourced – so the system can’t work.’ ‘There is a huge gulf between the best and worst of planners, and the outside world can’t understand why planning procedures can not be business-driven.’ ‘I understand the accountability issues, but why are the processes so slow?’ ‘Planners are quite defensive, they stand between a rock and a hard place – the local community says that you don’t listen, and the developers say that you don’t act.’ ‘Architects see planners as dull, dowdy, bureaucratic, nit-picking, with a lack of imagination.’ ‘Planners and architects are in an adversarial position. The planner decides what the architect can’t do.’ ‘Planners are very processy, they go step by

The Complicated and the Complex 219 step.’ ‘They have a tidy mind and tidy, unflashy dress. In fact they are a bit anal.’ ‘The surveyor sees the planner as bureaucratic, with a lack of a sense of realities, a bit self-serving and focused on committees.’ ‘Planning in itself tends to rely on analysis and objectively seeing what the problem is; there is a particular twist in developmental control – it is reactive; it has not got a huge amount of creativity; there is too much emphasis on rules, looking at others. It’s not instinctive. There’s less trust in terms of planners trusting their own judgement. These planners don’t speculate, they like to assess others.’ ‘Actually, most of the time it is not the planners who are to blame but the local politicians who hide behind them.’ ‘Politicians see planners as servants, as servile staff, handling the brunt end of complaints and consultation.’ ‘Planners try to read the politician’s mind so don’t dare step out of line and so take less risks.’ ‘Planners should free themselves.’ ‘They do have a mindset – to some extent. Planners like to locate in space – they have this in common with geographers and architects. They are not comfortable unless they can see things in two-dimensional form, and they like to think longer term. In the past, say 40 years ago, they connected with social planners, with people like Norman Dennis or Michael Young.’ ‘You can date-stamp planners: first there is the 60s mindset – this was their high water mark; then in the 80s they were clamped down upon – they were seen as interventionists and intervention was a bad word. I don’t think they have quite recovered yet.’ ‘Planners feel disempowered. They were more confident some while back. They used to be about big-picture vision – now less so.’ ‘Thirty years ago they had big thoughts. Who thinks the big thoughts about cities now? Some architects, less the planners.’ ‘There has been a certain loss of status. This affects who comes into the profession, their quality is less than good enough.’ ‘Planners used to be creators of development, rather than controllers of process.’ ‘The 60s crowd had a statist attitude; planners were civil servants in all but name, but were pursuing a public agenda for the public good. Now there is a much more open situation and a recognition that the private and voluntary sectors have a role. Now the profession is very porous. They move around more between sectors.’ ‘In getting a broader approach going, planners have a slight advantage. More of them have recognized that a team approach is necessary – it is part of their role to search for consensus.’ ‘Yet planners feel they are everybody’s scapegoat, they cause delays, they take forever, they feel under siege. The word planning is tarnished. The only TV programme with them in it is Blot on the Landscape.’ ‘This

220 The Art of City-Making makes the profession attract a certain type of person – the ones that service the mud worms. At times they are people who can’t be bothered to move on.’ ‘They have some visual knowledge, but weren’t good at art, so they like to fall back on rules – they are a like civil bureaucrats.’

The surveyor
‘Surveyors – they’re straight down the line; they deal in facts not fancy, they’re realistic, they’re not interested in sensibilities.’ ‘They look at what’s there – they survey.’ ‘They basically measure things, they know how to count, how to cost. They can’t draw.’ ‘They’ve got lots of sub-heads, there are various families like quantity, building, or planning surveyors – basically they are land economists.’ ‘They understand values, they compare prices, they say, “This sold for that then, so that could sell for this now.”’ ‘They see the world through a rear-view mirror. The trend is their friend, they’re not too good at speculating.’ ‘Surveyors are concerned with values and value for money. A good building, surveyors think, must be wellcosted.’ ‘It’s always about defining things and values in a monetary sense.’ ‘Surveyors share with the economist the idea that the numeraire is really important, but they are more commercially focused.’ ‘The dominant group are now estate agents. They are knowledgeable about transactions, prices, rents, broking – [but] a smaller number are knowledgeable about buildings.’ ‘They know the price, but do not ask, “Why is it this price?” They are marketaware, they spot opportunities.’ ‘The building surveyor is more modest – they are more like technicians than transactors.’ ‘Surveyors are not thoughtful, but they’re not stupid [either]. The best will build networks to understand prices.’ ‘They have to connect to gain market knowledge, so they are quite worldly in a jovial sense.’ ‘They see themselves as good-hearted people.’ ‘Surveyors are more adaptable than some other professions, as they tend to be realists. They are materialists and pragmatists – they are not into imagining or that stuff about social values.’ ‘Surveyors are not thinking about place but the market.’ ‘“We’ve got to get the figures right,” they say. “These are the facts, right or wrong.”’ ‘Few surveyors have gone down the thoughtful route – that’s not where the money is, surveyors are quite into money.’ ‘I was recently introduced as an ‘unusual, thoughtful surveyor’, as if that were odd.’

The Complicated and the Complex 221

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 engineer’s disease?’ ‘As far as anyone can be blamed for the urban mess it is the highway engineer. They don’t understand how people, roads and places work.’ ‘Engineers are bound by performance measures, codes, standards, criteria, guidelines.’ ‘Their explicit codes contain an implicit culture.’ ‘The civil engineer will ask, “Will the forces operate correctly? They will as long as we have laid down the proper criteria.”’ ‘They tend to have a belief in an optimum – there is the perfectly functioning system. There cannot be a mistake. For example, the bridge has to stand.’ ‘Usually this works according to a theoretical design. Thus when they’re looking at transport they see it as a flow problem – its all about hydraulics.’ ‘They insist on huge splays or wide turning circles so there is no accident, messing up the feel of the city along the way.’ ‘The ideal is a congestion-free environment. They’re not very interested in counterposing considerations or arguments.’ ‘The code of engineers is by default designing the urban fabric. Their guidelines affect everything we see, and if there is no conscious place-making – and not many engineers are into that – we go by default patterns.’ ‘Ooh – “The highwaymen,” I call them. I’ve had trouble with them, they have a smug certainty that right is on their side, they’re on the side of God. Their arguments are always scientific – they could demonstrate through reason how things worked and the consequences when they don’t work.’ ‘They operate in a pseudo-scientific environment trying to find a way through to scientific certainty. Now when you ignore everything else, this is of course easy.’ ‘Basically they can’t handle the emotional.’ ‘You can’t have emotions coming into this. You could feel them thinking, “This is rational.”’ ‘You can’t beat them on their own ground. They always had the models or the data to back them up. In the end it was about bludgeoning them and winning over the politicians by appealing to a different side of their brain and with new kinds of arguments about what makes a good place.’ ‘Christmas lights are done by the highways people – just see the results.’

222 The Art of City-Making

The architect
‘They always look neat, the rimmed glasses, a controlled stylishness, tidy, sharpened pencils, ideally 2B. They’re really unhappy not being able to implement.’ ‘Architects claim they can see in three dimensions, so they think they have a monopoly on building cities.’ ‘They draw and create designs and underneath this there is the assumption that if these are thrilling then that’s fine as they judge things aesthetically – they are not very concerned about how things work.’ ‘One manifestation of architects is their desire to be different.’ ‘They like to make statements about themselves.’ ‘People often moan about architects – they say they go off on their own. Part of the problem is understanding that you need to keep up with them and make more demands.’ ‘Architects’ creativity needs to be harnessed – they need to understand the overall vision of the place, to see the bigger picture beyond just their building. We need better briefing and control.’ ‘Too often people think you need a showman, but for many jobs you need the basics – [for example] the mending of places. Thus, more architects need to be into small-scale interventions.’ ‘Architects see themselves as artists, they think the visual thing is the most powerful tool, although some are very into the technical aspects. That may be true, but many others can also draw, or a person with a fine feel for cities could ask someone to draw something on their behalf.’ ‘If drawing is seen as the main skill for building a city, this means that anyone with a social feel for how cities work has nothing to say or no power.’ ‘The slightly overblown sense that architects have of themselves is that historically they were so often the overall impresario, especially when the notion of planning permission came into being.’ ‘Whose know-how now is actually building the building? Large parts are invented by companies doing all the component bits, which you buy off the shelf. In the past the architects did more. You don’t design anymore – you choose the doors or windows, even though the architect tries to put it all together.’ ‘Architects tend to think of themselves as having a godlike power. They have the moral high ground.’ ‘They believe they understand everything, like how cities work. They have solutions to understand things, like masterplanning, innately.’ ‘How much harder is it for the community development worker with no understanding of planning and architecture to get their oar in?’ ‘They think they should be dominant – at present they are, but it is not axiomatic that they should be. You need hybrids of knowledge to make places – geographers, planners and so on.’ ‘You can see the dominance thing in terms of urban

The Complicated and the Complex 223 design – this is fought over. Architects claim only they should be doing it – it’s implicit in what they know, but in fact a battle is going on.’ ‘Architects say they are good at lateral thinking, but now they also need to learn to be finishers and to listen to others.’ ‘But I fret that my own profession is extremely narrow.’ ‘In terms of public sector architects, you feel they feel frustrated, that they ought to be in private practice. In part this is driven by the image others put on you – you are here because you aren’t good enough for the private sector. People think that a stronger personality and flair is necessary for that.’ ‘The best public architects have had to create a different narrative along the lines of “I may not have that much flair but I do know how to do functional buildings well, to budget and on time.”’ ‘Landscape architects are really a derivation of the architects, but they also have an environmental interest – they are more ecological, more modest, less showy, and more sensitive.’

The property developer
‘Cigar-chomping is the stereotype. 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 to introduce hamburger joints. They’re rapacious capitalists who would concrete over the city. And in reverse developers think planners are overly bureaucratic, hindering development, unable to make a decision… The community sector is seen [by property developers] as wanting handouts and not understanding the needs of business; they have a halo, sitting there cross-legged with a begging bowl.’ ‘The development industry has many layers. There are the traditionals – the PLCs. They make a point that they care, they genuinely want to do their best. They see themselves as having a duty to shareholders, they take trouble to build an environment that is as good and creative as possible.’ ‘But whether property developers are using property for the social good – that’s nearly incomprehensible. Whether their public spirit extends or whether they would do loss leaders that depends. They might as long as it was consistent with making a profit.’ ‘The same goes for sustainability, you have to take it seriously as part of managing risk. Developers are not trying to save the world, but take it into account

they are another category who have managed to combine various goals. and although economists invented externalities. even though it can create negative externalities.’ ‘They’re clever at spotting an opportunity. many developers see themselves as saving the world. You respond to what goes off the shelf. Genuine care is not enough – you have to understand how you can play in these complicated markets.’ ‘There remains a strong element where property is just a financial play. a commodity. say. because in the longer run it’s to their benefit. strong. It has to be customer-focused. and hackneyed (and sometimes pertinent) descriptive short cuts to match: The economist ‘Economists. the cliché goes. less as builders of development and more as facilitators of opportunity. They’re not intrinsically interested in cities – that’s why we need to get them to appreciate cities.’ ‘In a way.’ ‘They’re not doing philanthropy. the big developments are very complex.’ ‘Whilst they are seen as money-grabbing. Your penalty for failing to understand economic value is bankruptcy.224 The Art of City-Making in order to run their business well. There are many other professions of relevance. where the product is an office or housing.’ ‘To make our developments work and bring people together.’ ‘In any case. vulgar and exploiting. they tend .’ ‘Some are trying to reconsider what they do. You’re only successful in property if people use your building. Someone I know makes a point of never looking at the property he pays for: these folks do our image no good. transparent and fair planning system.’ ‘Developers are a derivation from a surveyor – where you really need to understand values and how to create values.’ ‘The essence of property development is about supply and demand.’ And many others… The above are thumbnail sketches of the predominant buildingfocused professions. our community wants a good. This means they have to learn new skills like getting stakeholders together or consulting people. It’s about responding to and suiting the moment. property development is not a profession like surveying. you have to bring together teams where the economic development people play a key role. but will it work in theory?”’ ‘They have an automatic response that the market will work. “It looks as if it will work in practice.’ ‘Urban Catalyst or Urban Splash. Property developers are like manufacturing shopkeepers.

Most rules are there . say linking the arts to a social goal.’ The project manager ‘The project manager in essence derives from quantity surveying – you have to ensure the job is closely specified throughout to avoid deviations from the bill of quantity so no cost overruns occur and to ensure you’re not held up in terms of critical path management. They’re just as much into silos as any other profession.’ ‘Actually for most professions.’ ‘We need more people who can translate across professions. Time is money.’ The social worker ‘They’re a fire-fighting occupation. they have total empathy with the group they are looking after.The Complicated and the Complex 225 to think disturbances should take care of themselves as the remedy is worse than the cure.’ ‘If you want culture in the mainstream of city development you have to understand other languages. and people with a cultural background are good at this.’ ‘They are not a creative breed.’ The cultural developer ‘The cultural people. or had not worked with the property division and got into the priorities of engineers or surveyors. I’d be in a far weaker position had I not been able to speak the language of education.’ ‘They gaze over the abyss so much that they become depressed – they are socialized into where their clients are. “Who is this loose cannon?” they think.’ ‘If you don’t understand where they are coming from. so specifications are everything – just think of the penalties. they are marginalized. you look to a bible. you can’t let good ideas get in the way of a tight time and budget schedule. The environment is so powerful on them and gets in the way. Culture is about assessing what’s important in a place and this is different from place to place. you get nowhere. such as “the council is the enemy of the state” or “the private sector by definition has it in for you”. like for planners or engineers.’ ‘It’s still very threatening for them when a non-professional comes in with a mission. It’s like going to France with no French. There is no rule book in culture.’ The community developer ‘These people from community development backgrounds also hold stereotypes about other people. and they are very process-oriented.

Further.’ ‘The starting point in the leadership process should be what makes a good city rather than let’s do the roads first and everybody has to fit around it. not only financial. you mustn’t rock the boat. If you’re seen as a nutter.’ ‘The problem is they think they are in charge.226 The Art of City-Making so you follow them – for good reason – but it squeezes out flexibility.’ ‘Without leadership silos cement. When we talk of culture in this way we’re seen as oddballs. you’re not taken seriously. you want a lawyer. you want someone to add up. Yet ‘silos don’t matter if people have a vision beyond their specialism and can see how their specialism fits in’. accountability is key. Balancing skills Stereotypes become less and less applicable as professions learn to work across boundaries. they start off as being honest and right and then become distorted. which is why we must mainstream.’ The civil servant ‘And then as an overlay on this you have the civil servants. Take the cinema complex. engineers fall into place and then can deliver. ‘Leaders overcome the barriers. But being a maverick has its limits. We still remain in a period where ‘everyone thinks they have reasons to be dominant’ and ‘everyone feels justified in their own terms to justify this’. To the cultural sector this is not an issue – as value is also cultural. new groupings such as regeneration specialists are emerging.’ ‘Most professionals are good people who want to deliver. it’s about using them better. They then [become] so much involved in managing risk.’ ‘There is nothing wrong with the skill set around.’ ‘With leadership and especially strong local leaders. multiskilled multitaskers. and when we break rules to empower people this is a big challenge. for example. It’s worth £2 million and we want to spend £4 million to refurbish it. They are slightly broader and at their best they are multidisciplinary.’ . planners. you want to be absolutely sure it is safe – or if you want the sum. but they still do not sufficiently incorporate the softer insights into their practice. ‘If you want to know a law. alliances can be built and then the architects.’ This is perhaps the reason for Shaw’s pithy remark that the ‘professions are a conspiracy against the laity’. they stop doing the best for life as life is not risk-free. who feel themselves to be good – they are risk-averse.

Yet the regulatory mindset is still prominent.’ ‘Each person should acquire a bit of the other. The professional gestalt According to gestalt psychology.’ ‘What you need is a balance of skills.The Complicated and the Complex 227 Too frequently.’ ‘The best way forward is to mix groups as long as the social.’ ‘It is more about allowing people to feel relaxed about who they are and using them well.20 Every profession has a gestalt – a shape. which by its nature is interdisciplinary. Perception is the process . engineers calculate. too much challenge is actually infantile. form and configuration. professions work on different scales – the architect focuses on the block. the political and the built professions understand the economic.’ ‘This may be more important than saying everyone should have an MBA. An alliance that challenges each of us in a mature way. professional creativity. You don’t want every planner to be long term – you want the system to pick the right people for the right task. the engineer within the block and the planner at a wider geographical setting. Planners project.’ ‘The key issue is that the differences should be exploited rather than seen as getting in the way. analysis skills and the ability to finish. people naturally organize their perceptions according to certain patterns. As a cost-accountant-turned-estate-agent noted. In addition. professions tend to return to their core assumptions. we need to explore conceptually. surveyors cost. architects visualize. their minds are governed by the environment in which they work and influenced above all by their peer group.’21 OPENING MINDSETS AND THE PROFESSIONS To get at the core of the problem of city-making and of our incapacity to see things in the round or to see both the trees and the forest together. I analysed things to death. ‘There remains much too strong an emphasis on control. Bringing these together is manageable if you have the right culture around them. ‘I was so analytical that I analysed the potential out of the challenge.’ Furthermore. There is a desire to get beyond the stereotype: ‘You should get away from the blame culture and generate leadership and management within a broader and more aspirational alliance. based on experience.’ This is especially true for urban design.

The idea of gestalt proposes a series of laws that can be applied to how professions operate. and centring of the given (“insight”) in the direction of the desired solution’. and an architect designs and draws – there is an underlying patterning to how they go about their work. In this sense. The most important is the law of praegnanz. the law of symmetry – symmetrical images are seen as belonging together regardless of distance. pane of glass. such as the qualities of being humorous and . simplistic or symmetrical. the law of similarity – our mind groups similar things together. interpreting. Other laws point to a certain volition in the way that we think: the law of closure – if something is missing. 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. The mind completes the missing pieces through extrapolation. Gestalt theorists follow the basic principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. canvas. It is a configuration. we see what we want to see. brick. in layman’s terms. paint. and the law of continuity – our mind continues a pattern even after it stops. It is an organized structure. (Remember a rule in mathematics is something which is always true. Clearly other personal characteristics come into play. selecting and organizing sensory information and a pattern is a form. brush. a car or the engineering discipline) carries a different and altogether greater meaning than its individual components (paint. metal. tensile structure element). orderly. the law of proximity – things that are close together are seen as belonging together. a set of rules which can be used to make or to generate things or parts of a thing in a certain way. ‘formed’. more abstractly. tyre.) As each profession perceives the world in a certain way – a planner projects ahead or sees spatially. our mind adds it. The word gestalt refers to a way a thing has been gestellt: ‘placed’ or ‘put together’. costs and values.228 The Art of City-Making of acquiring. which says we try to experience things in as good a gestalt way as possible in our terms. such as regular. In other words. the whole (a picture. ‘shaped’. These components of grouping and perception influence our thinking and problem-solving skills ‘by appropriate substantive organization. a surveyor surveys. template or model or. ‘good’ can mean several things. restructuring. which is why some professions project such certainty.22 To some extent.

‘Milk. For example. a mindset. a form. though. It uses familiar thought processes. ‘What does S-I-L-K spell?’ the answer given is. .’ A mindset is the order within which people structure their worlds and how they make choices. Indeed it is this focus that generates the advances in each discipline that we would not want to do without. procedures. Mindflow is the mind in operation. a gestalt that follows them like a shadow Source: Charles Landry confident. processes. For this reason it is not possible to say ‘every engineer or doctor is like this’.The Complicated and the Complex 229 All professions have a shape. From these ways of looking. specific technologies or traditions emerge and develop. techniques and practices.’ When one then asks. It is possible. Once a set pattern has emerged this becomes reinforced. what is interpreted and what meaning is implied. connections and interpretations as a means of filtering and coping with the world. The environment or context determines what is seen. The mind is locked into certain patterns for good reason. when someone asks in English. both practical and idealistic. ‘What do cows drink?’ people will often respond. ‘Silk. to argue that each profession has a tendency. concepts. proclivity or bias to look at issues in a certain way. willing to listen or being pleasant.

At others. The increased awareness of complexity has challenged this primacy. For example. For example. . the idea that things are connected. A mindshift is the process whereby the way one thinks of one’s position. was until recently sidetracked and reductionism was in the ascendancy. Science is a method in the quest for truth.230 The Art of City-Making based on values. The mindset is our accustomed. people like their behaviour to be coherent – at least to themselves. traditions and aspirations. the long-established idea of holism. The crucial issue is how to get the urban professions to change their approach systematically – but not piece by piece. an era is also shaped by predominant views of how right and wrong is established or by scientific theories. but also societies and periods of history. function and core ideas is dramatically reassessed and changed. which is why in the political domain there is increased talk of joined-up. it occurs through external circumstance and is forced upon individuals and groups through crisis. possibly more often. A changed mindset is a rerationalization of a person’s behaviour. convenient way of thinking and guide to decision-making. The power of reductionism nevertheless lingers on as those at the height of their profession and with power were probably educated 20 or 30 years ago and so have had the reductionist mindset etched into them. philosophy.23 It is not only individuals. At its best it is based on the capacity to be open-minded enough to allow this change to occur. Yet governments’ aim to foster joined-up thinking will only succeed if they forcefully challenge certain entrenched scientific hierarchies. It not only determines how we act in our small local world. professions or collectives like companies that have a mindset. an era shaped by certain religious or ethical values is affected by the dominant thinking. yet itself is a particular approach. The mindset is the settled summary of our prejudices and priorities and the rationalizations we give them. but also how we think and act on an everincreasingly encompassing stage. integrated and holistic thinking. Regretfully we always seem to be behind the times in realizing what is necessary. At times this happens through reflective observation of the world around. We now know we need to look both at the parts and the whole together. Within each period specific scientific paradigms dominate over others.

at simpler things like mathematical formulae. could not be described as anything but collective. An urban example would be to see the house and street or the street and city simultaneously. flow and evolution of things like places. issues or questions arise from the properties of parts. spatial planning and social issues. We see the way the trees and the forest are related to each other. there is a danger of simplification if we extrapolate this attractive simplicity to complex ‘living organisms’ like cities. When one can shift back and forth between seeing the trees and the forest. We have to know the structure of both the key and the lock. such as architecture. that there is more to a system than the specification of parts and their relationships. for example. In this view. and we have to know that doors exist. I would argue. A key has a particular structure. a shop or an office. out of the descriptions of the subsystems that a system is composed of. we are moving between different vantage points. a wave of panic. . The sum of two and two is four in all but the most totalitarian circumstances! However. But in doing so. for instance. It asks what parts of a system like a city do together that they would not do by themselves. it ignores the relationships between the subsystems. Conventionally. Many argue this approach is not practical. spontaneous applause or the rise of fascism is not comprehended by looking only at individuals.The Complicated and the Complex 231 The blight of reductionism Reductionism is an approach to building descriptions of systems. one also sees which aspects of the trees are relevant to the description of the forest. Emergence is a useful concept because it can describe the flux. The power of reductionism is that it can appear self-evident when we look. We see the trees and the forest simultaneously. To see in both these ways we have to be able to see details and ignore details. such as places or cities. Emergence is about understanding how collective properties. A useful example is a door key. Clearly. Collective behaviour. when we think about what ‘emerges’. The reductionist perspective thinks about parts in isolation. citing the notion of strong emergence. people consider either the trees or the forest. The trick is to know which of the many details we see in the trees are important to know when considering the forest. such as a house. But describing its structure is not enough to tell someone that it can open a door.

The initial response to the latter’s popularity was along the lines of ‘I’m a trained doctor so I know the effect of complementary medicine is likely to be a placebo effect.’ And. Boundary-blurring threatens identity and gets all kinds of defensive system mechanisms going. whether this be the tribe. Professions create an identity by setting out to distinguish themselves from others to create that belonging. ‘This is not the appropriate method to check my work in any case. family.’ Some might argue that distinctions and differences between professions are a function of precision and efficiency. ‘I better find out more about this. rules. This can only occur by differentiation. put it in a box. give it a name. So even if we think some of ‘ours’ are none too good. indeed is essential for the study of complex systems. we still support them. through a set of technical skills. In assessing things like places. the conventional doctors are now having to say.’ Most professions want to identify something.232 The Art of City-Making A final crucial point: when we look at things in isolation. but in reality we have created professional jealousies.’ This was a way of getting rid of the threat. given the sustained interest in alternative medicine. To this the alternative practitioner responded. Once in a profession. city or profession. strip out the uncertainty and measure it. codes and accepted behaviours. Some say this is a Faustian pact. Thus tribalism asserts itself: ‘I am a planner so I am not an architect or a social worker.24 Professions and identity How does this discussion relate to the professions? Part of the human condition is wanting to belong and feel attached to a broader whole. This changes the professional landscape. Life is not like that – there is a need to live with uncertainty and complexity. and the fact that many things are never completely true. and the traditional professional view does not fit into the new world. This is the world . the notion of approximation or ‘partial-truth’ is more appropriate. where we limit some freedom of creativity in return for being part of a ‘brotherhood’ of mutual respect and support. however. we seek truth. This process is witnessed in the relationship of traditional doctors vis-à-vis complementary medicine. it is safer to keep to the rules of a profession rather than blur the boundaries. group. the double blind trials don’t seem to work. community.

The moment the emphasis is too strongly on a standard. Making cities is more exciting than making a road. house-building or land-use planning. Others are sharper in their criticism: ‘The professional bodies are wretched. integrated thinking simultaneously proposed.’ ‘The professions are not about solving problems of the professions.or city-making process. they become the . which is why so many outsiders are the innovators. It is not representing a professional body and thus not self-interested. In this shift. With built-in specifications. specialists tend to find this stimulating and more rewarding. A world in which highway engineers have a specialism in keeping things moving is different from one in which there is a job called ‘making places’.’ ‘Few have a bigger-picture frame within their profession. because it keeps shooting for agreed standards with little ability for change. but rather the lack of cooperation between them and with others currently not seen as part of the city-making circuit. Over the longer term this can lead to a culture that gradually begins to destroy itself.’25 Performance culture Many of the encrustations referred to above are exacerbated by governments’ focus on a performance-driven culture with its focus on specific targets and outputs. no one is criticizing the technical capacities of the professions.’ ‘I have stopped reading the housing and other specialist press.’ ‘Regeneration and Renewal is a good digest. This reinforces the sense of the professional as someone who keeps to the rules. nobody can be blamed. In fact. place-making. you lose the unique capacity to be adaptive. What matters is that professionals are excellent at what they do and willing to participate in a related exercise. Instead of seeing rules as a background or supportive guide for action. so much of what they do is seen through the narrow prism of their perspective. In such a culture. Current professional arrangements can appear dysfunctional in making this happen. when given the opportunity to work together and be part of a place.’ ‘We need professions beyond self-interest. the only safe test is a standard which works against the joined-up. there is little that suggests that they are taking the new agenda on board.The Complicated and the Complex 233 of city-making.’ ‘They are deeply unchallenging. sustainable communities and urbanism – all terms seeking to describe a broader way of doing things other than mere road-building. it is precious and self-referential.

Being perceived as a ‘secret brotherhood’ fosters prejudice. Jim Collins26 argues that there are five levels of leadership. In Britain the Academy for Sustainable Communities addresses some of these issues and will give credits for topics such as regeneration or urbanism rather than for planning. Planners. has no professional institute in Britain. It seeks to think of professionalism in a new way within a broader urban vision. a discipline that binds built environment people together. As Harry S. architects and others moving between the public. private and community sectors are likely to foster the breakdown of compartmentalization.27 A critical factor in city-making is values. the fact that the Dutch . A performance-driven culture also diminishes the capacity to make judgements. It argues professions should work together more. They cannot be avoided as these are embedded consciously or subconsciously in any place-making project. which was welcomed by government when it was set up eight years ago. Both have rotating chairs – different professions take it in turn. for example in training. Ironically. ‘You can accomplish anything in life. There is. urban design. Thus ‘the post-modern profession is the profession that is not purely for the professions’. provided that you do not mind who gets the credit. Stretching boundaries Interestingly. There is also the National Planning Forum (NPF). although it still seen as physical place-making. The openness implied connects well with the literature on leadership. For example in Good to Great. Fifth-level leaders channel their ego away from themselves towards the bigger picture of building a great company. with a similar objective to broaden perspectives. A target such as cost per square foot has no wider reference except itself and so. perhaps a threat to professional institutes’ identity. Truman once observed. for example.’ The equivalences here are the objectives of the UDA or NPF. set up by the government.234 The Art of City-Making method of progressing. can say nothing about warmth or comfort. opening structures out to the street reflects our views of transparency. This focus increases risk aversion and reduces the possibilities of boundary-blurring and coherent joint working. the respect for individual disciplines is likely to increase when they open out and communicate as more people will know what they do. though. the Urban Design Alliance (UDA). For example.

It will not happen in a smooth. business-as-usual way. Unwin and his followers built cities which were supposed to act as role models for future living – such as Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth. They are thus not transformational. reflective glass on office buildings exudes a sense of power and lack of approachability. We are moving from simply asking to actively involving. is an aspirational charter of principle and practice. as will the reliance on technical code-based work. They have tried to extend their understanding of how to go forward by being value-driven and asking how to work across professions and how to challenge codes. Planning is about to be different from what it used to be – it is set to be a more holistic process. Raymond Unwin and his implementation of the garden cities is cited as a counter-example. They represent advocacy. There . which. The Congress of New Urbanism (CNU)28 is given as a contemporary example. Apart from creating useful noise. Britain. such alliances do not implement defined projects through which you can measure success and failure. is currently good at exhortations and producing good practice guidance. one which is not just about good practice or aspirations but is clear about what is expected so it is possible to hold people to account. but it remains an interesting example of a group coming together with a clear charter of values and principles which can be argued against. It is also effective in setting up alliances such as the UDA. such as psychological and cultural literacy. and new people will be brought in and consulted. We are likely to incorporate new insights. The British government wanted a similar charter for the Academy of Sustainable Communities. Another example noted is the Urban Land Institute. Some say its focus is narrow. soothing. values and the means of providing technical know-how. by contrast the repelling. Soon the idea of planning as merely land-use planning will probably feel defunct.The Complicated and the Complex 235 do not draw their curtains at night reflects an originally Calvinist view that we have nothing to hide. The CNU is a movement which took as its model the Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) statement. Here there was a clear statement of aspiration. which has a strong track record in providing crosssectoral learning models and training. This paradigm shift in the worlds of planning will take time to unfold in its fullness. whatever your views. it is argued. although its background is as part of the development community.

‘Place-making’ seeks to move us away from focusing on sites. Contrast this with Barcelona’s approach (see later) with public space. so highlighting a concern with the lived life of the city as distinct from its mere structures. The planning professions should see this moment as an opportunity for them. it seeks to orchestrate the elements into a workable whole. Boundaries are stretching from many directions to break down silos. although some in the longer run could be seen as opportunities. as the results on the ground are likely to be more sustaining if we use our creative capacities to do it in ways that tap imagination. The shift from ‘participation in planning’ where you merely consult to ‘participatory planning’ where you involve will get us beyond the knee-jerk consultation processes so common and yet unempowering. . Obstacles will appear. especially locally. But we must have it. including cultural and social priorities. some kinds of vision might be curtailed or professionals will need to be more persuasive in leadership.236 The Art of City-Making will be arguments and resistance. Nor is it concerned with the global competition of cities. It centres itself on peoples’ perception and experience of places. Each has strengths and weaknesses as it tries to capture a sense of integration and connectedness. It focuses on collective skills and techniques. Democracy will cause problems. Although it has a design focus. physical. forecourts and streets form a pattern or mosaic. the role of core cities in Britain and their regions. locations and transport as if these in isolation could create ‘a place’. it asks itself the question. ‘A sense of place’ encapsulates a variety of factors. atmospheric and activity-based. The word place resonates and is emotionally laden in a positive sense. battles of will and occasional rage as well as pleasant surprise. This shift emphasizes the democratic imperative. A variety of initiatives and terms express this. that need to work together to make a space a place. things will take more time. ‘How will social or economic interactions be fostered by the design and layout?’ Rather like urban design. or the economic foundations of cities. good design and appropriateness to purpose and the jointly shared public realm as the connective tissue within which the buildings. It highlights quality. a similar class of problem exists elsewhere in Europe. The way it is used by the British government narrowly focuses on housing.

Urbanism provides the raw materials for creating urban strategies and decisionmaking. aesthetics and architecture. while economics identifies the financial and commercial determinants driving urban transition processes. from business ideas to improving the mundane. And urban literacy. values and forms of knowledge which constitute the shared bases of social action. narratives. These draw on the insights of cultural geography. urban planning. Cultural geography helps clarify the spatial. Traditionally. however. and so on). it is argued. For example. potential and hidden possibilities. beliefs. developed by learning about urbanism.The Complicated and the Complex 237 ‘Urbanism’ uses an even broader canvas. This is enriched by interrogating and decoding the world of signs (in language. traditions and focus necessary to comprehend urban complexities. resources and potential of the city in a richer way. film. psychology brings in emotional factors in urban development and how people feel about their environments. urban economics and social affairs. can become the meta-urban discipline and urban literacy a linked generic and overarching skill. penetrative insights. A full understanding of urbanism only occurs by looking at the city from different perspectives. ecology and cultural studies. is the ability and skill to ‘read’ the city and understand how cities work. By seeing the city through diverse eyes. By reconfiguring and tying together a number of disciplines. Each discipline contributes its unique quality. . are revealed. locational and topographical patterning of cities and design and aesthetics focuses on look and feel. cultural studies and anthropology bring an understanding and interpretation of the inherited ideas. planning and the other built environment professions contribute the techniques and technology and sets of rules. Urbanism. as well as knowledge of power configurations. The sociological focus helps reveal group dynamics and the processes of social and community development. codes and conventions to carry out the insights gained from these varied forms of knowledge. It is the discipline which helps understand the dynamics. design. It requires a set of lateral. the conversation on urbanism has been led by architects and urban designers. music. Finally. critical and integrated thinking qualities as well as core competencies. history and anthropology. perceptions and ways of interpreting an understanding of urban life emerge. Completely underestimated in the context of the city.

Much of this will derive from new perceptions. Policy handshakes between diverse areas of expertise are central to the ‘art of citymaking’. spatial planning insights into transport or psychological insights into geography. a tenacity to see things through. as noted. An openness of thinking and willingness to hear other things. Alternatively. These can be summarized as follows: • • • • • • • • • An ability to cross boundaries and think laterally. A sense of vision combined with realism. a patience garnered from having experience. Valuing diverse disciplines. a historian physical planning or a social development specialist cultural affairs. to draw together arguments and attitudes. to facilitate.29 These skills are not profession specific. Over the years I have asked countless people who they respect or admire as city-makers in terms of their attitudes. To be able to listen and to hear. Open to suggestion and challenge. Some architects have them. People who know their place. can feel what it is like. This might then justifiably be called communications planning. so do some planners or engineers and others outside the . might lead to interesting appointments in running cities – an environmentalist becoming head of transport. The ability to pick out the essence of a professional position and to see how it relates to other aspects. combinations might be created that could link telecoms and transport or land use with social networking strategies. To be able to bring out the best in others. an economist heading up social affairs. Practical and open to new ideas. such as cultural insights into economics. a mix of drive and focus on the nitty-gritty. qualities and characteristics. ‘place-making’ and ‘urbanism’ comes from emphatically integrating disciplines and the extra insight and knowledge gained through synergy. have walked its streets.238 The Art of City-Making Insights and crossovers The real power of notions such as ‘sustainable communities’. There is an astonishing alignment in terms of professional qualities now being highlighted for city-making.

What is noticeable is the focus on ‘openness’ and ‘others’. and some of the mainstream too. such as David Burnham. Noticeably. combining subjects like English with social administration and then planning. Brunelleschi. In looking to individuals who made breakthroughs in thinking about cities. who devised the model for the cupola in Florence. Consultants should be more like critical friends and less answer providers. or politics with economics and then engineering. Ideally leadership is rooted to place and community. Those with specialist undergraduate training then expanded their repertoire. was a goldsmith and sculptor. Yet a raft of new niche developers. It is the lateral. Often they had taken baccalaureate-style exams with many subjects stretching from the natural to social sciences and languages. as was Jane Jacobs. municipalities have hollowed out. . So many people already understand and apply place. Their education was not narrow. even as outsiders. being able to draw threads from different domains of their experience. who was an architect before he became a planner. the role models had broad experience starting right from the beginning. and both were fantastic observers and describers of the real place and how you understand it. Ebenezer Howard was a stenographer. sustainable communities and urbanistic thinking instinctively. What are the conditions within which it is more possible to become a thought and action leader? There is a need to allow for a degree of romanticism and passion allied to prosaic common sense and a strong value set. Today we have allowed too much responsibility. This chimes well with emerging notions of leadership such as those expounded in Good to Great by Jim Collins. emotional engagement with and love of the city. it needs to be organically grown.The Complicated and the Complex 239 urban professions. There are also many counter cases. it is noteworthy how many are not urban professionals. Lewis Mumford was a journalist. have managed to bend their goals to local aspiration. creative thinking and planning to be subcontracted to consultants. Those role models that had specialized early often got into areas like development not through the professional route but through different experiences. This creates a form of subcontracted leadership that can feel imposed. The world over. Christopher Wren was a scientist and then became a professor of astronomy before going into building. bringing these to the task of city-making. connecting skills that people seem to admire. What this shows is that deep insight comes from a visceral sense of. so enlarging the sense of local leadership.

this will cause economic and social damage.’ It is rare to find such sentiments in the context of urban discourse. second. There are two basic approaches: first. We’ve only just absorbed sustainable communities.240 The Art of City-Making BLINDSPOTS IN CITY-MAKING There are a series of blindspots in the comprehensive art of citymaking. outcomes. framework. cultural literacy. ‘Oh not another thing to consider. In the longer run. to engender a feeling of love for your place.’ ‘We want to encourage a feeling of inspiration and beauty. and diversity. a defining feature of human existence. development. Critics will complain. . They all require a deep understanding of people and social dynamics. targets – and feels hollow and without a reference point. Instead the prevalent. interchangeable words and concepts proliferating involve a barren. Yet have you ever read a city plan that starts with the emotions or even refers to them? ‘Our aim is to make citizens happy. environmental psychology. embedding this knowledge as a consideration within existing disciplines through adapting training programmes or the help of experts and. Yet it is odd that emotions. artistic thinking. The emotions Emotions drive our life. are absent in discussions of city-making. policy. and negative spin-offs. diversity and gender issues. unemotional language that is performance-driven – strategy. We have already extensively covered the lack of sensory appreciation. They shape our possibilities. Their effect causes people to lose insight and understanding of what makes cities work. specifically bringing in experts as part of a team. determine our reactions to situations and our outlook on the future. The five other most important domains of missing knowledge are: • • • • • the emotions.’ Yet these concepts are merely enlightened common sense. A challenge for city leaders is to describe the aims for their city without using any of those words.’ ‘We want to create a sense of joy and passion in our city.

Goleman stressed the centrality of emotions.30 which pulled together the huge amount of work in developing areas of brain research. motivation. sadness and shame. A ninth crucial element is surprise – the startled emotion that can translate into either fear or excitement. It feels cold and external. First. human competencies like self-awareness. but stark sodium lights which seek to solve fear also make us fearful as the light sharpens the contours between dark and light. How does this connect to city-making? Just as we can test a person’s feelings system. Five are connected to survival: fear. places can become more sustaining and sustainable. Thus a high-rise block that works would tend to balance the excitement of a view or a sense of awe with comforting features. The three others – excitement. guilt. and other writings by authors such as Jack Mayer. although the words are used interchangeably. Within this emotional interplay there is a balance between safety and a sense of anchoring and exploration. Soft light that feels welcoming is a better solution. . thus engendering fear and again a cold and external feeling.The Complicated and the Complex 241 In 1995 Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence. any place-making project should start with ‘How does it feel?’ rather than ‘Does it meet a particular specification?’ The latter is not about the human condition.) Second. While most people already knew this intuitively. so is continuous excitement. have advanced our understanding of the role of emotions in dealing with life. All feelings are a compound of the emotions – a palette of colours. It makes a person feel less powerful. (And these forms of intelligence can be taught. anger. This book. Emotions and feelings are different. persistence. These might. depending on context. self-discipline. The evidence suggests that these emotions are not only cross-cultural but that they apply to the whole mammalian realm. Just as unfettered fear is unsustainable. empathy and social skills are of greater consequence than IQ or technical skills in much of life. If one can tap into emotions. now this notion was given experimental testimony. Emotional Intelligence focuses on two broad areas. It takes away the sense of identity with which we manage the world. there seem to be eight fundamental emotions. joy and love – make us bond and attach and are not about survival. darkness engenders fear. For example. High-rise blocks can make people feel diminished as overwhelming structures can feel outside a person’s control. Peter Salovey and David Caruso. where extraordinary advances have been made in understanding how people function.

242 The Art of City-Making for example. Boyatzis outline five components: Self-awareness. Annie McKee and Richard E. the theme park seeks to balance the emotions in a controlled way by triggering excitement while diminishing fear. The emotional intelligence debate also highlights the fact that competencies based on emotional intelligence play a far greater role in leadership and general performance than do intellect or technical skill. Intuition. self-regulation. a passion for something. the ability to recognize and understand one’s moods. It is a common cross-cultural response which triggers a sense of possibility and wholeness. and that both individuals and organizations benefit from cultivating these capabilities. Interestingly. On the other hand. so people have to school themselves in accepting physical environments that conflict with their own instincts rather than trusting their own judgements. a medieval cathedral or mosque can uplift as the experience of a sense of awe and dignity balances the possible overwhelming feeling with a feeling of order and structure. people seem to know what kind of places work and they vote with their feet as these become popular. Again. motivation. as their intuition is insufficiently self-conscious and thus untutored. which leads to accurate self-assessment. By neglecting the capacity for people fundamentally to trust their own judgements we infantilize them. empathy. and self-confidence. in fact requires a highly developed sensibility. The brain. a modern church can often feel like a social workers’ gathering place when it does not lift the person into a different state of being. Intuitively. it appears. the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses or moods as well as the propensity to suspend judgement. Even for the nonreligious. that goes beyond money or status as well as a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence. Much of this knowledge is intuitive. the capacity to understand the . In Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. intuition has zero status in city-making. is hard-wired to need a dimension we can call the spiritual – some high-order symmetry. Contrast a theme park with a cathedral. Attachment is a fundamental human cue. emotions and drives as well as their effect on others. Yet we do not have the same level of evidence as to where to locate it. Daniel Goleman. which comes from reflecting on a range of experiences. be soft textures created through greening or planting. which leads to self-control and adaptability. although decried as unscientific. They might not be able to explain why. such as the city. belonging and wanting to feel attached.

wide roads and turning circles or sprawl. which leads to a pervasiveness of risk consciousness – and anything modern is risky. cheap materials. the impact on people of a clutter of signs and information overload. the influence of height on the senses.32 but in fact there is a complex of reasons. One is the impact of the speed of change. bad urban design or townscape planning. the disorienting effects of confusion in the urban environment in terms of feeling safe. The vast evidence it has gathered includes: • • • • • • • • the harmful effects of ugliness – this could be a building.The Complicated and the Complex 243 emotional make-up of others and the skill of treating people according to their emotional reactions. Environmental psychology Environmental psychology measures the effect of the physical and social environment on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. how mental geography determines a sense of well-being. or looming overpasses.31 At the core of the latter two is empathetic listening. yet there is a surprising coalescence in agreeing their scope. especially when the pavements are too narrow. This is often seen as a consequence of the failure of many new housing designs in the 1960s. the effect of motorway gateways. the ability to manage relationships and build networks as well as find common ground and build rapport. feelings about dirt and rubbish and the subsequent lack of care people have for their environment. The discipline has a rich history stretching back over 50 years. and social skill. thus the effect of people feeling cut off by roads. the restorative effects of beauty. even though what beauty is in a context will be subject to debate. The consequences of seas of endless asphalt. It . and the repercussions of noise and car dominance. such as ‘spaghetti junction’ in Birmingham. barriers and obstacles. feeling overwhelmed by the townscape. • • • Clearly both beauty and ugliness are relative terms. the impact of heaviness or clunkiness of buildings. It is often highlighted that more traditional designs are favoured over the modern.

such as how levels of noise cause people to shut off and become uncommunicative. loneliness. ‘How does your structure help build social capital?’ Similar evidence exists for other phenomena. but cope with. as does hope. Anchoring either in physical space. well-designed. change and variability are more accepted when decisions go with the flow and grain of a local culture. feelings of depression. feelings of stress and fear of crime is reduced. how a lack of quality space makes people feel impoverished. By contrast. In this context. People are affected by. although community spirit can occasionally be intensely strong in places of such disadvantage. comforting place. motivation and confidence in the future and thus well-being. ugly environments increase crime and fear of crime and lead to stress. concepts of aesthetics and good design vary. Within each of these. the past and nostalgia seem like a safe. So working with and uncovering this ‘cultural stuff’ through consultation processes is far more central than we think. reduced social capital and less social bonding. there are the thresholds of change that people can psychologically bear. Depending on age. through the community or with peers is key. isolation. Unsurprisingly. worthlessness. A core question to any architect is then. class. and social mixing increases. life position and income. and culture thus becomes a backbone rather than a defensive shield. . a lack of aspiration and a drained will. ‘Natural’ environments have similar restorative effects. or how wide open asphalt or concrete can lead to depression. This brings us to the third large domain missing in city-making – cultural literacy. high quality physical environments is that they feel restorative. Experimenting with new designs for living that might work better seems frightening.244 The Art of City-Making feeds deeper anxieties about our notion of progress and the arrogance and overconfidence of science and technology that it can solve any problem. say. the net effect of beautiful. how too many cars overwhelm. untidiness. more care is taken of them. The consequence is a self-reinforcing negative cycle. Interestingly. a pub changing its name three times in a few years. vandalism. while what is deemed ugly tends to cut across divisions. the likelihood of less employment.

This allows one to work out what is meaningful and significant to people who live there. Some cultural rites have evolved over generations. retail units). compare and decode the local cultures in a place. evaluate. such as the passegiata. the style of buildings and their presentation. Cultures create artefacts – things people make or have made that have meaning for them. feel. Each culture has codes or assumptions by which it lives. both through obvious signs like a steel plant and through signs of it’s going up or down – shabbiness or ‘For sale’ signs. We understand more what we see. typically monuments to past leaders or heroes in the main square or in front of a government building. We sense history in how the city goes about its business. which. attitudes and habits. We identify the social consequences of urban economies in transition. behaving in public places. for example what kinds of acts of intimacy or affection are deemed appropriate in public space. eating. getting ahead or.34 Religious monuments to saints or gods also have pride of place. still have local distinctiveness. Subconsciously ‘trained’ in advertising symbolism. It is seen in customary ways of behaving – making a living. are thought through at root. . We understand better the life cycle of the city in motion. so understand the meanings of colours. understand. Culture is who we are. smell and hear. the culturally literate intuits and interprets the manifold urban distinctions and identifiers – to whom a shop is targeted. who the historic names of places refer to and what their purpose was and how that resource might be used for the future of the city.The Complicated and the Complex 245 Cultural literacy33 Cultural literacy is the ability to read. and there are expectations underlying those customary behaviours. expressing affection. This may condition how we organize space or the iconography of our road signs. We feel the city’s economy viscerally. often seemingly chaotic at first sight. We grasp better the shapes of urban landscapes and why they came about. as when ‘lower value’ uses (for example. find significance in. We recognize how perhaps the placement of facilities like markets. the sum of our beliefs. We appreciate aesthetic codes. the evening stroll in Italy or Spain. while internationalizing. in the urban context. These punctuate the city. cheap incubation units and artists’ studios) get supplanted by ‘higher value’ uses (for example. what draws people in and what repels. for example. Here we are given very clear visual clues as to economic direction.

Think of Siena’s Piazza del Campo. Cultures pattern how they behave and relate. It might make communicating with different groups difficult. it can make our culture inflexible and might make adjusting to major transformation more difficult. not one hardened into an ossified shell. how much personal space we need or whether we queue for a bus or just go for it. empowered small business sector. The meanings of artefacts change over time as new interpretations of history evolve. There is. religious and social institutions to provide and enforce regular. political. symbolizing the wealth and power of corporate capital. from the physical level – from the design of street furniture to icon buildings – to how we feel about ourselves and the place. Those places that share ideas and have the capacity to absorb bring differences together more effectively. the guild house. It might hold back international trade or tourism because obstacles will be created to the free flow of exchange and ideas. those adjustments to the new world may be easier. the cathedral and perhaps a learning institution. If as a culture we are more closed-minded or strongly hierarchical and focus on traditional values. coalescing and mixing over time to create a special fused and dynamic identity. This becomes the social structure – how we behave in crowds. if our traditions value tolerance and openness. style and tenor of social and economic development in a city is culturally determined. predictable patterns of behaviour so that the culture is reinforced and replicated.246 The Art of City-Making especially those representing the dominant religion. . sufficient mutual influence and counter-influence. It might deter creating mixed partnerships to solve problems now recognized as a major way forward for communities. Cultures need economic. From medieval times onwards in Europe the layout of a town’s civic centre or market square has been dominated by the key civic institutions. In most modern cities the artefact might equally be a Henry Moore or Alexander Calder sculpture sited in front of downtown office towers. This does not mean their culture becomes subsumed – identity is still shaped by where you came from. These represent the four powers: political. however. By contrast. religious and that of knowledge. So the scope. economic. It might hold back developing a vibrant. the town hall. In cities these are strategically placed to induce awe or respect. make eye contact.35 Our culture shapes how we create and make our places. possibilities. These power concentrations are now also more spread throughout the city.

how to build machines that work in the context and with the materials available. how to ensure food remains healthy. port cities tend to be open-minded because of the influxes of people over time. Thus a region of regular warfare about boundaries is one where people are more suspicious than a more settled one. such as how to save water. party or cadre allegiance. by contrast. will not with ease move into liberal democracy overnight. and in the meantime corruption is usually rife before uncertainties are settled with more ordered rules and common guidelines for civility. whether a village. how to maintain machinery. tribe. how to appease the unknown forces in . where trust is high. history and landscape. Cities are places where varied publics can come together to co-create a civic realm – a precondition for a confident civic society to uphold rules and justice. location. and a place that is fortunate and strikes luck with its resources might come across as more generous. It is what is left and deemed important after the ebb and flow of argument. flexible and ultimately prosperous than those that are divided along lines of ‘blood’ or traditional allegiances. collaboration and partnership is hard to achieve and bureaucracy likely to be extensive. Cultures and societies which place such an emphasis on citizenship are likely to be more resilient. is the residue of what has stood the test of time. the outcome will be different than if it assumes others will take decisions for you. This is where citizenship is more important than ethnic group. the fickleness of fashion and negotiation about what is valuable has passed. What we call the culture of a place. As the democracy of democratic countries itself took substantial time to take hold. a city. Societies that have transitioned from arbitrary rule. how to build to protect themselves against the ravages of and changes in weather. religion. The specific circumstances of place and the problems and opportunities they present inspire a culture to find its own unique solutions.The Complicated and the Complex 247 These views about how life is managed do not happen by accident – they are a response to history and circumstance. These transitions take generations to unfold in their fullness. regulation tends to have a lighter touch. If a culture has an ethos that assumes no one is to be trusted. Culture is the response to circumstance. a region or a country. which may have lasted for decades or centuries. how to heal the ill. If the culture esteems hard work and the taking of responsibility. how to gain sustaining food from the environment. clan. how to recycle waste.

This is reflected in the materials used. places for culture like museums. The best factories of the industrial age project the pride of manufacture and production. how we move around and whether we prefer public or private transport. what matters to a people and how they . the role and importance of higher beings and the spirit. without needing to know the details. markets and retail. theatres or galleries from more reverential times demand obedience through their appearance – they seem to say ‘come to our hallowed ground’ – whereas more modern and democratic buildings invite and entice. When we look at places culturally and are culturally literate. The industrial landscape too shapes and is shaped by culture. passions about certain things and rituals. organize ourselves and manage business. most importantly. conduct our affairs. style or grandeur reflects the values and foibles of the powerful. too. Culture spreads its tentacles into every crevice of our lives: how we shop and the look of shops. how we spend leisure time and how the parks. It locks up within it social and economic capital. It is an asset and a resource with power. beautiful and desirable or ugly and bad. Grime and filth live often side by side with the raw beauty of gleaming machinery. they are more transparent in style. perhaps granite in one and glass in the other.248 The Art of City-Making the ether. how good the buildings of the poor are depends largely on how well they are empowered. boulevards and places of refuge are set out. The values of a culture leave tangible marks: the buildings respond to weather and wealth and the spirit of their times. Being culturally literate means understanding the weft and wove of a place. how and where we give birth to our children and how we bury our dead. how to celebrate good fortune and be sad about distress. We see. pride and love is present or whether there is disenchantment. All this leaves people in a specific place with intangible things like views and opinions about their world and the worlds outside. libraries. This is what we also call local distinctiveness. places of power. the worst the exploitation of their workers. and attitudes about how we approach problems. moral codes and ethical positions about what is right and wrong. design. whether corruption or subterfuge are the order of the day. ritual and worship reflect the role of politics and religion. The list is endless. disinterest or disengagement. we see at once whether care. their quality. value judgements about what we think is good. and.

it involves truth-searching and embodies a quest for the profound and true. for history? Can the arts reanchor humankind. ‘rational’ and ‘linear’. ‘objective’. nor measurable in easy ways. ‘measurable’. a significant core consists of the arts. ‘efficient’. it has no calculated purpose. so that it is capable of having deep significance for individuals. and the quintessence of the arts is artistic creativity. learning to look closely. finding out how and why things work as they do. Culture then becomes a defensive shield not open to change. Without such understanding one walks blind. nor fully explicable rationally – its outcome can be mysterious. they go into their shell. Appreciating culture is even more crucial in periods of dramatic transformation. ‘effective’. ‘calculation’. over time. ‘outcome’. ‘quantifiable’. ‘focus’. ‘economic sense’. ‘strategy’. and even. It then becomes a backbone that can create the resilience that makes change and transformation easier.The Complicated and the Complex 249 have expressed it. assessing the past to know how it shapes the present. the artistic worldview is powerful for the very reason that it’s not hostage to such a rigid vocabulary. The former worldview is summed up by words such as ‘goal’. What is unique about artistic creativity? What are its distinct attributes? What human values does it embody and share with others. Human beings in all societies throughout history have expressed artistic creativity. watching. it is not goal-oriented. even if it’s culture itself that has to change. Culture. communities. when acknowledged. In contrast. because it is then that the culture needs to absorb. And this can all be learnt by paying attention. 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. gives strength in moving forward. ‘logical’. knit together what has been rent apart? At its best artistic creativity involves a journey which artists are impelled to undertake. imagination and creativity. When cultures feel threatened or weak or that another culture is superimposing itself upon them. digest and adjust. ‘profitable’. Confidence is key for creativity. not knowing where it will lead or if and how they will arrive. it has no quick or . innovation and renewal. ‘solution’. While culture is broad.

The distinction between involvement in arts and writing a computer programme. it can offer glimpses of the (non-supernatural) sacred. performing music. it endures the tedious and repetitious so as to reach mastery. with immediacy and/or depth. it originates in the self but aims to create work which enters the common space of humanity. acting. it lives in the ‘now’ – it takes place in the moment. it gives the spirit a connection outside itself. it generates openness to new ideas and new ways of doing. writing. it accepts the potential for epiphany and exaltation and for fun and delight. The arts can have wider impacts by focusing on reflection and original thought. it is transgressive and disruptive of the existing order (not as a pose or to flaunt difference but as a necessary reality). creative places. are concerned with creativity.250 The Art of City-Making easy solutions. dancing. they tend to teach you something specific. more than most activities. they need engaged individuals who think. Those are more rule-bound and precise. it recognizes that something beyond the rational such as a soul exists. or very rarely. they do not. expressing emotion and self-reflecting. designing or drawing – especially in relation to developing cities? Participating in the arts uses the imaginary realm to a degree that other disciplines. This engagement with the arts combines stretching oneself and focusing. to . do not. The result can be to broaden horizons. If the goal of cities is to have self-motivated. it contains loneliness and the potential for failure. it is often uncomfortable. What is special about the artistic activities – singing. change the way you perceive society. it calls upon humility and endurance. Artistic creativity is expression. so an engagement with or through the arts helps. Essential to it is mastering the craft through technical skill. so the arts. uncertainty and paradox. painting. on top of which is layered interpretation that sums up something meaningful to the listener or viewer. to convey meaning. Reinventing a city or nursing it through transition is a creative act. engineering or sports is that the latter are ends in themselves. invention and innovation. such as sports or most of science. Turning imagination into reality or something tangible is a creative act. it inspires others to be brave and to risk failure. even frightening. it denies instant gratification. it champions originality and authenticity but opposes vanity. it accepts ambiguity. they pose challenges and want to communicate (mostly). sculpting. it proclaims that humans have the right to pursue freedom and urges confidence in exercising that right. feeling the senses.

to learn. To have these effects. It is not a linear process. to be beautiful. to help nurture memory. but as it happens associations and seemingly random intuitions and connections come forth. This highlights the role of the arts in tapping potential. less step-by-step than scientific or technological procedure. Not all art creates all these responses all of the time. It is more unstructured. It resonates at a deeper level. informed and that this is significant in creating citizenship in transition countries. to stun. to anchor identity and to bond people to their community or. works at a number of these levels simultaneously. by contrast.The Complicated and the Complex 251 communicate iconically so you grasp things in one without needing to understand step by step. engaged. it is freer flowing. At their best the arts on occasion can lift you beyond the day-to-day on to a higher plane that some people call spiritual. lateral thinking and use of imagination present in the arts are perhaps the most valuable things the arts can offer other disciplines such as . Thus participating in or consuming art helps interpret reality and can provide leadership and vision. The best art. moral or thought-provoking reasons. though. and especially the making of art rather than just consuming. to uplift. they have immense power that the ‘scientifically’ minded should understand and use as it can help them achieve their aims. in spite of centuries of developing scientific knowledge and logical. abstract and technical thought. it looks more for intuition. As the arts can speak the language of the senses and feelings. the arts have to be communicated. expression through the arts is a way of passing ideas and concepts on to later generations in a (somewhat) universal language. to encapsulate previously scattered thoughts. There are hardly any other ways of tapping into this knowledge. involved. and the arts can even soothe the soul and promote popular morale. More broadly. rather arational. Art. The out-of-the-box. to shock by depicting terrible images for social. to criticize or to create joy. to see the previously unseen. to entertain. Perhaps meditation or sex. analytical. They are not rational in a scientific sense. which does not mean they are irrational. triggers activity in the mind and agitates it (and even the body) – it arouses the senses and these form into emotion and then thought. to symbolize complex ideas and emotions. The assumption is that everyone can in principle be more creative. This is why all cultures develop the arts. Humans are largely driven by their sensory and emotional landscape.

The arts help cities in a variety of ways. for example. Second. the arts challenge us to ask questions about ourselves as a place. What other activity can better deal with dialogue between cultures or ethnic conflicts or allow individuals to discover talents. clearly the arts are more effective than many other initiatives. Unfortunately this is expressed in a limited way – typically a piece of public sculpture in front of an ugly or ordinary building. which are found in galleries. First. can the arts help?’ For intergenerational communication or mixing cultures. For example. Arts projects can empower people who have previously not expressed their views. performance venues or bookshops. an arts project about or with migrants might make us look at our prejudices. especially if allied to other emphases like a focus on local distinctiveness. engineers.252 The Art of City-Making planning. social services or to the business community. Planners. Yet in principle they challenge us to ask: ‘Is this beautiful?’ This should affect how urban design and architecture evolve. theatres. and so the arts also contribute to creating destinations – visitor attractions – and help foster a city’s image as well as generating an economic impact. Furthermore. to involve themselves in community? The lesson learnt is that perhaps it is artistic thinking that is the strongest message from the arts. a community play devised with a local group can tell us much more than a typical political process. arts projects can simply create enjoyment. to become motivated. Think of any problem or opportunity and the arts might help. to change the mindset. engineering. business people and social workers could all benefit from seeing their worlds through the eyes of artists All of this has left out the fact that the best of our past arts ends up in museums. A useful question to ask is: ‘What is the problem and can a cultural approach help. Seen in this light the arts can help create an open-minded culture that is more resilient and adaptable to the changes brought about by political ructions and globalization. with their aesthetic focus they draw attention to quality and beauty. so artists working with communities can in effect help consult people. This should lead us to ask: ‘What kind of place do we want to be and how should we get there?’ Arts programmes can challenge decision-makers by undertaking uncomfortable projects that force leaders to debate and take a stand. For example. to gain confidence. as do the best of the contemporary arts. it ignores that increasingly it is the . Finally.

Ethnic and cultural diversity are a driver and a symptom of change. as mobility increases and reactions to it too. Italians and Portuguese to Scandinavians. Arabs.The Complicated and the Complex 253 marriage between scientific and artistic creativity that is driving the development of new products and services. Scots. Pakistanis. nation. Nigerians. Major cities such as New York. There are few parts of the world which are entirely homogeneous. while an increasing number of urban communities routinely comprise dozens of different groups in visible numbers. even Yemenis in the Northeast. For example. diversity of business. Somalis. Indians. from Germans. Altogether. Moroccans. Diversity 37 We cannot consider the future of cities without considering diversity. culture and religion in the world can claim at least a . This diversity plays itself out differentially as developmental processes vary around the globe: a pride in diversity in some places. such as the Vikings and Normans. the post-colonial immigrants such as the AfricanCaribbeans. Most places are very diverse when you look deeply enough and the diversity of cities is perhaps the central urban question of the 21st century. South Africans. Only a few cities have grasped these possibilities (one being San José). Bangladeshis and Chinese. Poles and Russians.000 or more. London is now one of the most diverse cities that has ever existed and its diversity played a role in it getting the 2012 Olympics. and also Europeans. to the deep-seated communities of Jewish and Huguenot origin. Virtually every race. diversity of activities and diversity of built form creating visual stimulation. South and North Americans. Diversity in its many forms is the primary element of a vibrant place. microcosms of the world in all its teeming diversity. Australasians. the rise of ethnic cleansing in others. more than 300 languages are spoken by the people of London and the city has at least 50 non-indigenous communities with populations of 10. such as in the Balkans or between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq. Britain has always been a far more diverse and heterogeneous nation than that imagined to comprise simply the English. London or Singapore are now ‘world cities’. Irish and Welsh: from the North Africans that patrolled Hadrian’s Wall on behalf of the Romans and the interplay of Celtic civilizations with successive waves of medieval invaders and settlers.

650 Greeks in Colchester. London’s Muslim population of 607. 600 Portuguese in Bournemouth and Poole. The fundamental question is whether increased interaction between ethnic cultures will produce social and economic innovations which will drive the prosperity and quality of life of our cities. whether intercultural mixing is a source of dynamism for cities. In the intercultural city we move one step beyond and focus on what we can do together as diverse cultures in a shared space. Without undermining the achievements of multiculturalism. 800 Poles in Bradford. fronted by ‘community leaders’ and that difference became the very currency by which importance was judged and progress made. Only 59. have been hubs of ethnicity where the interplay helped achieve their prosperity. from Gúangzhõu (formerly Canton) to Delhi. of people whose nationality and identity will be hyphenated. who find it difficult to find a place which acknowledges or rewards their new. Historically the great cities of the world. innovativeness and stature. which worked for a while yet imperceptibly moved from being part of the solution to part of the problem. 370 Iranians in Newcastle and 400 in Stockport and 240 Malaysians in Southsea. while 3. 1300 Somalis in Sheffield. so alienation often ensues.254 The Art of City-Making handful of Londoners. often hybrid senses of identity. The rest of Britain too is changing. . There are now over 1000 French people living in Bristol and Brighton.38 New York and Toronto are equally diverse. the system – in Britain.083 people is probably the most diverse anywhere in the world. This has proved challenging for second and third generation members of such communities. Constantinople/Istanbul. The notion of cultural mixing shifts the perspective on diversity away from multiculturalism. even ghettoes.2 per cent consider themselves to be of mixed race. There are foreign-born people in large and smaller British cities you may not have heard of and the same is true all over Europe. And these figures only represent those who are foreign-born and not the much larger numbers of second generation and beyond. the charge levelled at it is that it has created a false sense of harmony. besides Mecca. Rome. 770 Zimbabweans in Luton. America and Australasia. Particularly at the local level. although people often lived parallel lives. In the multicultural city we acknowledge and ideally celebrate our differing cultures. Amsterdam or New York.8 per cent of Londoners consider themselves to be White British. for example – encouraged the creation of culturally and spatially distinct communities.

While change on the ground has been relatively speedy. It is not just a reemergence of old questions and arguments but something qualitatively different.41 Such thinking has made fewer inroads into many European countries. such as the US. Norwegian. It is no longer a question of how many foreigners a country can accept but rather what it means to be German.42 These differences shape the sense of belonging and identity urban citizens can achieve in different countries. such as the former Yugoslavia. It is also accused of having devalued and alienated the culture of the white working class. It is argued too that success at the level of local and regional economics will also be influenced by the extent to which cities can offer an open.39 This is not the way diversity is perceived everywhere.The Complicated and the Complex 255 Multiculturalism spoke only for the minorities. Chinese or British in a very different world. it has been argued. which broadened a company’s business offer and which in combination might produce new process and product innovations which would advance competitiveness. for example. the public discourse around diversity was slow. The private sector evolved the idea that there was a ‘business case for diversity’ where diverse teams of people brought new skills and aptitudes. the southern Mediterranean unregulated and then restrictive regime. integration and citizenship: corporate multiculturalism. Since the turn of this century debate has become a bubbling ferment. civic republicanism. driving them further away from the goal of tolerance and into the arms of extremists. diversity has been far more widely regarded as a source of potential opportunity and advantage. In societies in which immigration lies at the heart of national identity. In Europe there are five distinctive policy frameworks for immigration. and the minority nation idea. hindering a two-way conversation with British culture. especially those where even ethnic cleansing emerged after the break-up of the communist bloc. . has been levelled against Japan and Germany as they have fallen behind the economic performance of more diverse G8 member states. ethnic nationalism and the Gastarbeiter (guestworker) system.40 The idea emerged that a more heterogeneous city or nation is better equipped than homogeneous ones to weather the storms of the global economy and adapt to change. Canada and Australia. tolerant and diverse milieu to attract and hold mobile wealth creators. Such a charge.

Interculturalism. Openness is key. Within a cosmopolis interculturalism is key. The intercultural city idea. say. and while openness in itself is not the guarantee of interculturalism. negotiations. without denying that there are great problems of economic disadvantage and racism. To assess the preparedness of a city achieving diversity advantage there need to be indicators of openness and there is an intercultural lens through which professionals can re-evaluate their work. It requires a fundamental reappraisal of the city and how it must respond. British (or German. it provides the setting for interculturalism to develop. cultural or intellectual boundaries and the capacity to pursue the interest. accommodations and reformulations. in the context of the intercultural city. interactions. requires openness as a prerequisite. The term emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in the educational field and was concerned primarily with communication between different nationalities in border regions. What will hold countries together is not the social glue of ‘shared values’ but the social bridge of ‘shared futures’. means the degree to which differences and diversities between individuals and groups are acknowledged. Instead of discussing diversity largely as a dilemma it asks: ‘What is the diversity advantage for cities which can be achieved through intercultural exchange and innovation. switches the focus. Multiculturalism was founded upon the belief in tolerance between cultures but it is not always the case that multicultural places are open places. Economic structures and legal systems play a fundamental role in determining the openness of a society. respected and encouraged in law.256 The Art of City-Making Many argue that the future lies not in finding better ways of integrating outsiders into. British society but in fundamentally reappraising what we understand British society to be.43 Cosmopolis is the new model hybrid city or the mongrel city. ‘Openness’. A place of a thousand daily encounters. but is an evolving and transforming entity which responds to the ongoing process of hybridization that accelerating change is bringing about. root and branch. to the changing world. Italian or Finnish) culture and values cannot be reduced to a set of unchanging principles.’ To unlock this advantage requires new skills and aptitudes on the part of professionals such as cultural literacy and competence. It is connected to curiosity: the desire to know what lies beyond one’s spatial. The ideal of this city Sandercock calls ‘cosmopolis’. on the other hand. .

It is not a tool for communication but a process of mutual learning and joint growth. culturally – to solve the problems that they as cities create. but a process and interactive approach. There are shortcomings with exist- . By way of a concise definition of interculturalism. even though this may require the imposition of a blanket set of communal values and viewpoints upon an increasingly diverse and hybridizing community.The Complicated and the Complex 257 while across the Atlantic it responds to the growing needs of American government and business to sell their message and their goods overseas.44 Comedia’s take on interculturalism moves on from this.46 There are significant differences between the ‘community cohesion model’ and interculturalism. institutions and civic culture. We can measure how ethnically diverse a city is. socially. regardless of origins. which is cultural literacy. Interculturalism requires rules of engagement to negotiate and actively resolve difference. Foremost is the attitude towards harmony and disagreement. signs and symbols and of communicating. The aim of the former may be harmony at all costs and the avoidance of disagreement or dispute. An intercultural approach aims to facilitate dialogue. Cities are increasingly driven by the need to innovate – economically. Intercultural competence in a diverse society becomes as important as basic numeracy and literacy. It implies a different way of reading situations.45 This implies a process of acquiring particular skills and competences which will enable one to interact functionally with anyone different from oneself. It does not recognize cultural boundaries as fixed but in a state of flux and remaking. exchange and reciprocal understanding between people of different backgrounds. It is harder to measure how intercultural it is. It allows us to re-envision our world or profession through an intercultural lens. Disagreement and dispute should be embraced rather than swept under the carpet and should be accepted as a vital component of a healthy and vibrant community. we have argued in the past that: The intercultural approach goes beyond equal opportunities and respect for existing cultural differences to the pluralist transformation of public space.47 Interculturalism is not a monolithic creed.

a BME Bristolian is 2. the standard 18-class ethnic categorization used is essentially a Commonwealth classification which distinguishes Black African. Easy access to citizenship is an indicator. and the means of measurement would include the naturalization rate. the greater is the isolation. The openness of the business environment refers to trade and industry.48 Getting beyond the physical proximity of ethnicities the Comedia research identified four principal spheres of influence.49 The openness of the institutional framework is determined principally by the regulatory and legislative framework within national or local government. In Britain. the openness of: 1 2 3 4 the institutional framework. and public space. the job market and training. civil society. Pakistani and Bangladeshi but treats all non-British Whites as one and anybody else as ‘other’.7. In Bristol. the business environment. has an equivalent ratio of 8. but cannot take us much further. provision of language classes to learn the new language. or access to health and social welfare for refugees. Second. At a city level an indicator and measure would be the existence of an intercultural strategy. The higher the ratio. Black Caribbean. The ratio is a measure of how isolated the two groups are from one another.258 The Art of City-Making ing data in most places. So the standard data only tells us the degree to which a place is ethnically diverse or multicultural. In policy areas such as education. This may be one important contributor to the latter’s relative disharmony.6 times as likely as a white Bristolian to live next door to someone who is BME. the presence of an intercultural/multicultural citizenship curriculum is an indicator. By contrast. whose BME population is the same as Bristol’s. Indian. The formula produces a statistic that can be interpreted as the ratio of two probabilities – that your neighbour is BME (‘black and minority ethic’) if you are BME yourself and that your neighbour is BME if you are white. One measure that does go further is the index of isolation. data is usually not available at a low enough level to produce reliable statistics for individual cities. Indicators might be drawn . Burnley.

welfare and education boards or management and community forums. In addition it is useful to look at projects that involve different ethnic groups. people who help ‘translate’ across cultures. Cross-cultural economic. A means of measuring this at a city level might be the ethnic composition of staff and leadership positions and cultural awareness training in major companies. Alternatively one could ask how many ethnic minority firms are winning tenders from the city. The ethnic mix of top management tiers in the 20 top public. voluntary and private sector organizations could tell a story. The indicators would measure the degree of mixing in housing and neighbourhoods. and views on which city institutions or events and festivals are welcoming and which are forbidding. religious groups. The openness of public space focuses on the extent to which people feel they have the ‘freedom of the city’ or whether there are spaces or whole neighbourhoods which feel closed or even hostile to one or more groups within the city. social. interpreters in hospitals or community settings or intercultural mediators. one might assess the percentage of jobs requiring minority languages. perceptions of cultural inclusiveness in public space. Much of the openness in public attitudes is seed-bedded in schools. Nationally one could measure the incidence of mixed marriages via the census or the index of isolation mentioned above. At the city-level indicators might include the inter-ethnic and interfaith representation on health. The openness of civil society is the extent to which the social fabric of a place is more or less intercultural. social clubs.The Complicated and the Complex 259 from commitments of businesses on recruitment and training. and aside from assessing the overall curriculum. Looking at a city’s internal and external place marketing one could assess how it has decided to project itself into the world. In terms of employment. cultural and civic networks could be measured from observation and interviews to establish whether there are any ethnically and culturally mixed business associations. political parties and movements. relevant indicators could include the number of school children learning foreign languages or the percentage of overseas or minority ethnic students in universities. participation in public facilities such as libraries and cultural venues in the city centre. . safety and mobility of ethnic minorities in all areas of the city.

the arts or sports development. education. how cities are attracting migrants. project managers and developers do not make decisions that are value free and neutral. architects. It sets the physical stage upon which social and economic life plays itself out. feel and structure of the places planners encourage. Let’s briefly look at master-planning. It is difficult for individual urban professionals to accumulate an in-depth cultural knowledge of every group represented in their city. As Hall reminds us in The Hidden Dimension. cost accountants. inhabit different sensory worlds.’50 In making a place you can take any topic and see it through an intercultural lens: public consultation and engagement. The look. This involves having questions in mind such as: ‘Are our expectations different?’. What at first sight looks like merely technique and technical processes concerned with issues – Will the building stand up? Can traffic flow through? What uses should we bring together? – is shaped by value judgements. the information is making a journey through several filters. urban designers. business and entrepreneurship. ‘People from different cultures not only speak different languages but. It is crucial for survival. help design and promote reflects our assumptions about what we think is right and appropriate. rules and guidelines. Even the . masterplanners. what is possibly more important. Cultural literacy is the precondition to decode the varied cultures that are interwoven in a place. Master-planning Cultural preferences and priorities are etched into the mindscape of the professional urban experts who determine what the physical fabric of our cities looks like: the engineers. surveyors. housing planning.260 The Art of City-Making A way of applying the intercultural logic to the city is to look at potential and assess things through an intercultural lens. ‘Are my assumptions valid in this different context?’ or ‘Are people interpreting what I say differently than I think?’ From this comes the awareness that in all forms of human communication. With more intercultural dialogue. urban planning and development. It is a form of cultural capital which enables us to act sensitively and effectively in a world of differences. knowledge about and between cultures can occur more seamlessly on a day-to-day basis. This is etched into codes. The intercultural lens makes it possible to take an apparently familiar issue or discipline and to look at it afresh.

colour.The Complicated and the Complex 261 aesthetic priorities people choose themselves have their cultural histories. Should we learn from the great traditions of Arab and Indian architecture and their aesthetics? Should the basic building blocks of the city be the same when looked at through intercultural eyes? Think of street frontages. the gurdwara. Exceptions apart. including the majority ‘white’ groups. light or water. setbacks. pavement widths. such as the Kurds who gather around the steps in Birmingham’s Chamberlain Square? Let’s touch on a few other areas. What happens then when different cultures meet and coexist in the same space? There have always been borrowings and graftings. The orthodox. building heights. the number of windows and their size. would be encouraged to feel that their background. consultation. would streets or the colour palette used be different seen interculturally? One thinks here of the vivid colours of housing in Latin America or the use of water in Moorish culture. What would intercultural education look like? All ethnic groups. For centuries building styles and fashions criss-crossed Europe: there is English baroque just as there is French. Think too of the materials we use. India and China are not visible in exterior design in Europe – they have had much more influence on the interior. Citizens cannot easily be ascribed to one homogeneous group. At its simplest. Should we structure space to reflect different cultures as they might see and use spaces in varied ways? Or should we create open-ended spaces that others can adapt. multiculturalist approach to public consultation requires that communities are defined by their ethnicity and consulted in isolation (e. This limited perspective recognizes the views of the white population as the cultural norm and the views of ethnic minorities as inevitably different or aberrant – while hybrid identities and complex intercultural views are not anticipated. how we deal with enclosure. ‘the Asian community’) as if ethnicity is the only factor influencing the way in which people lead their lives in the city. history . for instance. ‘the African-Caribbean community’. privacy or sight lines. of whatever social class. Thus consultation cannot simply be a one-off and standardized exercise but must be a continuous process of informal discussion and engagement. One only sees the mosque. the architectures of Arabia. or German and English gothic. they have been there so long we cannot see them.g. turning circles. and Chinese gateway arches in Chinatowns.

. sports teams – that some of the most imaginative and successful forms of community healing have taken place. It is in such spaces – youth groups. are common characteristics that emerge from the lives of artists. emotional and spiritual competence – the ability to be selfreflective. creative competence. as each taught the others their dances. in which different groups can share a similar experience of discovery.262 The Art of City-Making and narrative are valued in the school context. Sometimes such spaces allow people to detach aspects of their own identity (cultural. linguistic and communicative competence. By their very nature the arts are predisposed to being intercultural. vocational. and. unfamiliar to both [sides]. more often than not. this leads to the curiosity to want to explore cultures other than their own. It might be added that addressing conflict. Melbourne’s mighty ‘Dancing in the Streets’ in Federation Square for its international arts festival in 2003 was one of the most successful ways of bringing communities together. rule-questioning. An intercultural education would instil the following six competences in young people: 1 2 3 4 5 6 cultural competence – the ability to reflect upon one’s own culture and the culture of others. artists are constantly thrust into new situations with unfamiliar teams and surroundings. handle one’s own emotions. civic competence – the ability to understand and act upon rights and responsibilities and be socially and morally responsible. sexual) from what they have hitherto regarded as its essential and dominating character. empathize with others. Being awkward. thrown back on their technique to survive.’51 Other shared spaces do not necessarily have to be located in buildings. fusing opposites and resolving incompatibility are all processes reported by some artists as triggers in their search for a creative breakthrough. Being interested in what lies beyond the horizon or across a boundary is often what inspires people to make a career in the arts. The secret is to ‘create third spaces. Often working on a project-by-project basis. and sporting competence. transgressive even. drama workshops.

Reconceptualizing a task can be powerful. desires and aspirations is key to how a city works. to reconceptualize.The Complicated and the Complex 263 Towards a common agenda Cities are made by people but rarely do people who know about people sit around the decision-making table. discussion. to generate awareness by creating and publicizing aspirational models. The new thinking should impact on policy at three levels – the conceptual. to explain more strongly and convince through argument and training. Investing in this skill can save resources down the line. for example. talking of city. Often what leads people to change their minds is a combination of the above. the ‘sustainable communities’ agenda. Incentives are being created to change the thinking by. argument and training. For example. behaviours. How do you shift the thinking so that an individual’s default mechanism does not lock in initially into the professionally conditioned mindset? There are a variety of ways to change behaviour and mindset: to threaten or coerce through force or regulation. to induce through payment or incentives. or even by generating a crisis. the discipline-based and the implementational. They are too subtle and embedded in peoples’ minds. Showing and publicizing best practice models is a well-trodden path and has some merit. There is an aspirational. holistic quality to the former and a technical hollowness to the latter. which has a touch of coercion in it since many of the big urban regeneration projects have public resources behind them.or place-making as distinct from urban development makes a difference. they would be unlikely to be selected. So a highway engineer is likely to respond completely differently to the place-making rather than road-making challenge. The problem is it takes time. The issues discussed in this section are unlikely to be shifted by coercion. Thus. Understanding social dynamics. history or a social science like sociology. The first is aimed at reconceptualizing how we view cities as a whole. given the expense of the built form. This might be a person with a background in anthropology. if a developer were against sustainability. The exception is perhaps the market researcher. Yet the best and most complicated method is through explanation. It is concerned with reassessing the concepts and ideas that inform action and is much the most important as it determines how problems are conceived and handled at other levels. The idea of .

are created. which might need to shift to a hybrid model combining the benefits of public and private transport. Third.264 The Art of City-Making Source: Charles Landry Too many people think of the city as simply bricks and mortar conceiving the city as an organism rather than a machine is an example. what incentive structures. such as the financial arrangements or planning codes to encourage and direct development in certain directions. thinking afresh about policy implementation involves reviewing the detailed mechanisms to expedite policy. economic development and social services – and considering the efficacy of existing models and ways of addressing problems. . but not necessarily easy to implement. the environment. In principle this is easy to understand and to do. This might be how grant regimes are set up and targeted. in transport there may have been an emphasis on car transport. For example. implying a systemic approach to urban problems. thinking about policy at discipline level involves reviewing existing policies in known fields – transport. Second. Absorbing the full impact of this shift can be difficult. or how local plans and the priorities are highlighted. It shifts policy from concentration on physical infrastructure towards urban and social dynamics and the overall well-being and health of people. This shift might be easier to achieve as it is largely a matter of shifting priorities. such as tax rebates or fiscal encouragements.

procurers. And then. implementing. planning. the classic disciplines associated with urban development like design. shaping and creating. for example. reconceive and to react. The new generalist knows how to think conceptually. arbitrators. There are two processes involved: new skills that are a core part of city-making and other skills or dispositions that aid effectiveness and leadership that apply to any domain. In getting across the changing landscape of planning and associated disciplines it is useful to reconceptualize the new requirements. agenda-setters. in addition. And crisis is a helpful mechanism to generate the urgency to reassess. spatially and visually and is attuned to their multiple intelligences. makers. All these attributes have existed for a long time. strategists. of these other skills forms the basic knowledge. interpreters. The terrain is large – many people will have a combination of these skills and not everyone will have all to the same degree of intensiveness. inspirers. For example. explorers. processors. translators. The challenge is to create an idea of the ‘new generalist’ or ‘cultured person’ or ‘professional’ where it is assumed that understanding. consulters. to create good cities we need good observers. Overlaid on that are general personal qualities such as openness. facilitators. Seen clearly there is a sufficient urban crisis to reconsider. but broader based in their appreciation of others. evaluators. implementers. constructors. decision-makers. contextualizers. The core point is to understand the essence of what the other attributes bring. appraisers and presenters. educators. valuing and engineering come into play. visualizers. managers. conciliators. which the Academy for Sustainable Communities in Britain. revealers. storytellers. analysts. This more rounded person is not the jack of all trades or gifted amateur of older times. critics. making. The above has a substantial training implication.The Complicated and the Complex 265 The new generalist Getting to the point where generic city-making skills are primary rather than an add-on requires the conceptual shifts highlighted and deeper reflection on why they are necessary and not optional. mediators. is . information-gatherers. problem-solvers. brokers. as distinct from deep knowledge. builders. listening and empathy as well as the capacity to judge the timing and appropriateness to move into their near opposites of decisiveness. galvanizers. but their relative importance has grown.

culture. as educationalist Tim Brighouse once said to me. basic architecture. Indeed. . more frequently ‘cognitive acceleration’. Thinking skills are beginning to be taught in some schools. Yet it needs to go further. often using Edward de Bono-style methods focusing on lateral thinking or. then coupled with a one-year specialist qualification and on-the-job learning.’ The implication for urban planning training is to start with a broad-based urbanism course. especially in the natural sciences. perhaps even three years. social dynamics. with components such as geography. psychology and planning. ‘This would be anathema to the way schools are run.266 The Art of City-Making beginning to address.52 However. there is no school programme nor barely an undergraduate programme that teaches the integrated thinking modern city-making requires.

Contemporary art. imagined or otherwise. We are always in the throes of some revival or other. But I am also aware that the past. The city was courageous in allowing itself to be used as an exploration ground and my observations were only possible given the free access I was given. taking time to think. considering again. Both intellectual and material pursuits are increasingly iterative and retrospective. mullets and adults wearing school uniforms. Nevertheless. and any passing criticisms made of the city should be put in the context of the openness which Adelaide displayed to me.6 The City as a Living Work of Art 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. haunted by flares. it is active as opposed to passive. The affluent spend more money on the past. Why re-energize when we can energize? Let’s live. This is deliberate. for example.1 Adelaide has great qualities. It is a prefix of our age. . I persist with ‘re-’ because I want to emphasize as strongly as possible the fact that tackling urban challenges requires visiting first principles again and beginning afresh. It suggests doing things differently. architecture. ‘Re-’ implies a process of standing back. music and literature consciously borrow from that which has preceded them. In such ways Western culture can be very self-reflexive. Throughout the following pages you will notice that I use the prefix ‘re-’ rather a lot. can constitute an escape from the present and that ‘re-’ can be a superfluous adjunct. Flaws would be found in any city under similar scrutiny. from wine to engineering to its lifestyle. where I was employed as Thinker in Residence. through buying antiques or researching their family trees. rather than relive. Most of all.

enthral and enamour us and to cast a spell. This is the only form of capital that grows by frequent use. The desire to reconnect lurks everywhere. repetitive. encompassing its environs. a slow. incorporating the principles of social justice. rather than depleting.2 The reimaginings of the city required are far more than physical improvement.268 The Art of City-Making Re-enchanting the city In imagining what the city could be. although that matters too. It is the nervous system of the lived city. It expresses itself best in small acts of daily and ordinary consideration. constantly building on experiments through which difference and multiplicity can be mobilized for common gain and against harm and want’. and being ‘us’. Within it lies chant. Many cities are unrealistically ambitious and others hold back too much. Enchantment asks us to rediscover and reanimate social tissues and repair the severances between us. bursting to get out given the chance. These seek to resolve any fissure between being ‘me’. He redefines the good city as ‘an expanding habit of solidarity’. monotonous melody. It builds over time. the individual. He focuses on the ethic of care. Re-establishing 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. the collective. This feeling of urban solidarity enchants. because we are surprised by an open response. persistent yet rhythmic. diversities and conflicts remain in continuous negotiation. At its core this means letting the city enrapture. This should allow us to stand back and review how cities might be put back together again and reassembled differently. enchantment lies at the heart. ‘as a practical but unsettled achievement. Enchanting is a metaphor for the repetitive acts of kindness which form the texture and glue from which social capital grows. The trajectory followed so far has taken us through a description of the sensory city and the materially unhinged and unsustainable dynamics of urban life and through a conceptual framework that seeks to simplify complexity.3 Differences. An assessment of the city’s drawing power will . equality and mutuality and resists the notion of imagined socially cohesive communities. Ash Amin calls this the ‘habit of solidarity’ towards the stranger or the ‘urban solidarity of relatedness’.

budgets and skill sets? Cities across the globe face complex opportunities that are distinctive to each place. the impact of change and creativity on organizational culture is far . A closer look at cities which have succeeded. Cities can ride the wave of global trends and possibilities easily. There will be places in which to live. And it will not happen overnight. recapitalizing. re-engineering. long-term plan to create a walkable city. It’s about reconceiving! When you reconceive something – a thought. Superficially cities might look and feel the same in the future. [a city] … – you create a whole new order. The central question is: Can you get to the next level. Barcelona’s capacity to remodel its new urban areas. They are happening at speed and simultaneously. Barcelona or Copenhagen. reinventing. a corporation. offices and factories in which to work and places in which we can shop and have fun. Curitiba’s approach to efficient bus transport. Possibilities cannot be grasped by a ‘businessas-usual’ approach. The unfolding storm of globalization will affect the operating system of cities worldwide. such as Curitiba. Choosing when to resist or go with the flow of turbocapitalism will be pivotal for cities wishing to move forward. The stakes are high and cannot be harnessed solely by traditional means.The City as a Living Work of Art 269 reveal the territory in which it is competing. courage and will is usually required. For Perth in Australia it may be to invest resources sustainably for the next generation while they are going through their boom period. but the underlying operating system – the software – will be different. adapt to change or be energized within existing frameworks. As Dee Hock. ‘Change is not about reorganizing. and their deeper impacts have not emerged in their entirety. or for Port of Spain in Trinidad to build on the manifold skills involved in Carnival to ensure livelihoods throughout the year.4 shows startling differences between what they are doing now and what they did before: Copenhagen’s considered. a product. It can then with calm urgency develop strategies to strengthen itself and capture territory in the imagination of others and for itself. a situation. We could cope with these changes at every level if they happened slowly and one by one. notes. the founder of Visa Card. A shift in aspiration.’5 Given fuller rein. but do they end up where they want to? To avert the dynamics that harm them. they need clarity of purpose and an ethical vision to direct dynamics so their own goals are met. But they do not. Do that and creativity floods your mind.

We should move away from an obsession with the creativity in entertainment. varying groups. I concluded that the personal characteristics of project initiators and key staff are similar across completely different disciplines. how our behaviours might change. how community and mass creativity can be triggered – these are exactly the areas that require most of our cerebral endeavour and cannot be exempt from creative approaches. social enterprise and scientific research. various parts of the city. to nurturing our environment. crucially. Reassessing creativity What being creative is should be redefined. of media celebrities and fashion. The challenge is to value and link different forms of creativity together in the environ- . and in political and social innovation.6 They share an exploratory openmindedness. they can mobilize their people – their cleverness. ambition. But creative heroines and heroes can be found in any sphere. their city and the wider world. the old story of the city and an emerging new one. Some activities are deemed to be creative and others not. how prisons and punishment can be reformed. homelessness campaigns. as well as its emphasis. aspirations. media and technological innovations will still be significant. imagination and creativity. First. physical regeneration. but creativity should also be applied to the challenges of misery.270 The Art of City-Making more than people wish to admit or are willing to let happen. How democracy can be renewed. including cutting-edge digital media. from social entrepreneurs to scientists. how young people can feel engaged. and the latter become disenfranchised by the fashionability of creativity in narrower fields. Marketing. deep focus. and. business people. market access – diminish in significance. Cities then have two crucial resources. a lateral. There is a creative divide. what social care might look like. flexible mind. such as social work. Yet change is necessary as old material factors – raw materials. In a study assessing the characteristics of 20 creative projects in Helsinki. different decision-making bodies. how hierarchies can be realigned. Second. ingenuity. public administrators and artists. although invention in these areas is often impressive. business entrepreneurs. motivations. A reassessment of creativity implies rethinking its ambit and applications. they can harness new resources by seeking different ways of collaborating and connecting better – connections between people.

There must be no self-delusion. It is a frame of mind which questions rather than criticizes. as time and experience of the innovation in action unfolds.’ Creativity challenges not just what has already become a problem. Creativity is multifaceted resourcefulness. Festivals and events feel good in this city. On the other hand. political. For example. It is applied imagination using qualities such as intelligence. remain relatively undervalued in the school curriculum and by parents. merely holding festivals does not mean a city is creative. The expression of creativity in an individual. We should value creativity as a form of capital. a key area within which creativity is fostered. to stand back and not to pre-judge things. Adelaide’s strengths may therefore lie in organizing and generating the setting. it will itself need to be adapted and reinvented again. economic. critical and analytical approach and ways of thinking that will adapt as a project develops. Crucially. the arts. it may mean it is good at attracting creative people from the outside to perform in the city. ‘How creative am I?’ ‘What specific forms of creativity am I especially proficient in?’ ‘Where is this creativity to be found?’ It is very difficult to assess how creative a city is.The City as a Living Work of Art 271 mental. creativity is a journey not a destination. This is the creative milieu. but many things that seemingly work well. but the essential attributes and operating principles are the same. Being creative is an attitude of mind and a way of approaching problems that opens out possibilities. and the desire to find out how good other cities are must be repressed. It is dynamic and context-driven: what is creative in one period or situation is not necessarily so in another. It has an element of foresight and involves a willingness to take measured risks. Yet precisely at the moment when the world acknowledges creativity. I concluded after my work there that Adelaide is perhaps very creative in fashioning warm welcomes. social and cultural spheres. inventiveness and learning along the way. Every city should ask itself very honestly. a process not a status. decisions are made that operate in the opposite direction. Every creative output has a life cycle and. which asks ‘Why is this so?’ and is not content to hear ‘It always has been like this. These attributes have great financial potential and the fact that Adelaide punches above its national . which demands a convergent. For instance. an organization or a city are different. Creativity involves divergent or generative thinking and is linked to innovation.

creativity. unacknowledged or under-acknowledged. Risk assessment can be a cover for avoiding action.272 The Art of City-Making weight in conferencing and conventions is evidence of this capacity. they tend to break down hierarchies and find new ways of organizing. and they balance rigidity and flexibility. ‘Creative people work at the edge of their competency. Risk. especially public organizations. The challenge is to dig deeper and to undertake a creativity and obstacle audit. This means making people feel it is possible to take imaginative leaps or measured risks. plan and act with imagination. or the poorly networked and highly networked. they are driven by an ethos. suffer as there are not enough possibilities and stimulation is lacking. failure and bureaucracy are uneasy bedfellows. knowledge creation in itself is becoming the primary source of economic productivity. they might have too few or inappropriate role models to emulate. We are evolving from a world where prosperity depended on natural . especially in the outer suburbs. Being creative implies individuals. For this reason any overarching talent strategy should be targeted at groupings in all locations. a creative divide might develop. hidden in the undergrowth. because if they know only each other. The more successful creatives tend to cluster in places of distinctiveness8 and so the geography of creativity is lopsided. The danger is that if we focus too strongly on places that are already strong. Creative organizations are unusual. This should include a networking strategy for the poor. Revaluing hidden assets: A creativity and obstacle audit Every place has more assets than first meets the eye. Creativity is not the easy option. This is what being a ‘Yes’ rather than a ‘Maybe’ or ‘No’ city is about. For the first time in history. When this happens there are dramatic implications for organizational culture and structure. organizations and the city as a whole set the preconditions within which it is possible for people to think. not at the centre of it. People rarely acknowledge failure as a learning device. Many areas. or income rich and poor. rather like the divide between the information rich and poor.’7 This idea can sit uncomfortably within large organizational structures. As David Perkins aptly notes. whose attitudes to risk are tempered by accountability issues. invisible.

This is witnessed. for example. The crucial recognition of today’s creativity movement is that developing a creative economy also requires a social and organizational environment that enables creativity to occur. applies and extracts value from knowledge. The focus should be on how it generates opportunities as well as solves problems. community and public sectors and in relation to areas like education. including individuals. public. industry sectors and clusters. through the interest in creativity shown in many countries by a diversity of government departments. Thus in the 21st century the engine for growth is the process through which an economy creates. leading to a focus on IT-driven innovations or business clusters. a mindset – and specific – task-oriented in relation to applications in particular fields. arising from being able to use and mobilize creativity to innovate in areas of specialized capability more effectively than other places.and community-oriented. the city itself as an amalgam of different organizational cultures. industry – from advanced manufacturing to services. firms. This means we need to be alert to creativity in social. science and organizations in helping the prosperity and well-being of a region. A creativity audit assesses creativity across a number of dimensions: • • • • • spatial – from the city base to its regional and national surrounds. It needs to assess the relevance of creativity in the private. ranging from trade and industry to education and culture. political. This means creativity needs to imbue the whole system. specific industry sectors. and the region. Creativity then becomes a general problem-solving and opportunity-creating capacity. Creativity is therefore both general – a way of thinking. from the young to the elderly. organizational and cultural fields as well as in technological and economic ones. The recent focus on creativity has been technocratic. networks in the city. and diversity and ethnicity. sector – private-. demography – assessing the creativity of different age groups. The audit needs to look at creativity across the spectrum.The City as a Living Work of Art 273 advantage (arising from access to more plentiful and cheap natural resources and labour) to a world where prosperity depends on creative advantage. .

which themselves become targets for creative action. Fast Company . care for the elderly services provided by a co-operative or a food trading company. The final area of the audit would be to look at how the physical context needs to develop to encourage creatives to stay in the region or be attracted to it. was voted the most creative company in the US by the bible of the new economy. while it should assess the creativity of the new economy. Gore-Tex. understanding and knowing.274 The Art of City-Making First. science and art. For example. such as in the creative industries. as it is increasingly recognized that highlighting obstacles. Typically this might involve community-owned recycling companies. is at least as important as highlighting best practices. Fourth is the need to assess levels of creativity in working across sectors and inter-organizational networking. The third is exploring the creativity of public sector organizations in terms of delivering routine services. A seventh element is an audit of obstacles to creativity. This focuses especially on programmes in education and learning. The fifth focus should be boundary-busting creativity. every crevice in the . processes and services. Seen in this light. A second area of investigation should be social entrepreneurship – often a means of empowering people in local communities to take responsibility and to develop entrepreneurship and solve social problems at the same time. A sixth area of exploration is assessing how the conditions for creativity are created. enabling their communities to flourish through innovation in managing the urban change process and applying imaginative problem-solving to public good objectives. This collaborative activity has generated considerable momentum and become a powerful force for change and innovation in the development of new products. Yet this should not be restricted to schools and institutions of higher learning but should also include professional development and informal learning. This seeks to explore the extent to which value-added is created through inventive partnering and networking. in its December 2004 ‘Creativity’ issue. at the beginning of the 21st century a rapprochement has begun between the two great ways of exploring. it must also assess the creativity potential of traditional industries. the traditional fabric manufacturer. in relation to the private sector. Anecdotally.

The individual music. invent new products and services. Each element might be small but brought together the whole is large. such as music or film. Debates and insights from within cultural studies and economic theory have played a part in understanding culture’s invigorated role in society. And tangible difference creates competitive advantage. electricity or IT.9 All major cities in the world have now cottoned on to their potential. while simultaneously creating employment and generating social capital. cultural products and activities mark one place from the next. . This is how the creative or cultural industries concept initially developed. graphics. it was realized they made up roughly 4 per cent of most developed economies and in major cities like London more than 10 per cent. Creative professional services in particular.The City as a Living Work of Art 275 city has a hidden story or undiscovered potential that can be reused for a positive urban purpose. Developing a culture is a process of meaning-making and identity-creation. In a world where every place is beginning to feel and look the same. The economic transformation has required innovation to reinvent older industries. Thus design and aesthetics take on a completely new and more significant role as the value of styling increasingly predominates. Apart from providing products in their own right. such as design and advertising. and to create completely new economic sectors. theatre. Encouraging these industries is one of the most powerful means of enhancing the city’s identity and distinctiveness. dance and visual arts sectors were relatively small and usually assessed in isolation. have helped create innovative concepts and ideas for other branches of industry. film. This means that the economy is progressively a cultural one as it is determined and driven by cultural priorities. Increasingly consumers buy products not for their practical purpose or technical qualities but for the experience and meaning they hope they will engender. Reassigning the value of unconnected resources Creative potential is often revealed when one connects things others see as unrelated. they are now seen as part of the physiology that makes any economy work. yet when the interconnections between sectors were identified and their overall scope and scale assessed.10 Rather like water. they can add symbolic value to any product or service. and within that all products play a part because they embody symbolic value and trigger experiences.

for example. it is unlikely that such a sector would be invented by the medical profession or health ministry alone. Further. or specific medical research strengths. funded initially by GlaxoWellcome. of the heart. since different players are more likely to know each other. In fact. In this way. which can add value to functional products. unremarkable cities a leading edge. that can give quiet. There are neglected industry sectors. breaking down the widespread mutual incomprehension between the disciplines. The Sci-Art concept is based on the premise that the most fruitful developments in human thinking frequently take place at points where different lines of creativity meet.12 SciArt brings artists and scientists of all kinds together to work in a structured environment on projects of mutual discovery and benefit. these more public sectors are not often regarded as industries as such and this can engender a trust often withheld from other sectors.11 Significantly. and thus might lead to medical innovations. projecting a city as a place to recharge batteries. in reconceiving sectors like health. their remit is perceived to extend beyond a particular specialism and they can connect previously disconnected economic endeavours. such as holiday and convalescing resources. For instance advances in computer gaming find applications in areas as diverse as mining safety or healthcare. Interestingly. brought together more than 2000 artists and scientists. products and services arising from and geared to popular culture and the media and entertainment industries are themselves drivers of innovation. we can see how seemingly disparate economic activities can be brought together. a calm. An example is Sci-Art. such as healthcare. Powerful new concepts . In this way they contribute to product development and the positioning of goods and services in the market by increasing their experiential register. More likely an outsider to the profession would see the potential. Cities with a narrow resource base and smaller size should be able to focus on smart linkages more easily. and for it to flourish should probably not be controlled by them. for example. nutrition and organic food. the discipline of design might map disease processes. Exploring health possibilities. seemingly dull city could become a hospital and recovery space. a capacity to provide medical operations perhaps at a lower cost. working in partnership combined insights to solve common problems and generate ideas.276 The Art of City-Making ranging from food and clothing to automotive and telecommunications services. Equally. Over the years the Sci-Art competition in Britain.

such as central government giving a city a massive financial bonus for matching a green target. such as Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas. Many cities already have environmental initiatives and incentives. component manufacture or sub-assembly for wind and wave energy. Think of the impact of hordes of green electric cars and perhaps even green taxis suitably moving around. For example. as well as maintenance work on large renewable structures or plants. These include applications as varied as pollution-monitoring devices. energy efficiency and green transport have been a start. but would create more impact if linked to incentives. so aligning with traditional skills and talents as well as new research-based activities. This could be for trialing and testing commercial products. The goal would be to drag more out of opportunities. for recycling. Cities should signal enthusiastically that they are in the green field – too few do at the moment. but words and action remain kilometres apart. these are so diverse that most places will be able to play to their strengths. The change in focus suggests moving from creating value chains to creating self-reinforcing value loops. The subliminal message would be strong. Recycling and greening That the green agenda needs to rise up the priority list is obvious. with several markets still open. Stringent guidelines for waste recycling. Statements of policy too rarely translate into imaginative incentives and innovative regulations to drive the green economy. where clustering would make their impact stronger than spreading them out? One might even consider innovative branding devices such as clustering different subsidies. the public sector owns thousands of vehicles.The City as a Living Work of Art 277 being developed by artists and scientists working together are potentially as ground-breaking as those that launched the industrial revolution. or the use . the development of new insulation materials and new environmentally targeted software. Can ideas in themselves become tradable services? Is there a way of reconceiving the value and outcomes of events and conferencing. in terms of selling on conclusions or acting as an experimentation zone. say. There are endless products waiting to be invented. How about pulling them together into a designated area identified as an environmental zone. waste pelletization techniques.

locations. or Waitakere in Auckland.278 The Art of City-Making of renewable energy. But over 50 per cent of these 55 projects had fewer than 300 people. for example – and marketing them as ‘recycling street’ or ‘zero energy road’. New Urbanism developments.13 There are an alarmingly small number of projects of real scale that have been completed. indeed. Australia. New Zealand. sustainability is a term more talked about than practised. such as Kolding in Denmark. where eco-business. a survey of innovative eco-communities around the world revealed very disappointing results. sustainable development is in its infancy. what about more green industrial parks. though not for lack of trying. Barton and Kleiner’s survey analysed 55 projects showing a rich vein of different kinds and forms of innovative communities that bill themselves as eco-neighbourhoods and with great diversity in their scale. studied hundreds of eco-village or neighbourhood projects worldwide – often with impressive websites and high reputations in their networks – but discovered that most were purely at the conceptual stage. into sub-areas – by street. initiated by Prince Charles in the UK. such as Auroville in South India or Davis in California. Large cities no longer have the automatic advantage. Size. like Crystal Waters in Queensland. The small number of successes is a sad reflection of where we are. Many had a number of impressive buildings and high environmental standards within these. for example. but very few also combined this with new sustainable economic activity or new political or social arrangements. ‘It is often used with casual abandon as if mere repetition delivers green probity. retailing and conferencing facilities intermesh? In spite of the energetic attempts to get green issues more widely accepted. Alternatively. a high density block with courtyards of 150 dwellings. These included rural eco-villages. One survey. such as Ithaca Eco-Village in New York State. in Emscher Park in the Ruhr. . urban eco-communities. focus and means of implementing. A tiny proportion were really comprehensively innovative projects at the neighbourhood level. televillages. such as Poundbury. modelled on Hamm.14 And in spite of the public pro-sustainability stance of national and local government.’15 Recapturing centrality For the first time in history size and scale does not matter any more. urban demonstration projects. and ecological townships. such as Little River near Christchurch in New Zealand.

Wine research. A city can accrue power by capturing imaginative territory in the imagination of the world. They are walkable and accessible. and open space is too far away. productive resources. A way to overcome leakage is to develop and promote very strong niches where localized critical mass can be attained. production (and consumption!). achieves deep strength in the wine industry. It can become the central location for an activity. the headquarters of an important entity or be associated with an area that others aspire to. This is why in surveys of world’s best cities places like Copenhagen. The sheer ‘cityness’ becomes invasive. distribution and representative bodies agglomerate there. These niches can act as powerful levers. they can still capture ideas and networks and get ownership of them. niches and the associational richness that can be heard among the din of global information overload. Think of Helsinki. you fight against the traffic. Most have less than 2 million inhabitants. whether a tiny niche or something more substantial. much as colonial powers captured territories to secure trade routes or raw materials. Adelaide. Stockholm and Vancouver always come out top. This is the big opportunity for less-known cities at a time when edge places and peripheries can become hubs and even small towns can get on the radar screen. Zurich. But it can also be in the smaller or more peripheral towns and cities where people with a high level of ambition find it hard to realize their potential. The choices they make and resonances they create can reflect more . transactions are too cumbersome. Geneva or Antwerp. Within these niches. Even those out of the urban maelstrom. Even Frankfurt has less than 1 million. In short. but they must be competitive to operate globally. They are small enough to be intimate yet large enough to be cosmopolitan. connects adroitly and thinks long term.The City as a Living Work of Art 279 can now be a disadvantage. quality of life is not good enough. ‘thick’ labour markets can be achieved. Corporations capture markets by selling products. Only large cities can generally create across-theboard strengths. ease of movement is constrained. Any place anywhere can become the centre of a universe. The pool of risk-takers and thinking people feels too small to stimulate people to achieve more and this can lead to a leakage of talent and wealth-creating possibilities. If cities have few tangible. as long as it is tenacious. for instance. Within the globalized market industries do not need to be large.

16 whose innovations reinforce the town’s position. Car use has remained stable over 30 years and ecohousing. rather like a Silicon Valley with a sustainability twist.280 The Art of City-Making distinctively the values a city wishes to reflect. For example. is renowned as an innovator. and for these to have power they need time to mature rather than jumping from one idea to the next. Deepening a niche requires long-term commitment. It has some leading cluster specialists. acts as an innovation hub. The danger is that many places copy good ideas before they have had time to settle. The broader region. anti-guzzling perspective and alternative Silicon Valley idea that resonates. It is the region’s eco-aware. IT-savvy. Freiburg in Germany. The city has niche specialisms and holds key events in areas that may seem insignificant at first glance but which are in fact potentially powerful. This approach allows a city to cascade into niche audiences. including wealthy northern Switzerland.17 whose aim was to make Adelaide a strategic nodal point for various activities. This then begins to generate associations. Another example: I proposed the concept of Adelaide as Google. Three thousand targeted international friends of the city are better than a generalized scattershot approach. This can be achieved by a concerted effort to join in and participate in relevant international organizations.000. such as prison reform. Its wine technology research is world class. recycling and the use of alternative energy sources are an everyday part of life. The aim is to capture space in the world’s imagination. so creating ambassadors for the city. It is also a hub in the ‘educating cities’ network. This has attracted a cluster of high-level environmental research institutes and networks. The list is extensive and possibilities are very wide. The core idea was that when key words were searched on Google. By assessing the networks in which a city can take a prime position. such as ICLEI. as . with a population of just over 230. providing international presentations and making the city the focus for meetings. This can have downstream benefits in terms of economics and culture and should be part of a city’s foreign diplomacy. with cities competing with each other on the environmental front. a city can reflect back to the world some sense of centrality. thus reinforcing its presence on global radar screens and enabling it to work strategically to capture downstream economic and other impacts. links returned to Adelaide. so their worth can reveal itself. This alternative view of city development acts as its drawing power and is the region’s source of competitiveness.

intellectuals. They include too the talent of people. which was more or less immediately copied by Brisbane. but do not value or sufficiently invest in them because they are not tangible. Hard and soft are mutually interdependent. products. ambiance and milieu which the hard infrastructures enable. Revisualizing soft and hard infrastructures Many assets are hidden or invisible. administrators and power brokers can operate in an open-minded. The hard is the container within which the soft contents (the value-added) are created. services and institutions. connections and human interactions that underpin and encourage the flow of ideas between individuals and institutions to generate the products and services for wealth creation. It reveals a lack of understanding of how soft infrastructure works. its role in urban dynamics and what its value is. The notion of infrastructure needs rethinking. They are expressed in the capacity of people to connect. and where faceto-face interaction creates new ideas. The tools we have. do not track in a sufficiently fine-grained way how the trade in services and ideas operates or how networking might add value. The network idea is an emblem of the age of the ‘new economy’. a physical setting in which a critical mass of entrepreneurs. The network capacity that lies at the heart of the creative milieu requires flexible individuals and organizations working with a high . as some feel it is difficult to quantify the precise economic value of a system of associative structures. The paradox is that we know the networks make things happen. But soft infrastructure is often neglected. inter-relate and generate ideas that turn into products and services. artefacts. Yet the physical is usually privileged.The City as a Living Work of Art 281 happened with Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas. measured not only by educational level but also by imaginative capacity. The continued knee-jerk reaction to focus on hard infrastructure blights exploring these ‘soft’ possibilities and eats up budgets. One such is soft infrastructure – the enabling and connective tissue that makes a creative milieu or clusters work. collaborative context. such as industrial codes for measuring such activities. networks. The milieu is people and place together. The fact that so few cities have developed these strategies is astonishing. knowledge creators. Soft infrastructures are the atmosphere.

They feel spontaneous. Intermediate public structures play a vital role by encouraging a high degree of involvement of firms in common initiatives through which firms have a sense of being part of a larger system. consultancy and training. otherwise they fall into simple information sharing. The success of networks is based on very traditional qualities. self-responsibility and strong. The health and prosperity of the creative network largely determines the prosperity of each individual company or creative initiative and even the geographical area in which it operates. At times this means submerging self-interest for the greater good. organizations and cities. principles. the organization of fairs. Pure self-interest causes the milieu to atrophy. such as Carpi and Prato in textiles. having a core of active people sharing responsibility. often unwritten. A culture of collaborative competition is a precondition for such an environment to work. the bulk purchase of input ingredients. for instance the Italian clusters in the smaller towns that are part of the Third Italy. and stimulating to their participants and are conducted with a spirit that does not drain the lifeblood through rigid procedures. and having a sufficient budget. where constraints of . This can generate dynamic competitiveness. so that not all activity is based on voluntary input. This generates a willingness to share and to contribute to the success of the network for the greater good. Sassuolo in ceramic tiles or Manzano in furniture. access to information on the evolution of markets or technology. Trust is a central feature of the way a creative milieu operates. We are entering a world of potentially almost limitless connection between people. Unless the milieu thrives. creative. incremental innovation and the creation of enterprises and in the process pushes up quality. such as involving people or organizations you like and who like each other. This often leads to collaboration and the pooling of resources. Arzignano in leather. It implies manifold relationships and interaction which favours spontaneous mechanisms of specialization.282 The Art of City-Making degree of trust. the inspirational flow that comes from being part of it dries up. which helps accumulate technical know-how. Most successful networks combine an informal atmosphere with focus. Networks that survive longest are adaptable and assume each member has valuable knowledge and a contribution to make. which involves companies in collaborative competition – joint promotion. There is customized public support for a wide spectrum of business development.

Strategic intelligence is key. understanding others’ viewpoints. Saying ‘no’ to network opportunities as well as saying ‘yes’. By contrast. energy.The City as a Living Work of Art 283 time and place are evaporating. For instance. generic skills of personal networking to the city level. The networking capacity of the organizations of a creative milieu is more than the urban equivalent of an ‘elevator speech’. seeing the whole as an organic system and seeing how parts interact and relate to each other to serve the city’s aims. For instance. It is a combination of the analytic.18 Networking capacity occurs at various levels: between individuals or organizations. For this networking to benefit a city. an attitude of horizon scanning that helps in the creation of foresight. those involved might become friends and unpredictable. to others like ‘gift of the ‘gab’. How do you make this potential connectivity effective without becoming overloaded? It involves selectively shutting off and selectively opening out. groups and organizations. mutual site visits and the writing up of projects. creating a sense of engagement through more consultativebased planning approaches. which ranges from the open to the closed. An example here would be the Active Living Network. understanding the dynamic implications embodied in the present. but also promoting an area to its citizens and the outside world. even clichéd. and the ability to inspire or empathize. These qualities range from the qualities associated with creativity. the networking type and attributes depend on purpose – this determines its form. or marketing and events strategies to enhance a sense of belonging and identity. For organizations. The challenge is to translate the known. an open network might simply disseminate information. the Northern Quarter in Manchester has a special development vision . These include not only involving firms in industry initiatives. Typically these summarize what you do in 30 seconds or hook your listener to being interested in you. other dimensions come into play beyond well-communicating individuals. listening capacity. practical and creative. relationship skills. such as curiosity. When such networks are well run. often positive. the London Voluntary Service Council or an inter-city EU network on best practice in public–private partnership would be more closed and should involve real engagement of participants. spin-offs occur. interest in others. city-wide and between cities. because you ask good questions and are interested in them. which requires little if anything from recipients and where connections between the parts are minimal.

tied in with the European car-free day. The developing consensus emerging is that both hard and soft now provide the base conditions for inward investment. whereas before only hard factors counted. physical characteristics. taxes.284 The Art of City-Making which seeks to maintain its attractiveness to the alternative types who made it popular in the first place. a relatively low-scoring factor. Another example is Glasgow’s Merchant City initiative. most ‘soft’ issues are subsumed under ‘quality of life’.20 An indication of the shift is that more research is currently under way on soft factors. . incentives. infrastructure. regulatory framework. suppliers and know-how. imbued largely with positive connotations as we perceive networking to be about connecting in an open way. Richard Florida’s work on the rise of the creative class and the urban settings that encourage creativity has given new credibility to soft infrastructure arguments. given the pressures of gentrification. utilities. The eleven are: economic profile. finance and capital. knowledge and technology. Yet there is growing coverage in the local economic development and business location communities about the increasing importance of quality-of-life factors in attracting and retaining inward investment. A major review of 30 separate studies of factors which influence local economic development again identified 11 factors which were cited on a regular basis: 1 2 3 4 5 6 location. closed in or self-referential. as part of a wider marketing campaign to raise the area’s profile as the hub of Glasgow’s creative economy. The words ‘networks’ and ‘networking’ have already become a mantra. Yet networks can have a flip side if they are too tight. This is a point that comes through in assessments of Japanese and Chinese creative potential19 and may emerge more strongly as intercultural creativities which require connections across cultural axes and networks become more relevant. human resources. A battle is raging within the inward-investment community about the relative weightings of soft or hard infrastructure. market prospects. labour climate. logistics and sites. This reduces creative capacity. Since 2002 this has included a Merchant City festival. In the traditional list of 11 inward investment factors. quality of life. only benefiting those who are part of the group.

21 It is notable that the factor cited most consistently (in 25 out of the 30) was quality of life. institutional capacity. as they cannot quantify this to other decision-makers and stakeholders. cost-related factors still dominate the location decision process – even in today’s knowledge economy. Except. But the competitiveness debate is becoming more sophisticated. new ideas are coming into play. In a tie-breaker situation where there is little to choose between several locations. when it affects the decision after the ‘hard’ factors have been addressed. such as an innovative business and cultural environment. The ‘soft’ considerations are not the central driver in location selection per se. Is the city a cradle of creativity with high rates of innovation within commerce. Our own review of the influence of culture and creativity on the location decision-making of inward investors revealed that:22 • • ‘Soft’ infrastructure considerations. and community identity and image. ‘Soft’ considerations are more important for particular types of inward investment projects. and this is crucial. With the emphasis on ‘hard’ facts in the current environment. Increasingly. its weighting was lower. Culture is a ‘soft’ location factor. • • • • Redefining competitiveness City competitiveness is usually defined as economic at core. closely followed by human resources and infrastructure. But while it was most frequently mentioned. yet ‘hard’. when the project is a creative industries or new economy project. quality of life. are growing in significance. business culture.The City as a Living Work of Art 285 7 8 9 10 11 industrial structure. it is unlikely that a decision-maker is ever going to admit to being influenced by ‘soft’ factors such as culture. ‘soft’ considerations become a ‘must-have’ factor for locations aiming to attract and retain highly skilled personnel (when quality of life/quality of place is an issue). such as quality of life or culture. science and/or the . where the attraction and retention of high-skilled people is important.

utilities and events that achieve iconic communication. education? These competitiveness issues are just as important as costs and productivity or a piece of technology. a precondition for seamless trade to be conducted? Is there ability to work in partnerships to maximize the benefits of combining public and private sector approaches? Is there capacity to network globally and to keep abreast of the best? And. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Rio Carnival are examples of public art. and often eco-awareness. This is why some places do better than they should do. most importantly. And resonance generates drawing power. to care more and to have more social . so unleashing more leadership potential in the city? Is there good governance and management. including transportation and. another competitive tool. what this does is help create and reinforce the resonance of the city. But finding the triggers that do this is difficult. Finally. while Chicago’s Cloud Gate. which might speak to higher ideals of healing the environment. significantly. through which the intention of physical structures or events that project a story. which might mean heritage or the availability of contemporary artistic facilities? Is strategic thinking so embedded across key actors in the city that the idea of learning infuses every tissue of its being? Does this make the city a place where individuals and organizations are encouraged to learn about the dynamics of where they live and how it is changing? Does this in turn feed into the quality of municipal services. which in turn can override underlying real economic potential. is there cultural depth and richness. does the city have an ethical framework of action that inspires people to give more. Iconic communication is dense. They involve design awareness. an idea or ambition can be grasped all at once. Increasingly significant in understanding the new competitive environment is the play of urban iconics.286 The Art of City-Making 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 intense connectivity? Does institutional capacity exist to get beyond bunker thinking? Is the leadership willing to trade its direct power for a greater creative influence. These are more than just well known – each tells a deeper story. A building that does succeed is the Guggenheim in Bilbao. involving transparency. These iconic triggers then need orchestrating in order to generate critical mass and momentum. as resonance represents a form of capital. In sum. trust and lack of corruption. packed and experience rich.

Public transport is the obvious choice. receive. Rebalancing the scorecard: The complexities of capital The complexity of city competitiveness and reinvention means urban leaders should better understand. Rethinking calculations of worth: The asphalt currency Translate the cost of every initiative into its asphalt equivalent. but the interesting speculations occur when you broaden the possibilities. That is if you are lucky. What would the comparative impact be of reinvesting 1km of road equivalent into strategically targeted network capturing? What investment would have greater economic. Not only financial capital. economic. If you take a medium-sized city.2 million. social. environmental.8 million. Revitalizing the atmosphere of an area might only be 300m of asphalt equivalent and a youth project 30m. technological. Their positions in the budget hierarchy remain immutable. hinting at their role. It should feel like an unfolding drama where the citizens know their roles because they are gripped into engagement. social services or transport. but also: . And this represents a stark choice. Do a thought experiment. City goals need to be delivered through a wider skills set.The City as a Living Work of Art 287 solidarity? The crucial step is to be able to define and communicate a bigger role and purpose for the city by defining a common goal based on an integrated emotional. image and cultural impact? We are uncritical and rigid in reassessing value in terms of a money numeraire as well as the budget proportions different departments. whether education. integrate and orchestrate the many forms of capital in their city. dozens of kilometres of road will be asphalted annually. cultural and imaginative story.7 million per kilometre. It needs to tap into peoples’ sense of who they are and where they might go. Consider the effectiveness of investing these resources in an alternative and what its impact would be. a kilometre of motorway £3. More often it is higher and relatively modest roads can cost up to £2. One kilometre of a standard two-lane road in the Western world costs about £1. beyond that of planning professionals.

social class and acquired education that give a person greater confidence and higher status. Thus in education. to connect the seemingly disconnected. is then not just seen as a problem-solving arena. Thinking of these forms of capital as the urban currencies should reveal how all dimensions of city-making are inextricably interwoven. how shopkeepers are encouraged to behave. dreams and aspirations. to be original and inventive. which cities are getting their citizens to network across barriers? In deprived . dealing with the consequences of unresolved dilemmas elsewhere. also Bourdieu’s sense of the cultural capital of family background. There is a need to realign the weighting given to different activities. as the more we develop and. creative activities. The same prism should affect police training and that of taxi drivers.288 The Art of City-Making • • human capital – the skills. and environmental capital – the built and natural landscape and ecological diversity of an area. the more it grows. social capital – the complex web of relationships between organizations. will. And like all assets they need managing. and so on. cultural capital – the sense of belonging in and understanding of the unique identity of a place expressed in tangible and intangible form. courses like history or even geography then become both aids and exemplars to develop it. leadership capital – the motivation. intellectual capital – the ideas and innovative potential of a community. creating social capital assets is a self-conscious strategic activity that builds this capital from the ground upwards. creativity capital – the capacity to stand back. Instead. such as heritage. use it. We know there is a link between high levels of social capital and low levels of crime. as opposed to a series of usually disconnected social projects? If social capital includes networking capacity. memories. an add-on we have to deal with later. to relax into ambiguity. energy and capacity to take responsibility and lead. an arena in which social capital is developed. The social domain. importantly. for example. communities and interest groups which make up civil society. talents and special knowledge of the people. But which cities have strategic social capital development programmes.23 • • • • • These forms of capital are urban assets and a lack of them urban deficits.

So the scope. what cities self-consciously try to develop their cultural capital . though. when it crowds people in.The City as a Living Work of Art 289 communities. it can make adjusting to major transformation more difficult. What cities have an intellectual capital development programme as distinct from an education programme? We know attracting and having access to knowledge and imagination is the key to urban success. when it curtails being open. Thus our perspective on how talent is generated should go well beyond educational institutions. we must be aware of double-edged qualities. empowered small business sector. if our traditions value tolerance and openness. It might limit communicating across different groups. those adjustments to the new world may be easier. as distinct from building cultural facilities? Culture determines how we shape. which are now recognized as a major way forward for communities to solve problems. Important as formal education is. create and make our societies. as with networking. possibilities. a new urban assessment and measurement tool emerges that combines the economic with other factors city leaders are concerned about. style and tenor of social and economic development is largely culturally determined. It might deter creating mixed partnerships. isolating. strongly hierarchical and focuses on tradition. It might hold back international trade or tourism because obstacles will be created to the free flow of exchange and ideas. It might stifle developing a vibrant. Again. Furthermore. much of this talent will be nurtured in settings that have nothing to do with education. what are the language capacities of your citizens? How many speak a second or third language and use these in trade and business? Equally. Places that share ideas and have the capacity to absorb bring differences together more effectively. By giving full weight to the various forms of capital. If our city culture is more closed-minded. focusing on: • intellectual and social capital – which focuses on skills and capabilities. the under-networked network with the equally undernetworked so creating an enclosing. when tradition is too strong. There can be too much social capital. . downward spiral of communication and possibilities. By contrast. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently published their Cities of the Future report24 which offers a similar framework.

technical capital – technology must be able to support the changing needs of citizens. Shock. will be holding things back. the organizational form that changes most slowly. A vision needs to touch people individually and viscerally. Glasgow’s re-emergence from its slow decline stretched many decades. seduction or vision. Unless cities have that rare ‘can do’ attitude or have reestablished a new position. as did that of Pittsburgh. tourism and international events. Gijon in Spain took two decades to regain some confidence after the loss of its shipyards. the loss of services or the brain drain of the more gifted leaving town. can stun and deflate. and psychological factors play an important role. The strategies that . 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. are better. which means accepting some mistakes and being aware of the distinction between competent failure (good. • • • • 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. culture and leisure capital – which proposes strong citybranding for visibility to compete for residents. Normally. A sense of needing to ask for permission to do things will prevail over an attitude that says ‘go for it’. green and safe environment.290 The Art of City-Making • democratic capital – which suggests city administrations need to be accountable and transparent in their dialogue with citizens. trying hard. preventative approaches. environmental capital – which draws attention to urban consumption and the need to provide a clean. and financial capital – how resources are garnered to pay for services. from broadband to transport. Effecting the necessary psychological change can happen through shock. Clearly. they will tend to suffer from a culture of constraint. coal industry and role as a port city. This is because the public and private bureaucracies. This might range from industrial decline. unconfident places focus too intensely on the detail rather than the bigger picture. learning from mistakes) and incompetent failure. such as having a vision or taking global dynamics into account. business relocations. such as a major employer going under.

This requires a strategy of smaller. so that momentum is built by achieving step-by-step successes. bringing fresh insight to new areas. as well as atmosphere – must both be in place. what role others can play and how to get there. They will need to move from being commanders of their cities. Each era requires its own specific form of leadership and a governance system to match prevailing conditions.25 There are ordinary. institutions or cultural bodies to being able to tell a story about the bigger picture and where their entity fits in. Lastly.The City as a Living Work of Art 291 hang off this vision need to ensure a city has a 21st-century soft and hard infrastructure. great courage is required to acknowledge that the transformation and regeneration of a city takes a generation. visionaries excite and entice. Local leaders will need to move from being merely strategists to being visionaries. work. Most importantly. welljudged risks and the occasional imaginative leap with investment to match. businesses. roads and IT – and the soft – the collaborations and connective tissue that makes a city work. and to dare to be creative and inspirational. Visionary leaders. to acknowledge that what is required goes well beyond a single political cycle. Renewing leadership capacity Leadership ideas change with history. transformational leadership is required rather than the skills of the coordinator or manager. The first simply reflect the desires or needs of the group they lead. innovative and visionary leaders. rail. but building confidence is key. They retell a compelling story so that everyone feels they have a role to play. These leaders should provide answers for people in their city concerning their personal. The hard concerns – airports. An innovative leader questions circumstances to draw out latent needs. with initiatives building on each other and harnessing across vested interests. like . however small or large. social and moral choices. leadership requires the courage to act decisively in the knowledge that some will disagree. While strategists command and demand. harness the power of completely new ideas and get beyond the ding-dong of day-to-day debate. by contrast. Only a few places. so moving from being institutional engineers to change agents. Each city will assess whether it is in consolidation or change mode. The story they tell interweaves what their own institution could be. In moments of dramatic change.

292 The Art of City-Making Barcelona. How many leaders does a city of a million need? 1. As long as there is a sense of a clear unfolding urban story. authority with empowerment. have reinvented themselves in such a way. Realigning rules to work for vision There is a misalignment between ambition and rules. cities can achieve far more for their citizens. are those that could constrain them in the future if. the autonomy of their local leaderships has played a significant role. A city of a million should have a football stadium worth of leaders. activists of many colours. 10. Bilbao or Valencia.000? Indeed. as the good and successful city is made up of thousands of acts of tenacity. Leaders come in many forms and from unusual places: communities. 10. Leadership is a civic capacity as important as hard infrastructure. as urban success depends on the successful results of a myriad set of initiatives. Cities need leaders at different levels and spheres. larger patch is better than having a lot of power in a smaller patch that has no influence. It should be a renewable resource. where. and creativity and paternalism with selfresponsibility. The challenge is to unlock this potential. the environment people. the cultural arena. they need to become a services centre. order with flexibility. Having influence over a more powerful. It is not enough to demand leadership only from government. strategy and vision rather than . based on a set of explicit principles. The new reality of power is that to share power is not an abdication of responsibility but the only feasible and responsible means by which leaders can possibly achieve everything they want for their communities. say. which means giving away power in order to increase influence over a wider sphere. The cultural attributes and attitudes or mindsets that have made places successful in the past. 100. importantly. rules determine policy. 10. Most cities have many undiscovered leaders and those that exist often do not work across boundaries. Existing leaders need to trade their power for creative influence. Industrial and service economies work in different ways. Too frequently. solidarity and creativity. Today communities and companies all over the world are replacing hierarchies with networks. business. self-activated leaders can funnel and focus energy so complexity is reduced. such as being an industrial production hub. 1000.000 still represents only 1 per cent of the population. By sharing power.

Consider a highway. We have become regulators rather than facilitators. This is entrenched by indemnity and personal liability legislation which encourage individuals to export their risk. In times of dramatic change. too. Many countries have ‘advanced stop lanes’ which give bikes at traffic signals an area in front of cars. ‘Each rule-based hurdle is a response to some disaster in history. . This is a ‘glass half full’ rather than ‘glass half empty’ approach. Few councils – Melbourne is an example – are willing to take the risk of implementing a design not covered by AusRoads. It improves cyclist safety. an emblematic initiative that projects greenness imaginatively. It shows how difficult it was for Adelaide to reflect its then slogan. How could they if the bikes were free to be picked up anywhere? The idea had to be aborted. It suggested providing free bikes. effects what can be done. Disability legislation. Each discipline has its rules or legislation to safeguard special interests. with the onus on the motorist to stop. Highway engineers have rules. With a risk and opportunity policy we begin to think differently. Yet each discipline applying their rules does not make a good city. The design is not covered by Australia’s ‘AusRoads Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice. policy and strategy determining the rules. thick black and white stripes adopted in many countries. as do environmental services or planning.The City as a Living Work of Art 293 vision. making the cyclist highly visible to motorists and giving them a head start. It was blocked for legal reasons concerning who had responsibility for accidents and the need to provide certification that users could ride a bike. Similar blockages happen in encouraging pedestrian priority. Another example: Adelaide City Council wanted to be walkingand cycling-friendly. Many rules are incredibly petty. This highlights the need for rule-makers to collaborate to create the best solution possible by bending and adapting their rules with the overall goal of good city-making. cluttering up the urban system and obscuring the bigger picture possibilities of any city. Part 14 – Bicycles’.’26 and too often rules are based on worst-case rather than likely scenarios. do things differently and. ultimately. they have a corrosive effect on imagination. usually to cautious public authorities. But current ministerial regulations prohibit their installation in South Australia in all circumstances. Zebra crossings. do different things. capacity and vivacity’. ‘audacity. the rules system must be reassessed. If rules only constrain. give pedestrians the right to cross the road without pushing a stop button.

the cooking students who cannot watch a famous cook at work in case they slip in the kitchen.5 or 1 per cent of budgets to known risky projects. 0. A lively session with several hundred public servants at an Institute of Public Administration Australia seminar threw out a cascade of interesting ideas that are easy to implement. new recruiting criteria that assess the innovative capacity of the individual. One is a litigious. where a business leader gave £750.’ We need to be less legalistic and more concerned with problem-solving. affecting everything we do. suspicious climate that can generate a level of paranoia and leads to a loss of human interaction. including a disposition to strike a redundant regulation off the books each time a new one comes on. How can we achieve this?’ rather than. allocating. while occupational health and safety committees rightly focus on risk at work. Governments and cities should play a central role by thinking through imaginative regulation. a creativity index as part of annual performance assessment. As a result we focus on danger and not opportunity. say. One again thinks here of Emscher Park. There may even be a programme like Huddersfield’s Creative Town Initiative. A semantic shift can be applied to regulation by rethinking it as a source of creating added value. Two forces are working in parallel. whether in the public. there is no equivalent committee that looks at creative possibilities at work. We need to understand that saying ‘open up rules’ does not equate to deregulation but rather to finding the right rules for the right circumstances.000 to a programme – the sum was matched by the city – to come up with 2000 innovative ideas by the end of the year 2000. creative regulation can also be a driver to sustained economic growth rather than a constraint.294 The Art of City-Making This all has a corrosive effect on imagination. yet adroit. Attitude and perspective are key: ‘Yes. ‘But there might be a problem here. private or community sectors: the plastic gloves that need to be put on when you buy food. which used high environmental stan- . the sausage sizzles put on by a voluntary group to raise money that were threatened because someone got food poisoning once. where common sense is squeezed out. Normally we think of incentives as the driver. This generates a culture of constraint. Many rules are small yet cumulatively they erode initiative. These could be in any field from running a crèche in a new way to developing a business idea. and placing an innovation item on agendas. like the one for occupational health and safety. The other is that.

Every risk management policy should be renamed ‘risk and opportunity policy’ to ensure both sides of risk are explored. when cities need to be inventive. fuel efficient. This requires leadership from the top. any city could copy this approach to generate.The City as a Living Work of Art 295 dards and ‘first mover’ advantage to drive forward the growth of its export-driven environment-healing industries. Most big cities are city or metropolitan regions but are governed as smaller entities. Reconceiving the city Reconsider what the city is. economic and perceptual constructs of the city will differ. hybrid-electric vehicles – and much more. Cities in the 21st century are smartly connected cities. Top leaders need to symbolically ‘give permission’ so that the trapped potential of others lower down the hierarchy and of the city is unleashed. There are many potential leaders waiting in the wings. say. if’. The long-term studies of how green regulations have encouraged company innovation is further evidence of the possibilities. rules or laws and not on the letter of the law. Allied to this move should be incentives to encourage and validate imaginative thinking.27 By refocusing attention to resource productivity rather than labour productivity. because’ to one of ‘yes. The legal. ultralight. Moving forward requires a focus on the spirit of most guidelines. Town thinking and city thinking are different. at times even as if they were only towns. as will images. Renaming risk management policy Precisely at the moment of change. which usually constrains. This is why there are city amalgamations worldwide. This means moving from a climate of ‘no. For instance Toronto moved to metro-governance in 1998 and the major British cities are defining themselves as city regions. housing or inward investment strategy. The balance between locality and wider areas needs . ones that can marshal the energy of their entire community. hypercars – affordable. For instance embedding criteria for innovation and creative capacity as part of annual job performance assessments and as a requirement in job applications. This set-up can create fierce parochialisms and turf wars which make it hard to deal coherently with issues like public transport. the rise of a risk culture limits potential. from the bottom and right through the middle. physical.

cities reshuffle boundaries to maximize overview with the need for very local detail: to make decisions of international importance or to cut down a tree. in the end. Bristol. where independently incorporated cities in the outer suburban belt like Germantown and Bartlett leapfrog over the core and suburbs. there is no iron law. Take Memphis. Consider a common worldwide phenomenon.000. Espoo is a high-tech area where the original headquarters of Nokia were based and is. essentially for power reasons. creating wide funnels along which strip stores proliferate. with pockets of extreme disadvantage within a larger. while making little or no financial contribution to its maintenance. Over time. in 1974 it became a district within an even larger region.296 The Art of City-Making to be continually renegotiated. The core communication challenge is to be close to the voter and to find a means by which there is enough involvement of the individual citizen. Instead. and this created traffic problems in Helsinki. For 20 years they argued and only recently has Espoo relented. it drains Memphis of its tax base. Avon. Bristol in Britain is an important city of 400.000 and has a metropolitan catchment area of around 600. Take Espoo as an instance of strategic planning difficulties. even though it was the driver of the city region. Organizationally. Bristol then operated like a doughnut. the decision must be a judgement on what sustains both wealth creation capacity and social harmonies. Espoo resisted. part of Helsinki. Finding the resolution. to all intents. Physically it shatters Memphis’ integrity and shape. although it was an obvious candidate. and the outer suburbanites exploit the bits of Memphis they like. richer conurbation. Bath and North East Somerset. the change did not touch Bristol. Built to attract the better paid. the city loses its mix of rich and poor. . but then it was taken apart again in 1997 and Bristol was boxed into too narrow boundaries as part of a network of four local authorities. This is a triple whammy. When metropolitan councils first arrived in the early 1970s. the will to operate well. When Helsinki completed its metro in 1982 it wanted to extend to Espoo. thus reducing its status. demanding infrastructure so they connect with the city. Yet. such as using the cultural facilities. is key. through a variety of participative means within a structure that allows the bigger picture issues to be dealt with. Memphis has to maintain its services on a lower income base. it took a long time to get Avon to work. Only a metropolitan approach can solve this.

Walsall. Metropolitan areas should be viewed as an interlocking asset where the centre feeds north. Coventry and a mass of smaller ones fear its power. the mutual interdependences are crystal clear. For example.5 million people. Stereotypes do not help good strategy. feed the centre. Perhaps more importantly. Bilbao. Yet because of image issues. one of the largest concentrations of PhD graduates in Australia work in north Adelaide. If they worked together they could probably persuade central government to release resources. It drives the West Midlands region of Britain – a region of about 5. Birmingham is the largest city in Europe without a metro. It is important. south. we see a decision-making spaghetti as you overlay one jurisdiction over the next: local. Their local control over resources and the ability to raise their own taxes is one of the highest in Europe and is acknowledged as a driver of their vision for themselves.28 Contrast this with the astonishing revival of Spanish cities like Valencia. But the proud cities of Wolverhampton. The current level of centralization is holding cities back. east and west – and they. Indeed some boundaries run right through the city of Bristol. how can a city have a vision? Within Europe. in turn. controlling British system does not allow Birmingham to borrow resources from international financial markets to create a metro on its own. Malaga and Seville. disadvantaging areas like the ethnically diverse Handsworth or Sparkbrook. This means that Birmingham remains stuck in traffic jams. When you look at the supply chains and economic dynamics. national or federal politics . Taking an eagle’s eye view of most cities as a governance structure. Without revenue-raising powers. around Playford. as are the flows of services. and that the city remains under-connected. regional. that area is perceived as part of the problem rather than home to some of the nation’s most dynamic knowledge-intensive industries. too. Britain has one of the lowest levels of locally raised taxation. to overcome stereotypes that affect investment potential. that its poorer populations are locked into specific areas.The City as a Living Work of Art 297 North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This creates tension and bad decision-making and led to the recent tramway proposal being aborted. These would be far more vibrant hubs otherwise. The British regeneration success stories appear to happen in spite of obstacles and lack of power. the centralized. Barcelona.

But the fates of the centres matter to outer-lying areas. Many cities struggle with the dilemma. so creating the critical mass for public transport hubs or more lively activity to occur. Burnside to a Roman or Marion to someone from Shanghai? They are just Adelaide. Take Adelaide again: What is Walkerville.’29 . When following a plan. Decisionmaking is not geared to seeing metropolitan areas as integrated wholes. The assumption should be for a boundary that only on rare occasions is redefined. Broadly it means to anticipate futures and problems. Reimagining planning The word planning is confusing.298 The Art of City-Making and water. They do not align. Having local councils is crucial as long as there is a mechanism which ensures that the wider picture is considered. Boundaries. Dublin is too big for Ireland. the classic bounded cities of Italy usually come on top. often comes from the development industry. education and health boards. Too few cities address the question ‘When will it ever end?’ and take a stand on the boundary. Cities work well when they have boundaries. to describe what is wanted and how to get there in solving problems and to select strategies from among alternative courses of action. ‘A plan is like a map. so the government resists the creation of a Greater Dublin authority. you can always see how much you have progressed towards your project goal and how far you are from your destination. help define and give places stronger identity. but Dublin is too small for Europe to operate effectively as a major European city. Yet the city needs a boundary. A metropolitan governance arrangement makes sense despite the downsides. They are bound together like Siamese twins. On the international stage Adelaide is the overarching identifier. to explore their possible impact. to a Parisian. this is why in our own surveys of the ideal city. as well as a set of steps in reaching a goal. It also forces cities to compact in selectively. which claims ‘none of our children will ever be able to buy their own house’ as the cheap land has historically been on the edges. The justification to move ever outwards. from Istanbul to Canberra. barriers and borders. a council with 8000 voters. as distinct from endless sprawl. because it both describes a generic attribute that applies to all activities and simultaneously has been taken over as the core term for city-making and become synonymous with it. This in turn has a beneficial downstream effect.

perceptual. equitable. visual. and attractive environments for present and future generations… It is a highly collaborative process. As conductor of the ‘plan’ its self-understanding is that of the leader. So planning is moving away from its land-use focus towards being more about mediation and the negotiation of differences. it veers between being solely concerned with the physical and the planning of land uses to being a generalist activity covering an understanding of economic dynamics. functional and temporal’. At points it was the architect who claimed primacy. These status battles have raged for a long time.The City as a Living Work of Art 299 With the pace of urban development so fast and the attempts of ‘planners’ to create orderly development. increasingly. In the former case the skills base is clear and circumscribed. Through this collaborative process they help to define the community’s vision for itself… In the analytical planning process. street layout. touching the ‘morphological. movement patterns. For others. planning has increasingly come under criticism. now it is the urban design grouping who claim that their overlapping concerns. In the latter case its role is less clear – either it acquires higherorder understanding of a variety of disciplines to justify its leadership role or it acknowledges it is merely part of the citymaking team.30 As to the scope of planning activity. the British government now defines planning as the creation of ‘sustainable communities’. environmental . social and economic aspects of communities and examine the connections between them. the social.31 put it in the central role. healthful. These dimensions cover connectivity. the cultural as well as the process of engaging communities in visioning where they live. It sees the city as essentially an engineering artefact and helps focus on orchestrating the built environment professions. efficient. sense of place and image. the environmental and. Planning has two core conundrums to deal with: ‘What is planning?’ and ‘What is planning for?’ The American Planning Association shows no lack of confidence and deftly says: Planning is city building… The goal of city and regional planning is to further the welfare of people and their communities by creating convenient. social. Or alternatively it makes a special claim that its form of knowledge is more significant in creating cities. This requires new skills. planners consider the physical.

one of which is planning and another urban design. are physically oriented and inspired. My view is that city-making is the overarching activity that draws on a wide variety of disciplines. It energizes and provides direction. Their focus . It will address in its action plan the classic planning dilemmas. It is both normative and prescriptive. including urban design. This needs mapping if policy priorities are to be set and the right investment undertaken. Remapping the city By reconceiving cities a different picture emerges. essentially routine processes and should not be confused with the process of developing the bigger picture opportunities. soft and hard. The skills of the storytellers need to include an understanding of the various dynamics that make cities work. lifeless language of traditional planning and explain why what it is suggesting could work. guidelines. regulations. who is leading the process will depend. as only occasionally is one individual able to grasp the overarching picture. Mostly people will need to work in interdisciplinary teams. In this scenario. why things work and why they don’t. rules or laws in fields as varied as development control and creating economic incentives. These are. however. This aspect of city-making should avoid the dull. The knowledge of people who glue the city together seems incidental. but only as two among many. It is an exercise in telling a possible story about the city and how to get there.32 It should be noted that all the disciplines discussed.300 The Art of City-Making design. It is as if only organizing the space is important rather than creating a habitat. It is not mere speculation. in another someone knowledgeable about social dimensions and in a third a culturally literate person. It needs to be both hard-nosed and sensitive. It is not value free at this point. social use and management of space. It may in one instance be a historian. and by no means will it always be a physical specialist. such as ‘to plan or not to plan’. as city-making is a process of exerting power. and the guidelines and levels of rigidity it proposes will be context-driven. and the functioning of the public realm. There are then the mechanics of implementing and evaluating agreements. The best mappers are usually the planners. In being normative the city-makers will have critically analysed how they reached their conclusions.

such as street cleaning. which is developmental. such as the soft and hard infrastructure requirements for 50 years hence. The maps were also helpful in predicting areas of future potential or possible decline. use of space and potential. Many maps exist. At the time of writing. This focuses on identifying future needs. So far. but also to places in the process of transformation. This might be as bold as shifting the city centre. often in accommodation where they both live and work. interpretation has been too firmly viewed within isolated disciplines. The second task is managing urban change. such as of the value contours of the city. The maps showing where creatives live confirmed intuition. this . where an element of edginess remains. This is essentially rule-driven and mechanical. Yet when other dimensions are also mapped. participation. This is fine as far as it goes. showing how a place interconnects internally and with the wider world. The first task is the routine delivery of services. Remapping revealed an extensive decision-making spaghetti as one map was layered on to the next. the Playford PhD cluster. decision-making. Creatives move to areas of character and distinctiveness.The City as a Living Work of Art 301 is largely on land-use patterns and socio-demographic trends. for instance. but these do not appear to be looked at from a holistic perspective in which planners. Maps rarely track emerging issues such as the flows of creativity. further insight occurs. which are largely repetitive. innovations. maps stimulate insight when looked at through collective eyes. the Taipei financial centre in the new Xinyi District. and the management of schools and transport systems. In short. as Taipei has done by building Taipei 101. Redelineating urban roles The bureaucracies that run cities have two core tasks which require completely different outlooks. mutual reliances and often counter-intuitive conclusions. But what can emerge from these are interdependencies. Nor are maps made of industrial dynamics. In Adelaide we undertook extensive remapping and discovered. road maintenance. attitudes and skill sets. Yet often they are done by the same organization with attendant stresses. economic strategists and the social or culturally minded interpret together what the policy implications are. and we could be more creative about the kinds of maps we develop. Also there is a strong correlation between places on the heritage register and where they live.

Rotterdam Development Corporation is one model of an arm’s-length local authority entity with the leeway to act entrepreneurially and to partner with the private sector. the company Bilbao Ría 2000 plays a significant role within the city itself and has grown in importance. Thus it can put resources into the pot when enticing the private sector to get involved but can also reduce risk. it has an income stream from a large number of ground rents in the city. Managing urban change might involve investing in new education. It has said to itself.302 The Art of City-Making 508m skyscraper is the world’s tallest building. while its current theme of ‘changing the cultural values’ of the city to be more open and tolerant is immensely important. Another model is Bilbao’s Metropoli-30 (described in Chapter 7). it is now struggling somewhat to maintain its position and. it does not have the same urgent ring as building a new physical infrastructure. seminar rooms. In parallel. when it helped launch the city on to the global stage. and at a minimum it should be international class. Created in 1993. so encouraging innovation or more expansive or interesting follow-through. selling 3000 different magazines and newspapers. It was set up as a driving mechanism and vision holder. ‘You only have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the civic infrastructure. getting into a new economic sector. recabling a city or opening out new housing zones. it is a joint stock company with public capital – a status chosen to give its organizational ethos flexibility. Promoted as ‘a cultural arena for the people of Taiwan’. and a design and living floor. At the beginning it had few financial resources and had to face the overcautiousness . Vehicles to push the urban change agenda forward need a value base to guide thinking and decision-making. at a maximum world class. they need to be set up democratically while being able to act entrepreneurially within accountability principles. Again the invisible infrastructure never seems as exciting as the visible. However. Eslite’s eight storeys include a children’s discovery museum. one of the world’s largest bookstores. Around it now cluster department stores and Eslite. It does not confuse vision-making with implementing. Importantly.’ Metropoli-30 was particularly effective in the early years of Bilbao’s regeneration. Its road map has led from a focus on civic infrastructure to a change in cultural values in the region. This means giving leeway to act with the requisite public monitoring. shifting the industrial base to services.

Australasia or Britain. which allows for some excitement but is essentially barren. The public sector needs to help reduce that risk. However enlightened they are. as in Abandoibarra. The danger now. The private realm is more often than not interested in the shorter term and in minimizing risk. It received land – a crucial point – from the port and the railway company at a nominal cost in return for developing new infrastructures. Public and private relations need to be in balance so mutual benefit is clear and not dominated by one party. This revenue can help finance public realm initiatives. The ownership of and ability to trade in land is the key lever as it enables borrowing against increased land values. But bear in mind that the window of opportunity within regeneration to capture land value is short. An income stream enables local. In surveying regeneration economics the following conclusions can be drawn. their economics do not stack up in truly blighted areas. North America. The latter done well. An income stream to help the private sector is required. and while other resources were leveraged from the EU and public institutions. The difference in feeling between private public space and public public space is subtle but significant. It is naïve to think complicated developments involving public-good values and goals can be achieved by a few enlightened developers working on their own. but also needs the tools to do so. however. These first receipts were reinvested in high quality public realm works in the Abandoibarra area near the Guggenheim. A completely private sector approach tends to privatize public space. can exude public values like conviviality. As the real estate market took off after the Guggenheim effect. the former has a commercial edge as it is geared to consuming. This enabled it to resell parts for housing units.The City as a Living Work of Art 303 of private investors. so you to tend to end up with mall-like developments and lose the street in the process. say. is that it excludes the less wealthy. the initial caution of the private sector stopped and the market dynamic gained full flow. publicly accountable bodies to take a lead and not just be passive implementers of what a national government imposes or be completely driven by private market interests. the . Some of the value-added created through good public strategy should go back to the public purse. However well done. Cities in continental Europe have a better understanding of the need to plan for their financial future and it allows them to develop more imaginative strategies than those in.

’ Or at the block level: ‘Individual architectural projects should be seamlessly linked to their surroundings. This issue transcends style. and mixed-use. it takes a generation. Typically. there are those who benefit from the hard work of the innovators. London. They in turn create settings that the pioneers occupy. It requires value holders who can stick it out for 20 years. The goal is to get a system that reinforces key actors taking a long-term perspective and encourages ordinary people to create the good ordinary and the great surprising. public policy. street and building. Gabriel’s Wharf and Container City in London. or Ken Yeang’s bioclimatic skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur. replicate and make the innovations into a formula as the mainstreaming begins. the ecoarchitect. Reasserting principles of development The speed of deep regeneration is slow. When done badly. the trajectory of development or renewal in an area starts with a philosophy and then a story – a story of what could be.33 and Bill Dunster.304 The Art of City-Making ability to hang around or the ability to reflect. Governmental cooperation. two examples in Britain being Eric Reynolds. city and town. For example. Within each there are nine principles.’ The core aims are difficult to disagree with: . The New Urbanism charter addresses three levels: the region. whose long track record includes Camden Lock Market. an old building being brought back to life or a new type of project.’ At the neighbourhood level: ‘Neighbourhoods should be compact. district and corridor. at the regional level: ‘The metropolitan region is a fundamental economic unit of the contemporary world. Regeneration is too important to be left to the vagaries of the political cycle. Often these are led by urban missionaries. examples being Dunster’s Bed-Zed Factory.34 a zero emissions development with 82 residential units in Merton. Often this is prefigured by some temporary actions. the neighbourhood. and the block. a bizarre arts event. Good ordinary buildings build up like a mosaic. such as a market. pedestrian-friendly. metropolis. The next group codify. Finally. To encourage the good ordinary requires principles. however. physical planning and economic strategies must reflect this new reality. The challenge is to ensure they do not take all the value out of the development. yet the debate about housing or public buildings tends to be dominated by architectural comment focused on loud buildings. it also has an emptiness.

The City as a Living Work of Art 305 The Congress for the New Urbanism views disinvestment in central cities. loss of agricultural lands and wilderness. Hence the appeal of New Urbanism whose tentacles are now spreading. It is a reaction against sprawl and wants to create human-scale walka- . Many New Urbanism developments can have a cloying feel without the edge of surprise. But it should be judged by its intention. In the US more than elsewhere. less so those whose historic cores have remained. and the erosion of society’s built heritage as one interrelated community-building challenge. aims and values. For the first the image is rational and mechanical: the house as a dwelling machine. We recognize that physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems. community stability and environmental health be sustained without a coherent and supportive physical framework. but neither can economic vitality. the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighbourhoods and diverse districts. and the preservation of our built legacy. historic references and context and giving little space for rethinking the new or making dramatic interventions. towns and cities have been pulled apart by putting the needs of the car centre-stage. Their conceptions started from very different premises. It has a view. the spread of placeless sprawl. a manifesto and set of principles. the image is organic. Reconnecting difficult partners: New Urbanism and Le Corbusier While their intentions to create better cities were similar. of how life should be lived. overemphasizing. the conservation of natural environments. For the second. where the car is king. as they often do. Le Corbusier and New Urbanism seem miles apart. not only by what has hit the ground in its name.35 The charter for New Urbanism is a useful mechanism. environmental deterioration. We stand for the restoration of existing urban centres and towns within coherent metropolitan regions. where ‘community’ is at the centre. increasing separation by race and income. seeking to establish a link between the physical design of cities and social aims like ‘a sense of community’ providing an alternative to automobile-oriented planning that has torn and fractured most places apart.

surrounded by public buildings. Instead of doing everything some place other than close to home. built on those principles and using their designers has eclipsed Seaside as the best-known New Urbanist community.306 The Art of City-Making ble places. Some design fashionistas hate New Urbanism. ages. Its major principles are to create compact. Its town hall. they detest what they see as its cloying feel. It is mostly liked by those who live there. Mulberry and Hawthorn alluding to a natural. Additionally. cele- . As one person noted. schools. More than 600 new developments are planned or under construction in the US. it is a juicy target especially given its strict rules and management. workplaces and parks. such as a library. Streets should be reclaimed with building entrances fronting the street rather than parking spaces. church or community centre as well as major retail businesses. Also. we now can eat. large developments featuring a single use or serving a single market segment should be avoided. shopping. should be sited in prominent locations. its dinky town imitation of a nostalgic past. for instance all houses front the street and cars are hidden from view. do errands. arcadian landscape. There should be a focus on diverse. Neighbourhoods and districts should encourage walking without excluding automobiles. with forbidding columns. its ornamentation. Streets should form an interconnected network and public transit should connect neighbourhoods to each other. apart from the ubiquitous use of Celebration. walkable neighbourhoods or districts with clearly defined centres and edges with a public space. accentuates that reputation. a square or a green at its heart. using the principles. mixed activities in close proximity: living. ‘The entire focus of our lives has changed. churches and libraries. Disney has given New Urbanism both a good and bad name. such as government offices. While Disney has avoided the label. and even ‘big box’ retail buildings can be made walkable with the dominant parking lots flipped to the side and the rear so avoiding setbacks. light industrial. Celebration. and family types to live within a single area. The area feels safe. By contrast hulky. Civic buildings. perhaps its least attractive building. Celebration’s conventional urban design is generally of high quality. a wide spectrum of housing options should enable people of a broad range of incomes. and the surrounding region. Celebration’s roads. near Orlando Disney’s private 5000-acre town. New Urbanists think areas with large office. have names like Acacia. hundreds of small-scale new urban infill projects are restoring the urban fabric by re-establishing walkable streets and blocks.

Le Corbusier became a bête noir for critics who hated his insistence on a rational efficiency that to them diminished people. so doubling its space use. He rejected the solution to build an extension on a cleared site as too conventional. Fascinated by the logical rigour of Taylorist and Fordist production strategies he applied this rational. still applied but increasingly criticized as creating cities enslaved to cars on wide. technologies and architectural forms so providing a new solution to urban living and simultaneously raising the quality of life of poorer people. Many buildings were on thin stilts. who now have a freedom they never had in our old neighbourhood. So do we. The changes are most dramatic for our children. steel-framed cruciform skyscrapers with offices and apartments for wealthier people. Its centrepiece is a group of 60-storey glass-encased. as Rem Koolhaas suggests. congested roads. It was to be designed with great clarity and a focus on function using modern materials. His core ideas are embodied in his scheme for a Contemporary City of Three Million Inhabitants (1922). He suggested leaving the site open. the question needs to be raised: Do architects like people? Some do.’ Le Corbusier equally had intentions to find better ways of living. landscaping it and linking it to the public park behind. Set back in smaller towers were to live poorer people. Brasilia is the prime example of its logic to full effect. seeking to deal efficiently with the urban housing crisis and squalor of the slums.and mid-priced housing on the outskirts of major cities in Europe and elsewhere. banked with dull repetitive towers. He boldly put the extension high in the air on stilts. His notion of towers in parks as the ideal city plan became the dominant model for low. As a founding member of the Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) he realized early on how cars would change cities. . Take Will Alsop’s extension to the Ontario College of Design in Toronto. spirit to city building and decreed that ‘the house is a machine for living in’. yet his influence seeped throughout urban planning. Ornamentation was sparse and buildings spartan and by law all buildings should be white. ‘fuck context’?36 Have Koolhaas’ followers been able to create spaces people love? Indeed.The City as a Living Work of Art 307 brate special occasions and just hang out near our own home. The hub was a transportation centre with buses and trains on different levels with road intersections and even an airport on the top. and cars were venerated. some would say desiccated. Pedestrians were separated from the road.

as do road markings or safety codes. Technology shapes what we do and how we do it. but the exterior leaves a strong mark. it has encouraged walking and cycling and discouraged car use. By the time the rest of the world caught up with these standards. a sector within which it is estimated that 50. For example.38 . Reshaping behaviour Incentives and regulations condition and bend our behaviours. It completely transforms an unremarkable street. This requires either more dramatic incentives. used its environmental degradation as a spur to reinventing its economy. once the mining centre of the Ruhr. Emscher Park has one of the most stringent and developed systems of environmental regulation in the European Community. This contributed to creating the environment-healing industries cluster centred around Dortmund Technology Park. The same is true for norms and values. Living sustainably is one area: we guzzle far too much. the region had already benefited from its ‘first mover’ advantage. Many of these behaviour shapers are etched into operating manuals. Most people are not aware of the deeper implications of their consumption. It applied very high standards which local industry had to meet.308 The Art of City-Making Like an architectural installation it hovers above the existing college with its pixelated black and white cladding and coloured stilts. codes or guidelines. In the case of congestion charges. but sometimes things are not moving fast enough. for example tax rebates on sustainable fuels. The market choices offered determine what we do. We are never as free as we think. like congestion charging in London. let alone laws.37 Emscher. It is pragmatic and visionary. the regulations are also actively enforced.000 people work. change behaviour. It is better to encourage behaviours through incentives rather than invoking stipulatory regulations. Some have criticized the internal spaces that students work in. The knee-jerk reaction that changing behaviour equates to social engineering is ill-considered. or creative regulation. Thousands of ways to effect behavioural outcomes are employed to make civilization work. in contrast to several other countries in the community with strict environmental laws. and. red traffic lights tell us what to do. and in meeting these standards industry developed innovations. yet we do not dismiss these measures as social engineering. albeit seemingly devoid of contextual considerations. Reforms in an incentive system.

40 Crucially. Bochum. and to adopt an ‘incrementalism with perspective’ approach to ensure that eco-thinking was deeply embedded. Some British politicians understand what is at stake but have lost the moral high ground and have not delivered this level of quality. with its bond systems. not everything is controlled from the centre. Bradford. created a chain of 22 science and technology parks. In relation to creative finance we can learn from the US. Emscher cities such as Dortmund. Witness the transformation of the Duisburg-Meiderich steel works. The reason the US is able to innovate is that.39 Its story was simple – turn a mining area into a landscape park. the Yorkshire region was simply not at the same level. In Britain one senses that we still need to ‘convince the man at the treasury’ that there are other ways of using resources better. and found radical new uses for former mines. Sheffield. This treasury approach stops smart thinking about investment and. while maintaining consensus.The City as a Living Work of Art 309 Ironically. refurbished or built 6000 new properties according to high ecological and aesthetic standards. Essen and Unna are twinned with their once industrial mining Yorkshire counterparts in Britain – Leeds. the system of incentives and rewards promoted by government in Britain until recently fostered a begging bowl mentality. A torch-lit guided tour at night through the gargantuan installations of the former works only dimly lit by Jonathan Park’s coloured light installation bends the perception. sought to create culture change without erasing memory. partly because it did not have the levers to generate a vision beyond the mundane. The contrast could not be more striking. Emscher Park has attempted to innovate. who were thus rewarded at the expense of those who could say they had improved the most. Conceptually. business improvement districts (BIDs) and land value tax. The 10-year IBA Emscher Park project regenerated the river system. Grant processes encouraged those who could claim they were in the worst situations. tax increment financing. Emscher. a powerhouse of structural renewal. these measures can be instigated by the city. The fact that investment in social fabric has a financial payback later is forgotten. These . Gelsenkirchen. Often there seems a confusion between investing and spending. What is required is a revolution in taxation. To make matters worse. makes it difficult for public bodies to behave in long-term ways. with its particular form of risk aversion. Their concern is with productivity and they find it difficult to think in feedback loops and spin-offs. as a federal structure.

These institutional mechanisms remind us that while what the individual can do is worthy and important. to the less obvious. or the surprising. that look to the States perhaps could do worse than to look to continental European countries such as Holland. from the obvious. including Britain. it is flawed in other ways: sprawl continues. repeats past mistakes. As the educating cities network notes: The city is. It is more a warning than an inspiration. The dumb city. and segregation and inequalities are endemic.310 The Art of City-Making mechanisms essentially allow future value increases of property to justify current borrowing by public authorities to create public realm improvements. environmental and health. Reconsidering the learning city There are many slogans that now declare the aspirations of cities: ‘the good city’. Importantly. the requirement in the US to secure prior approval for issuing a bond in a ballot secures greater accountability. Learning resources are everywhere. A learning city is a clever city that reflects upon itself. like the urban streetscape. however. Bonds have the great appeal of being evaluated in terms of the project and the capacity of the borrower by the investor. And with BIDs. schools. economic and budget . bond systems are underwritten by expected increases in land values once the infrastructure has been improved. learning city is more than a city of education. contributions from the private sector are repaid by higher property values or increases in turnover in shops. rather than relying on the judgement of politicians. the city is a learning field. For me. ranging from new trams to public space. For instance. therefore. which will be repaid by increased taxes in the future. They are attractive to private investors as they provide an inflation-proof form of investment. or to places like Hong Kong. learns from failure and is strategic. While the US has been financially innovative in its urban development model. on the other hand. A creative. it is limited compared to institutional change and systemic creativity. ‘the intelligent city’. ‘the knowledge city’. culture. educative per se: there is no question that urban planning. sport. like schools. the notion of the learning city has most meaning. like prisons or malls. cars dominate. Many countries. Germany and Spain.

The City as a Living Work of Art 311 issues. developing new solutions to new problems. What does this mean? We know learning and education need to move centre-stage to secure our future well-being. Only if learning is placed at the centre of our daily experience can individuals continue to develop their skills and capacities. The city is educative when it imprints this intention on the way it presents itself to its citizens. So by definition they are ‘education cities’. can organizations and institutions harness the potential of their workforce. and matters related to transport and traffic. a place in which all its members are encouraged to learn. finally. whether through schools or any other institution that can help foster understanding and knowledge. aware that its proposals have attitude-related consequences and generate new values. the learning city is creative in its understanding of its own situation and wider relationships. a place where individuals and organizations are encouraged to learn about the dynamics of where they live and how it is changing. can people or cities be self-reflective and so respond flexibly and imaginatively to opportunities. It is a place that understands itself and reflects upon that understanding – it is a reflexive city. safety and services. It is not a factor of size. a place that can learn to change the conditions of its learning democratically. This goes well beyond learning in the classroom. and perhaps most importantly. It is a place where the idea of learning infuses every tissue of its being and is projected imaginatively.41 Most large cities produce a surplus of graduates as they suck in talent from surrounding regions. However. resources. can the diversity and differences between communities become a source of enrichment. a place which on that basis changes the way it learns. and the media include and generate forms of citizen education. This is fine as far it goes. The challenge for policy-makers is to promote the conditions in which a learning city or community can unfold. Where the dumb city flounders by trying to repeat past success. understanding and potential. knowledge and skills. Thus the key characteristic of the learning city is its ability to develop successfully in a rapidly changing socio-economic environment. a more worthwhile and exciting prospect is to be a learning city – a city that encourages people to be educated. A true learning city develops by learning from its experiences and those of others. economic infrastructure or . difficulties and emerging needs. and. geography. The essential point here is that any city can be a learning city.

trains. Learning messages must confront the clutter of advertising. Indicators to measure an educated or learning city are different. Urban learning resources are everywhere. television and the internet are obvious. It turns weakness into strength. cafés. museums and attractions. or public signs explain the origins of street names: Why is Brixton’s Electric Avenue so called? Who lived in Bloomsbury? Anywhere. community centres. universities. churches. stations. health centres. the outdoors and bookshops are less obvious. from the obvious to the less obvious to the surprising. anyhow. restaurants. Old peoples’ homes. imagination and intelligence. Evaluating the learning city notion requires a different order of indicators: the number and reach of formal cross-sectoral partnerships. Businesses. impact of research produced by the university sector and the proportion of the workforce receiving training. hospitals. Pre-school groups.42 . The learning city merely requires strategy. It sees competitive edge in the seemingly insignificant. can become a site of learning. prisons. It looks at its potential resources in a far more comprehensive way. colleges. citizens’ advice bureaux. It makes something out of nothing. there is a need to find ways of using the city itself as a learning field. proportion of students enrolled in higher education. How is this promoted? Leaving aside the wealth of educational opportunities one would expect from a learning city. and voluntary groups dedicated to bringing about change and improvement. the urban streetscape. The challenge is to create more self-conscious communication devices that allow the city fabric to become a learning experience. refuges. nature reserves. the vitality of local democracy as expressed in voting patterns or responses to consultation processes or the numbers of people involved in local campaigns. school student attainment. adult learning centres. shopping malls. libraries. arts centres. schools. post offices. nightclubs and local parks are surprising. service stations. on occasion. This might mean that. the train station becomes a kind of classroom on transport or communications. homeless shelters. the proportion of major businesses and institutions which use non-hierarchical management processes or the number of mentoring schemes supported by business. football stadia. hotels.312 The Art of City-Making even educational investment. the football stadium uses its screens to explain how the screen itself works. The former includes government school inspection records. creativity.

a habit of doing things there. such advances cannot be guided by views that are etched into current institutional practices that come from a former era. discover. Teachers say it is simply too hard to work against ‘the system’. This implies a major conceptual shift in how schools work. a balance between the skills people have. This system looms everywhere and is difficult to pin down – a rule here. challenging them to devise their own solutions. Learning needs to focus on and be seen through the eyes of those wishing to learn. constructive and selfregulated. By putting the young person at the centre. safety issues or accountability frame- . It is more effective to present kids with problems. such as duty of care. This is especially so if learning plans and learning agendas in school and outside school are co-created and cofinanced with a variety of outside stakeholders. There are many educationalists thinking afresh. the passion required for citizenship. When teachers push innovative approaches. but too often these are the ‘naughty stuff on the side’. It would foster openness. the role of teachers. what they look like. and an organizational leadership culture that is open-minded and boundary-crossing. who should be regarded as a teacher and what the curriculum should offer. Those things now seen as obstacles often emerged initially for good reason. freedom of action. they hit a wall of legislation and resistance from concerned parents. variety – where you can transfer knowledge across contexts and disciplines.43 Meaningful learning is reflective. innovate. direct relevance to the outside world. strategy and institution-building. This would trigger and activate wider ranges of intelligences. Students should acquire higher-order skills such as learning how to learn. challenge – a context where ideas are bounced back and forth with continual feedback and evaluation. There are many teachers with good ideas and nearly every school has extremely interesting projects. create.The City as a Living Work of Art 313 Reigniting the passion for learning Advances in knowledge about how effective learning works should drive educational policy. exploration and adaptability and allow the transfer of knowledge between different contexts as students learnt how to understand the essence of arguments rather than recall out-ofcontext facts. Creative learning environments have characteristics including exuding trust. but their views have not reached critical mass. problem-solve and self-assess. passion can be reignited.

and then schools can be reconceived as centres of curiosity and imagination and communities of enquiry rather than factories to drill in knowledge. The failures we often discuss are more often not to do with the pupils but the way they are taught and how their success is measured. Reinventing teachers means their self-conception should change from being knowledge experts to facilitators and enablers of learning. taking away responsibility from and underestimating the capacity for people to find their own ways to solutions. with their desire to give their kids the best. We know many miss this opportunity and do things we prefer they would not. . When teachers are brought up in an environment of constraint they provide a role model for pupils of passivity and powerlessness – an unfortunate set of attitudes for young people to endure in their rites of passage – which affects those kids for life. Passion is the key. libraries and galleries. who reinforce unhelpful patterns. When passion is tapped in learners and teachers there is a way forward. from botanical gardens and zoos to museums. Some of the most effective learning outcomes happen outside school.314 The Art of City-Making works. school occupies only 5 to 7 hours a day. Evidence shows that astonishing results in overall performance can are achieved with increased participation. assuming often that how they learnt was right. The role of cultural institutions.45 This overall refocus could be the circuit breaker in the system that unleashes passion. The same is true for participation in the arts. It is often parents. People could still be learning in the other 19 hours.44 Young people say their disinterest is triggered by the lack of connection schools make with real life or young enthusiasms. should increase as their style of learning is seen as particularly effective in new learning theory. union rules and surrounding bureaucracies more used to a controlling mode rather than an enabling mode. even though we sometimes behave as if it were 24. But now those same issues are creating constriction. After all. To shift the agenda to learning how we learn will be difficult given the weight of history. Education cannot solve the problems of education on its own. institutional inertia. restraint and even an element of infantilization. A climate should be encouraged that ‘gives permission’ to work around obstacles. It means communicating to parents that the way they learnt in the past is not necessarily the way we should learn in the future.

Ideally they then become creatively entrepreneurial and develop innovations or become leadership figures. our success will depend on our ability to absorb. sustaining. regions and countries are trying to do. Creativity will move into the centre of our economic life because it is a critical component of a nation’s ability to remain competitive. or encourage a company to relocate. They note that: The future will nonetheless be very different from the past. Every city and region wants to attract more gifted and ambitious people. Economic prosperity for advanced. developed nations will depend not so much on the ability to make things. Every person can express their talent better. Their applied creativity generates the wealth and solutions that will drive the city on. but more on the ability to generate ideas that can then be sold to the world. Cities need to find ways of identifying. The talent of its people are the city’s main asset. Some call this ‘the war for talent’. This means that originality and entrepreneurship will be increasingly prized. attracting and promoting talent – wherever it is. Someone coasting in their job can become enterprising. nurturing. Singapore’s talent strategy to attract outsiders stands as an example of what many cities. whether public or private. so doing their job better. should have a talent strategy. At one extreme a long-term unemployed person can become employable. In essence they buy talent. they also have a strong agenda to develop their domestic knowledge base. Every department. harnessing. In the knowledge age. process and synthesize knowledge through constant value innovation.49 . whereby they seek to foster an environment where people want to come.The City as a Living Work of Art 315 Revaluing and reinvesting in people and home-grown talent It is a cliché to talk of valuing people.46 New Zealand47 and Memphis48 are two other examples. Singapore has also developed a notion of the creative city. That person over time may become entrepreneurial and set up a business. perhaps a leading researcher and his or her team. Capitalizing and harnessing the creative potential of local people has to be the defining core of any city’s reinvigoration.

varied nightlife. small galleries. If just 1 per cent of these people became transformed. However. ‘What do talented people look for in a place?’ According to conventional economic theory. base their choices on wider considerations. venues. The stark fact is that millions of younger people have basically dropped out or not recognized what they can offer. but they tend to be one-off. food. In Adelaide. in any city you investigate. we calculated that. from the US and Brazil to South Africa. and yet others don’t quite reach the next step of aspiration or are just waiting for the right challenge to achieve more.316 The Art of City-Making Cities can attract outside talent to refresh their inner gills – and they have to – but most of all they need to achieve endogenous growth. Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class asks. with attributes well beyond the standard ‘quality-of-life’ amenities. This is likely to be similar elsewhere. They choose cities for their tolerant environments and diverse populations as well as good jobs. perhaps 250. Others may have merely missed out. I have no problem with migration. Some are desperately leading a life that drains both them and their city. but simply want to refocus on tapping home grown talent as a parallel strategy. Florida argues that people in the ‘creative class’. It reminds us of wasted talent.000. a teeming blend of cafés. of its population of just over a million. in London it would be 20. art galleries. why not 2 or 3? If all of us achieved 5 per cent more than we do already. They want the critical mass of job opportunities in their field but look for places that suit their lifestyle interests. Think of any large city or ghetto. In my experience. there are many projects to tap hidden talent. they would represent the equivalent of 2500 qualified migrants in the Adelaide case. indigenous street culture. for instance.000 – a quarter – were underachieving. bistros and so on. They want interesting kinds of music. sidewalk musicians.50 What is true in attracting external talent also holds for inspiring and keeping local talent – they also want environments . And if 1 per cent. given their mobility and international demand for their talent. short-term and uncoordinated. A vibrant. performance spaces and theatres. workers settle in those cities that offer the highest paying jobs in their fields. They seek an environment open to differences – places where newcomers are accepted quickly into all sorts of social and economic arrangements. this would equate to a hugely enlarged talent pool.

programmes to help people become enterprising – the enterprise education agenda. To tap talent might mean being unconventional. This means rethinking who our teachers are and what the role of traditional teachers should become. for a variety of reasons. schemes to help people be entrepreneurial. Not everyone is equally talented. schools as different kinds of places. their parents. initiatives to help people become work ready or employable. often do not know they have talent simply because. It could mean that a travel agent might have a role in the geography class. a different spirit could emerge. and creatively entrepreneurial initiatives that might lead to innovations and inventions. from which unexpected potential may emerge and where cultural institutions or sports can again play a key role. such as by setting up a business. Each has different requirements and targets: 1 2 projects to help people become curious and interested – this is a precondition without which talent cannot be discovered. Some people. It might mean reconceiving what a school is – less a factory for learning and more interwoven with daily urban life. a well-being centre acting as the biology class. 3 4 5 6 . it has not been discovered. A talent strategy seeks to address this problem. but everyone can tap into and express their talent more than they do. as differences in achievement can create a ‘have’ and ‘have not’ divide. Importing and overlaying ambitious newcomers into a setting where existing inhabitants have low expectations and aspirations can cause tension. say. especially those with low expectations. clearly the role of cultural initiatives or arts programmes can help and has so far been underplayed. reimagining. as centres of curiosity and imagination that are co-conceived in an equal partnership by kids. the teaching profession and architects.The City as a Living Work of Art 317 conducive to inspiration. A useful device is to divide the talent-generating process into 6 components in terms of helping policy-making and defining projects. projects to help people to ‘self-actualize’. There is a danger that if importing of talent is not combined with a home-grown talent strategy. disaffection and disenchantment could grow. With these broader links to the community. or that kids teach asylum seekers language skills.

Only recently. It is integrated and should also involve an assessment of how economic or arts development and the programmes and activities of cultural institutions foster talent and how social affairs can connect to the agenda. Mexico has 62. after many decades. getting the public sector itself to appreciate the virtues of entrepreneurial thinking.6 per cent). getting schools to bring in outsiders to teach these skills. of whom 30.8 per cent) and Korea (30.3 per cent overweight and 24 per cent obese. but the figures aren’t .5 per cent are obese. The focus should not only be on statutory provision. Britain (61 per cent overweight. It is a mindset driven by the ability to focus on creating opportunities and overcoming obstacles. These processes will rekindle enterprise and the entrepreneurial – these are positive words. The talent agenda is not only about youth. 21 per cent obese) and Australia (58. from competitions to prizes. Being entrepreneurial goes beyond being a business entrepreneur and applies equally to those working in social. administrative and political fields.5 per cent). There is a need to improve the image of being an entrepreneur. for founding a city is a supreme act of entrepreneurship.4 per cent overweight) following close behind. the talent agenda is not a strategy for education. assuming too often they only apply to business people. have they come together again. It has the highest percentage of overweight people (64. both in its own domain and elsewhere. from hypertension to diabetes. cultural. The US leads the race to be fat. although education should play a central role. Repairing health through the built environment Following their combined efforts to improve living conditions in the overcrowded and disease-ridden cities of the 19th century. but also adults and members of the third age. Mainland European countries hover around the high thirties. Each city needs to remind itself of its enterprising history. but we tend to regard what they mean in a narrow way. but should also involve the activities of the private sector and voluntary bodies. the disciplines of public health and urban planning went their own ways. and developing a range of affirmative devices. The lowest percentages are recorded in Japan (25.318 The Art of City-Making Importantly. obesity is probably also lower in Chad or Eritrea. with growing concerns about inactivity and subsequent obesity and other chronic diseases.

from the social worker to the architect. The American Journal of Public Health and The American Journal of Health Promotion.77 metres weighs over 95kg. This means a planner. Walking and cycling now accounts for 6. The situation is stark. regeneration expert or economic development professional should ask.9 per cent of trips are made by walking. economic and cultural power. British cities like Liverpool. The relationship between built form and weight is clear – those areas with more sprawl and fewer sidewalks. is to look at the city through the prism of health. This should involve outcome swaps. where facilities from public transport to shopping are nearby.000. And ‘it is time to shift to communities intentionally designed to facilitate physical and mental health’. Additionally. have higher levels of obesity. Excepted.The City as a Living Work of Art 319 available.5 million people in the first century AD. Their argument can be summarized thus: car-dominated. Berlin lost its status and may catch up again. thus encouraging greater car use. The topic is too important to be left only to health specialists. ‘How do my plans help citizens become healthy?’ Reversing decline Cities rise and fall and rarely stay on top for a very long time. A battery of evidence from around the world is suggesting that cities that encourage incidental walking and cycling have higher levels of health. figures range from 35 per cent to 45 per cent. Sheffield and . In the US only 2. down from 10. Rome had 1. perhaps. In continental Europe. as they tend to accrue political. are national capitals such as London. The challenge for all professions concerned with the city.51 Being obese means that someone of 1. The results point ideally to forms of settlement that are more dense and compact. 300 years later. by contrast. had special issues on the effects of the built environment on health. Paris or Madrid.3 per cent of trips. sprawling and pedestrianunfriendly cities make you fat and unhealthy. those of greater isolation have higher levels of depression.3 per cent in 1960. And this is impacting on life expectancy. But there are many counter-examples. the population had fallen to 30. In September 2003 the two leading American public health journals. before resurging to 3 million in the 1970s. Kyoto lost out when Tokyo took over as capital. and how the design of cities can foster health-inducing behaviour.

. and far more room for experimentation and creating models for the future. For some. the decline is not visible. A new class of quite well-paid urban therapists and regeneration experts keeps them afloat. more housing experts and more economic development specialists than elsewhere. Decline is often out of the control of cities but at times it is exacerbated by a tendency to operate within a comfort zone. gifted and talented are leaving. decline is managed. where most big cities have shrunk. manage to exploit the residues of their past glories by becoming tourist destinations. telecommuting a possibility. such as eco-towns. such as Venice or Florence. but the young. life is quite pleasant. Cities rise up and achieve moments of glory and then fade into insignificance. At times. Suddenly the growth paradigm is thrown out of the window. Some. Decline mostly takes time and happens almost imperceptibly. This welfare industry makes life bearable for those who find it difficult to succeed economically. too. Their resources run out – see Burra in South Australia. The shrinking cities project has monitored such decline. as happened to Berlin and Vienna. with a premium on space. but collectively the movements constitute something dramatic. East Germany. they are now in the wrong place – see Liverpool or Calcutta. some are badly managed and led. In parts. but their real dynamic has long gone. Whole streets can still be bought in some northern English towns for under £100. let alone the smaller ones. Or the mining towns in Australia like Broken Hill or Whyalla. there would be mayhem. Good weather.320 The Art of City-Making Glasgow have seen their relative positions decline. Side by side there are areas of affluence – some of them even the richest parishes in Britain – and poverty. not forgetting hundreds of smaller ones. If there were no subsidies for these places. from Burnley and Rochdale to Blackburn. This generates inertia.52 Significantly. Decline may be bliss. Or production hubs in Russia like Ivanovo. and then changing existing procedures and attitudes is like raising the Titanic. and can be masked by comfortable lifestyles. Shored up by welfare payments. Some miss strategic opportunities. Each small movement of decline in itself does not seem to matter.000. Statistically there are more social workers. They try to manage decline gracefully. war contrives to make them lose power. Consider. Or Detroit. good food and wine can be blinding and the nostalgia of all good things past takes over. it is assessing the opportunities that decline may provide.

The second step is to disregard that which can’t be measured or give it an arbitrary value. What are the benefits of proximity? How much time is saved. I found that predominant measures of success and failure underplay its strengths or often push the city into the wrong priorities. If people and their capacity to contribute to a city’s future are the key. This is blindness. This is OK as far as it goes. as does the resulting pollution that causes ill health.The City as a Living Work of Art 321 Remeasuring assets Daniel Yankelovich. However. they do not tell the whole story. The rethinking process requires places to remeasure themselves according to their self-defined strengths. while these need to be taken seriously. What ultimately contributes more to GDP? A newly laid kilometre of road or 10 transformed people .000. the renowned American pollster. the cost of an educational programme is perhaps AUD100. helpfully reminds us: The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured.8 million or that of an accountant roughly AUD4 million. a city may be lagging. the lifetime cost of an unemployed person is roughly AUD1 million. but there is a bigger story. when I assessed indicators in Adelaide. while the lifetime benefit of a plumber is perhaps AUD1.4 million. The taxes paid might amount to from AUD600. we see relative decline. The third step is to presume what can’t be measured isn’t really important. perhaps an hour a day by 100. What is this worth? Perhaps some £25 billion. as compared to a Sydney.000 people? I calculated this at around 250 million working days a year. With indicators such as GDP growth. The cost of only asphalting 1km of an existing twolane highway is AUD1 million. Crime rates jack up sales of security devices. This is suicide!53 On some basics like value-added created per employee or the number of unemployed. These basic comparisons are useful. For example.000 to AUD1. why do we not measure the costs of not investing in people? For example. The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. Or consider the value of time gained by living in Adelaide. ‘the 20 minute city’. A traffic jam in Los Angeles increases GDP. GDP signals can thus guide us into wrong policy and investment. This is artificial and misleading.

by definition. but also mid-career professionals. are we tracking leakage of talent? This might be done by tracking not only graduates that leave. or through peer-group assessment within fields such as the arts. Cities took to the idea with vigour. when it emerged two decades ago as a means of fostering improvement in business and elsewhere. In turn. while contentious. including measuring international connectivity or density of . and the bohemian index – the concentration of artistically creative people (artists. Even if creativity seems too complex to measure. solving problems of social cohesion. constantly comparing themselves with others. These include: • • • • • • the creative class index – the percentage of creative workers in the labour force. copying what worked and pushing best practices. electronics and engineering sectors. Often it avoids defining strategy appropriate to local needs and can distract from identifying unique local resources. If nurturing and attracting talent is central to most cities’ futures and we are worried about the brain drain.322 The Art of City-Making contributing to the local economy whose lifetime taxes would more than pay for the road in any case? Benchmarking. there is a wealth of proxy indicators both quantitative and qualitative. are we tracking the talent coming in? The indicator of indicators may be the ‘talent churn’. the high-tech index – the size of software. This is fine. These are a good beginning. yet they do not highlight (nor do they claim to) the fine detail. it can stop creativity and innovation as. These include those – cited by Richard Florida54 – that. the talent index – the percentage of college-educated people in the population. Most importantly. had positive impacts. writers and performers) in the population. draw on a body of data to develop a number of indices which he then uses to develop correlation matrices and rankings of cities. not an exercise in leading. or coming up with inventions and innovations. the innovation index – the number of patents per capita. the gay index – the concentration of gay couples in the population (a proxy or lead indicator for diversity). benchmarking is a strategy of following. but increasing negative impacts are emerging. This needs to be elaborated more specifically. because we know there is a correlation between talent and generating wealth.

In the end. You feel the eco-awareness through the design too. It is likely. with a public transport system that is a delight and with porters for your luggage. it is easier to achieve complicated goals. Airports. too. the world’s only commercial maglev. Oslo airport is an intelligent building – alternative-energy-powered shutters open and close according to the weather. the arrival experience also says ‘we are green’. of people emerge as the real drivers of an invigorated place. More comprehensively. Friendly assistants help you to your taxi and a lush. or levels of organizational networking. Hong Kong airport is also in this top league. stations and entry roads are vital in telling the urban story. Such an audit provides a confidence-building foundational stone. memorably welcomes you after arriving at its airport with a major rubbish disposal site. Philadelphia. Passing similar tree-lined approaches. if not thousands. green. Noticeably. Singapore was one of the first cities to grasp and follow through every aspect of the experience of arrival. as literally hundreds. Here the Nordic cities work too.The City as a Living Work of Art 323 communications assessed by telephone calls and internet uptake. ‘you are safe’. They communicate how the city sees and values itself. a city with a strong identity. ‘we are modern’. such as a 10km entrance to the city. when an enlightened public sector is in the lead and in essence can overcome resistances along the way. connects the international airport to near the city’s financial centre in Pudong district. there is practically no visual clutter and commercial aspects are . It is likely that they will represent clusters of achievement and potential. Shanghai’s elevated maglev (magnetic elevation) train. Even though neither city is renowned for its sustainability agenda. international peergroup assessments of various fields are the most dependable. it creates a similar calming effect. First and last impressions configure overall impressions and negative experiences impact more than positive ones. a run of 30km. Re-presenting and repositioning Arrival to and departure from a city matters. tree-lined corridor with boulevarded streets make the ride into the city centre calm. creativity might be assessed through a biannual creativity audit to assess the city’s creativity potential. that some do not know each other and operate in silos. so taking away the insecurities any traveller feels on arrival. Both send out messages such as ‘we care for you’. ‘we are well organized’.

from urban design. Train stations send out the messages too. The key themes should be embodied and reflected from the terminal or station or motorway entrances onwards to tell an unfolding story that links with the story in other parts of the city. There is a huge opportunity to make statements that show visitors what is different about the city. This makes the Bilbao comment above on ‘once in a generation opportunities’ pertinent. For instance. The grime of Bucharest. why not think of itself as the ‘biggest of the small’? We advised Helsinki that. and we have to live with a bad building for a generation or more. But using the city as a communications device to drive vision and aspiration remains under-explored and goes well beyond arrival and departure.324 The Art of City-Making downplayed. Melbourne. green buildings should be known to be green. The panoply of visual clues and activities promoted. Contrast this with the Washington Dulles airport experience and the messages it sends out: no metro system to the centre. public art and signage to the temporary and whimsical. as. The following may appear trivial. Unfortunately they arrive at a shunting yard in Keswick. but has downstream effects on self-perception. safety and respect. this is the opportunity to send out visible iconic triggers and not merely advertising hoardings. Importantly. Adelaide is now changing that. In Adelaide we proposed that instead of thinking of itself as the ‘smallest of the big’ (Brisbane. Perth and Sydney all being bigger) and losing out against them. instead of worrying about being on the . Euralille in Lille projects modernity and the future – open heaters compensate for the cold chill that sweeps through it and that was perhaps a design fault. This is sad because Washington’s metro is renowned as one of the best in North America. say. such as consideration. perhaps employing a temporary sign that reminds people that the building next door uses. This symbolic resonance is immense. double the energy and costs more. Cities often downplay their possibilities and self-perception is often the cause. imbue the atmosphere. Getting these arrival termini right is key. Civic values. the chaos of Odessa or the human mass in Kolkata elicit other feelings. is there to be further explored. Adelaide is the only city in the world where two of the world’s great railways stop – the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. just a herd of taxis waiting for arrivals. Getting into the city is seamless. Get this wrong. Terminal Four at Heathrow. for example.

the story of a place like Adelaide will be a narrow one. Only a few cities. Shanghai and London. This changes the narrative a place tells about itself and can generate confidence. so weakening the image of this area dramatically. The mass of others need to increase their reputation and positioning in niche areas to sustain . Places where courts are based always have a disadvantage. but these are large arguments about the role of the fourth estate. crime. They are geared to complaining rather than helping to create. You hear above all about fears. The list starts with places like New York. have enough drawing power and recognition across a range of domains. Yet reports of these cases in the media refer solely to Elizabeth. In Adelaide there are courts in the district of Elizabeth which deal with cases from a wider area than that of the district itself. so the media landscape for a mature city should be one of diversity. The British town of Huddersfield got lift-off as the ‘creative town’ only when the local press firmly helped create an environment in which citizens felt they could become part of the solution. more sophisticated story that reflects broader views. Melbourne’s or Sydney’s media provides a richer. vandalism and disorder (important though these are). urban politics increasingly responds to media messages. In contrast to Adelaide. These switches have real life impacts. which had one dominant paper. There is much about problems. Most urban turnaround stories work in part because they have this diversity of media or – especially when they are small – a supportive local media that encourages the city to move forward. The media claim they are only responding to views rather than creating views. with little sense of their depth or richness. Cities are often projected as clichés. Obviously in a ‘hyper-mediated’ age. Without more media competition. the other more interesting. Tokyo. The media is key to urban reinvention. How about dropping the references to the physical location of courts? Just as it is good for any larger city to have alternative hubs where different lifestyles express themselves.The City as a Living Work of Art 325 periphery and ‘on the edge’. but little about achievement and aspiration. Most people will know which these are. it might think of itself as ‘at the cutting edge’. One sounds dull. Most city media disappoint. perhaps 30 in the world. You hear about the effects but little about addressing causes. And this can also have a corrosive effect on politics as it begins to play more to the media than to the other big picture issues concerning the future.

This means increasing drawing power to various audiences. dynamism or greenness. because if they inspire citizens they will want to stay and contribute. Every story a city tells itself anchors its sense of self and possibilities. because the Bible and booze always went closely • • . Take Adelaide’s stories: • • • The land and its peoples before European settlement. Yet this image on closer examination may not be that pure. Retelling the story Every city has many stories. this is targeted at the city’s own citizens by providing an environment where they want to stay. which can mean any of those not at the top of the urban hierarchy. Foremost. In projecting itself as having desirable attributes. The city of stone and substance. and thus respect for the law. It should simply demonstrate through imaginative action that it is creative and let others say of it ‘you are creative. a city should not brand itself as ‘Creative Anywhere’ or give itself a similar accolade. where it might go. spirituality and otherworldliness. reflecting a deeply embedded solidity and long-term legacy.326 The Art of City-Making wealth creation over time. The strong niches a city decides to highlight are important. how it sees itself now.’ As ever. For the mass of smaller cities. Stories describe where a city has come from. as well as a feeling of order and definition. highlighting its loftiness. such as creativity. exemplified by the world-famous Light plan for the city. The city of churches. and outsiders will be enticed to come. there is the danger of sloganeering or vainly and desperately attempting to be famous for something. Building a reputation is not merely a marketing exercise but a process of creating rich associations around these niche areas. The city of ideals and perfect planning. The city of free settlers and no convicts. its personality and its perspective on life. Yet positioning is about creating the conditions whereby the wealth-creating capacity of a place can be sustained over time. the switch being attempted is to move them from being places to leave to being destinations to come to. This engenders pride and a certain high-mindedness. In this way they become stronger ambassadors for their city.

is reshaping the story again.The City as a Living Work of Art 327 together. Another predominantly 1950s story is that Memphis is the quietest. This is the operating system of the new story. you can achieve your dreams and we will help you’. the city within which women can flourish and where possible utopias can happen. avoids risk and that ‘talks the talk’ well but does not feel it can deliver. Indeed. Then there is the murder capital label and. The signal is ‘you have permission to get on with it’. Perhaps it felt controlling and somewhat restrictive. state-led intervention. its stories include being the birthplace of the blues and musical invention. Martin Luther King’s assassination is a story that blighted the city for 35 years. Most interestingly. For example. vibrant and creative. cleanest and safest city in the States. with his interest in the arts. to improvise. that is overambitious and bites off more than it can chew. The boring city that is overcautious. Permission to have insight. This connects to the Adelaide Festival. It seeks to build on the vision that ‘you can make it here. • • • • • Seen in this sequence – and the stories do follow chronologically – we can see why one followed the other. Perhaps a marriage between the two is what Adelaide really is. Its goal now is to write a new chapter as the ‘city of creative imagination’. and the closing in after the State Bank saga and the ensuing reputation for inaction. the number of churches may reflect a certain fractiousness rather than unity of purpose. The State Bank collapse or failure of the Multifunction Polis (MFP). Take Memphis as another example. such as Adelaide as the Detroit or Athens of the South. the University of Memphis is repeatedly . the opening out in the 1970s under Premier Don Dunstan. as exemplified by the creation of the new town of Elizabeth and the attraction of the car industry into the state. to imagine. The city that overextends and loses judgement. Named after the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile. experimental. Fed Ex. a visionary Japanese idea for the future of the city. the massive logistics company. to invest and to implement. on a more positive note. Then the Elvis Presley movement adds to its musical richness. The city of the arts: a way of saying Adelaide is open. Niche stories. but one that also highlights a concern with civil rights. The city of bold.

this dependency can change because. If the watchwords are to be ‘the place that encourages imagination and being creative’. and leadership is more than just administering or managing. new stories about ourselves. and leadership with new priorities can emerge. what is even more important is the culture of the place. This shapes the attitudes of its people and its sense of self. We also must invent. given its high entrepreneurial start-up rate (and given that most entrepreneurs fail at least once). Rules and regulations should facilitate and enable development rather than control it. Adelaide. the population mix (many on low incomes who desperately need second chances to finally succeed) and plain old human frailty. While there is a certain path dependency. natural resources and location are vital. Imagine a place that is positive about second chances. is ecologically savvy. seem superficial and irrelevant to the purists. My conclusion is that while industrial structure. in a city the people constantly change. ‘You can make here. If a city takes on board the idea of second chances and inserts it into its genetic code.328 The Art of City-Making being referred to as the ‘University of Second Chances’. putting vineyards around an airport terminal communicates green inten- .’ And this is an adroit narrative for the city as a whole. improvisation and implementation are happening? This will require communicating strategically and putting some things on the ground that may.55 This certainly sends out the message. Retelling the urban story is not about eradicating the past. for example. whereas an individual is locked into their attributes. There is nothing wrong with myths as long as we challenge them regularly. Leadership is central to the urban change agenda. If you want to signal that your city. where the assumption is that you will not be blamed for a failure or missing an opportunity. In so doing we should examine honestly the myths that sustain us and give us our identity. You can fulfil your dreams. this changes behaviour. and we will help you. and then live out in our daily lives. Yet their psychological power can be great. How will we know these processes of imagination. at first sight. its psychology and its history. business development. New generations come in unencumbered by the past. This is the genetic code of the city. the story it tells itself and the myths about itself that it clings on to. but about building on it and using the elements of past stories to help us move forward. what that means needs to be physically seen as well as allowing people to improvise. new outsiders with fresh views arrive.

Much of this does not cost money. motivation and will follow. It involves being a bit subversive or surprising and working at a subliminal level to get a message across. expressed in order to communicate well. connections and communications are available. But this can happen only by rethinking through what capital. where foliage could hang majestically down from city roofs like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Leading a city is about managing all its forms of capital together. Resources to achieve transformation will not magic themselves out of nowhere. or at least very little. These should capture the imagination by tapping into deeply felt desires and widely acknowledged assets. if people and organizations follow jointly agreed ends. Green buildings could have imaginative signage explaining how much energy is saved and how much more the neighbouring building costs to run. The results need to be communicated not as a clutter of facts. Together these have a psychological impact. If we focus only on one without attention to the others. That is why we need to integrate attitudinal change with activities. or even problems. When we tap this energy. as would greening blank walls. programmes and initiatives as well as physical manifestations such as in urban design and infrastructure. collaboration. They will be harnessed by doing things better largely within the same resource base.The City as a Living Work of Art 329 tion (and wine) without wordy explanations. but as visible achievements that can be seen and felt in the way the city goes about its business and in its urban landscape. the city is managing itself badly. as would plans to waterproof the city. but not simplistically. To do this well requires whole of government approaches and not scatter-gun initiatives. more value can be created and greater impact achieved without wasting time . 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. Having a long-term plan to solar panel a city would have immense power to communicate ambition. An under-explored form of capital is confidence. They need to be simply. but only if solutions are also proffered. while at the same time doing the hard work of deeper greening. Additional resources come from collaboration because.

or changing the name of risk policy. not piece by piece. Yet nobody takes this on as their role. They are the software system of the city. While every city needs to be imaginative. the generation of projects and. Connections are not valued because the focus is on tangible deliverables. The notion of the metropolis as an interconnected asset and the idea of ‘learning to be a city’ and revaluing hidden assets could do the trick. But they are the invisible assets that make the networking-driven economy work. ultimately. This means a subtle shift in mindset. For example. but to begin the process they must overcome the culture of constraint. at least to themselves. . They must self-create through inventiveness. This is why the need to think through new governance arrangements for the city and to see it as an interconnected asset is highlighted. based on values. when done well. society and economy. Getting people and sectors to talk together and finding ways to broker that talking does not cost much and can have great impact in terms of understanding. linkages and networks are a key resource. the role of discipline. traditions and aspirations. strategic decision-making. Connections. philosophy.330 The Art of City-Making and resources by contradicting each other. energy and will. A changed mindset is a rerationalization of a person’s behaviour. it engenders response. conceiving a place as a metropolis. both practical and idealistic. The crucial issue is how people at every level can change their approach systematically. some need to be doubly so. convenient way of thinking and our guide to decision-making. Strong ideas or themes have a significant impact on how things are conceived. There should be two foci for connections. Mindset is our accustomed. Communicating with strategic intent and sophistication through iconic triggers generates resources because. and collaboration and implementation. Mindset is the settled summary of our prejudices and priorities and the rationalizations we give them. The challenge is to find a story or narrative and linked structure that forces a change in perception. because people like their behaviour to be coherent. And this should be the joint responsibility of both business and various levels of government. both internally and to the outside world. This is what we have called ‘capturing territory’. which is the order within which people structure their worlds and how they make choices. wealth creation. or shifting the policy on education to centre around the child rather than the professional.

openness. It would provide a mass of business opportuni- . enterprising. Ideally it should touch the identity of a place and so feel culturally relevant. the willingness to listen. because enough second chancers will have succeeded. A good idea solves economic problems as well as others. but it has not yet happened. Its weakness it that it could apply anywhere. resonates and communicates iconically – you grasp it in one. Many cities around the world say they are going to become the ‘education city’. The same is true if any other city were to claim it would become the world’s first ‘zero emissions city’ or ‘solar city’. It had an implied economic agenda and spoke powerfully to green issues. A good idea needs to have layers. ‘A talent strategy for …’ idea would be better: it is easy to understand. as Memphis is beginning to say. It has to embody issues beyond the economic. It recognizes that the city is disadvantaged without over-egging the pudding. that becomes the roadmap to move forward? A great idea needs to be simple but complex in its potential. and they can see their involvement from the arts to education to business providing professional development. build on and create it. entrepreneurial or innovative. It opens out to the future and ideally in a decade the slogan will be less relevant. clearly many people would need to be engaged. A good idea connects and suggests linkages. catalytic idea that can drive a process. Let’s look at some ideas. tolerance. Indeed it should support. It is dynamic. it implies and feels as if it is only the education sector that is involved. It projects a positive ethos. If it is just economic it can become mechanistic. attracting. To say. Or it can focus on the stages of talent from getting people to be curious. This idea is narrow. A good idea is instantly understandable. harnessing. that it is ‘the city of second chances’ is quite strong. It breathes and implies multiple possibilities. With a good idea creativity and practicality come together. In this way it should speak to deeper values and ambitions. To say that Adelaide would ‘waterproof the city’ was a strong idea of theirs. It is significantly powerful and can be implemented in many ways. It excludes everyone else.The City as a Living Work of Art 331 What is a creative idea? What is a good. and really mean it. It can be layered to focus on identifying. sustaining or exploiting talent. It acknowledges business start-up records are not too good. 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.

. lighting a building needs to work harder. However. they did not know what many urban regeneration projects were seeking to achieve. would have to be about more than just lighting some buildings – perhaps it should be about enlightening a place.332 The Art of City-Making ties and put that city on the global radar screen. anything to do with race is seen as a minefield. project outcomes. multiculturalism has come under criticism for segregating communities and not encouraging crossovers between cultures. synergy. A survey by the Centre for Local Economic Strategy (CLES). Local people talk of taking their kids ‘on holiday’. It would seem interestingly counter-intuitive for a known mining centre or industrial centre to do it as the gut instinct is to see those kinds of city as macho. joined-up thinking and exit strategy. professionals give them ‘a residential experience’. ‘having a good time’ is now ‘learning new skills’.56 In almost 90 per cent of cases. quizzed 38 voluntary agencies in Oxford on their understanding of commonly used urban regeneration terms like capacity-building. In short. and Perth being enlightened. This can especially be the case for council officers in planning or engineering services rather than in social and community development. As many of the activists did not understand the jargon. The worst were ‘capacity-building’. Another example of broadening an idea or ‘making more out of less’ is if someone wanted to light a set of buildings or a bridge. Such a lighting scheme. a British association for city development. ‘synergy’ and ‘community empowerment’. reinforcing the problems that need addressing. more respondents had heard of a term than understood it. community empowerment. For instance. Jargon detaches and disengages us from the core of what we are trying to do. as it presents so many opportunities to put your foot in your mouth and trip yourself up because you do not understand the cultural nuances of the latest words and dare not use them. This indicates a high frequency of overused but misunderstood phraseology. Other jargon often reflects an atmosphere of political correctness. They therefore stay away from these important issues. in Britain. strategic objective. with associated activities and linked publicity. A final coda: Reconsidering jargon Language is important – it is intrinsically linked to thinking and behaviour.

This project will bring the excitement and energy that are the hallmarks of Times Square to this region. The private sector is no better: ‘Clear Channel Spectacolor’s thrilling outdoor signage will add significant value to our property. the equivalent of three entire buildings in Times Square. Any professional field coins a technical language that justifies its existence and operations and gives the impression of specialization and exclusivity. this is a high-profile project that will allow us to embed clients into a truly unique marketing environment in a burgeoning marketplace. you create new language … but was it worth getting rid of poverty in favour of social exclusion. But such language can act as a smokescreen to hide the fact that nothing is there or that something very insubstantial is. Clearly ‘when you have new problems and want to conceptualize them. If you translated some jargon into plain English.The City as a Living Work of Art 333 Or how about ‘the Council’s commitment to delivering a comprehensive parks service is key to developing a sustainable parks service with a broad remit to deliver a full range of parks related services’? Or ‘the final report recognizes that local government is key to the current and future success of cultural provision and development and suggests that local authorities should take the lead in establishing and servicing Cultural Planning Partnerships to achieve outcomes within the policy framework’?57 Jargon can mask a lack of content and substance. It is often tautological or plain banal. when no-one really understood what it was … and why get rid of social justice?’58 .’ Insipid hogwash. With this extraordinary volume of signage. it would come out as mundane truisms.


often given in perpetuity by philanthropists. One of the best examples is the transformation of Bryant Park in New York from a fearful ‘no-go zone’.7 Creative Cities for the World 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. gives it special power and resonance. however. how many have radically applied such policies and gone against our inherent laziness or the interests of the car lobbies and others? The strength to go against the grain today must now be counted as an act of creative endeavour. businesses and public institutions to act. Linking creativity to bigger picture aims. Creativity for the world or for your city gives something back. prostitutes and the . being globally competitive or linking economic. for instance. Creativity in itself is not necessarily a good. especially when it limits itself to mere self-expression. These are a gift to a community. it is a creativity that generates civic values and civility. Every city. social and environmental agendas. nicknamed ‘Needle Park’. Thousands of cities claim to be concerned about sustainable development. These values might range from a concern with greater equity or care in all its guises to balancing policy goals such as increasing the quality of life for all citizens. By acting in this manner the way a city operates and the results it achieves act as role models to inspire others. has special public spaces. dominated by drug dealers. Alternatively public spaces in disrepair have been reconquered by citizen groups for the city.

Paris and London achieve being both old and somewhat young. Their museums – the Louvre or the British Museum – exemplify this. with many images racing around. rather like a random act of kindness. but. Initiated by a group of prominent New Yorkers. Paris. Paris was for much of the 20th century regarded by many as the artistically creative centre of the world. like the Katha example described earlier. the park is now managed by the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation. there are thousands of other places that have degrees of creativity. of course. to an urban haven with a Parisian feel by the 1980s. a coordinated programme of activities and facilities made it a spectacular success. ranging from encouraging social entrepreneurship to providing ladders of opportunity to start-up companies or rethinking education. Paris may have the Eiffel Tower and New York the Empire State Building. And those people in turn are now part of what makes London and Paris alive. sponsored by Google. Abundant with treasures taken in from the world they exude power and help reinforce that power today as an element of their global pull. Amsterdam and London spring to mind. Through their imperial pasts they have extracted wealth and resources from their former dominions. They have drawn in the peoples from their former colonies and now well beyond too. auctioneers and collectors. You usually think of the city as a composite whole. Overall . Creativity for the world or your city can mean many other things. the talented or those wanting or needing to be near the centres of power. Restored and redesigned. Political power linked to economic power often force-feeds creativity as these cities became poles of attractiveness for the ambitious. rather than an individual building or a part. It attracted not only the makers but also the buyers. When you think of great creative cities. Since the summer of 2002 the park has had a free wireless internet network. Overall this feels like a gift from ‘somewhere’ to the city and its citizens. from Picasso to Stravinsky. To be creative means being alive with possibility and not ossifying and resting on the laurels of former greatness or a single building. You see people of all ages beavering away at their work or their novels. New York.336 The Art of City-Making homeless in the 1970s. but they do not encapsulate the city. Anyone who wanted to make a name for themselves had to have been there.1 These acts of civility encourage social capital. immediately attracting locals and visitors.

architecture. Inevitably. while good at what they do. from irreverent comedy. London by contrast was for decades seen as the stuffy. attracting the young the world over. generated in the Bronx. for London to regard itself as creative it needs to fire on more cylinders than this. top–down. and this in turn attracted more financiers and business people. is chided for its somewhat dirigiste. it represented the new horizon and attracted the ambitious or those wanting to make a fresh start the world over. It expressed itself too in New York’s urban fabric.’ Clearly. It is far less rigid and formulaic than its continental or American counterparts. unimaginative counterpart until it burst open in the 1960s in a number of fields. This is a virtuous cycle. The AIDS crisis dampened possibilities. to fashion and music. the performing arts. is regarded as being a foundation. The tough competitiveness and need to survive generated an intense energy and. in spite of its glories and its attempts to foster the modern. who is showcasing his 2007 collection in London rather than Milan or Paris: ‘London is in many ways the world’s most cosmopolitan and influential city. including contemporary art. food. Yet the average financier. but the subsequent turnaround in its safety record is admired. developer or business person. New York must be mentioned as one of the creative cities of the last 150 years. somewhat closed approach. which builds both on African roots and the contemporary possibilities of technology. There is a fine balance between needing to focus on the . Even the beggars have inventive scams to draw the money out of you. film and fashion. literature. is not renowned for their creativity. a ‘do or die’ attitude that ultimately expressed itself in New York’s dominance in myriad fields. with the fear of crime and an edginess that was too stark playing their part too. It has retained a reputation since then. and later many others. Yet today Paris. for instance. It has resulted in comments such as those of Giorgio Armani. This support for flexibility and focus on self-reliance both challenges and underpins creativity. as the cliché notes.Creative Cities for the World 337 they created a milieu of both challenge and support. from finance to the media and even hip-hop. with Manhattan standing as the modern city icon par excellence. as it has become a crossroads for so many cultural references. who helped increase the tax base in order to pay for public services that make New York feel safer and cleaner. Its congestion charge will in time be seen as brave and imaginative. music. Its degree-level art education of world renown. as the traditional port of entry for European immigrations.

There is a tension between them. from Vancouver to Zurich. from Hong Kong to Singapore. The quality of life – traffic jams. pollution. where there is immense energy (although is it really creative. The ability to generate civic creativity is where the public sector learns to be more entrepreneurial and the private sector more socially responsible in pursuing joint aims and the willingness to share power. People are allergic or addicted. wealth and squalor living side by side – can overwhelm. you . Paris.338 The Art of City-Making quality of life agenda. London and many others is whether they are creative enough or could they be more creative. Civic creativity In all great cities public-spirited generosity to the city is evident. given the constraints citizens operate under?). dirt. When businesses can be run from anywhere. These hubs of intensity and invention can feel too much. to these great creative places. I call this type of creativity civic creativity. There are many smaller cities coming up and challenging the formerly great centres. The concept puts two words together that do not seem to fit. perhaps in equal measure. Yet the notion of creativity for the city begins to bridge that gap. from San Francisco to Melbourne and smaller still. Creativity that seems to be loose and potentially wild and civic that comes across as curtailed and contained. from a tiny place in the far north like Longyearbyen in Svalbard to a giant metropolis like Tokyo. Some say too that since 9/11 New York feels a different place – it has shown its resilience and has come back. developers and landowners. with a goal of having greater influence over an enlarged more successful whole. So the site as of summer 2006 lies there like an open wound. with the array of vested interests – neighbourhood groups. is their imagination focused on a ‘just for me’ creativity or is it contributing to making the city a better place. Anywhere you go. and creativity. Furthermore. And let’s not forget the newly fashionable cities like Shanghai. they should make no assumption that their position is indelible. including safety. Just remember that of the great cities from 1000 years ago only Canton/Guangzhou is again in the primary league. good housing or being a family-friendly city. Yet the question now for acknowledged creative cities such as New York. politicians. Yet in a place with so much agglomerated power it is difficult to conclude the big debates. such as the memorial for the 9/11 victims.

It subverts the readily accepted. Or so many would hope. The city itself is increasingly seen as a branded retail experience that integrates the brands into an urban superbrandscape that becomes the ‘must-see’ destination. In this process retail/leisure developers become the true city-makers. The more creative city also attends to the quintessentially ordinary (though increasingly extraordinary): affordable housing and ranges of housing choices at different prices. fast and frequent public transport. Some use their energy and imagination to keep the system going as it is and to reinforce existing trends. Experiences are too often contained within a preordained template or theme that leaves little space for one’s own imagination. To make these possibilities come true requires civic creativity. but that care is often misplaced. It seeks to be its own author of experience rather than have ‘experience’ imposed in a pre-absorbed way. exploring the boundaries of what they know. Not all creatives display these qualities in their lives. And given a world of growing complexity we can often forget the . The vast number of small shops in Paris only exist because they have been encouraged through various regulations over time. the city of creativity wants to shape its own spaces. but is it creativity for the world? The garishness can excite. It tests convention. of trying to seduce us to buy while making it appear they are not doing so. The city of creativity has different qualities. It goes with and against the branded experience. but the more creative city has an overall atmosphere that projects vistas of chance encounter. at times very stimulating but often dull. possibility. and the irony can amuse. But to what larger purpose? To make you consume more or feel you are more unique and distinctive than you perhaps really are and therefore need that special brand.Creative Cities for the World 339 will find creative individuals and organizations bucking the trend. the unexpected. the technological wizardry can create wonder. can-do. the challenging and the clash of the ugly and the beautiful. We may care for our cities. uncertainty and unpredictability. and gathering places and walkability. surprise. It is ready to adapt. inventing useful and less useful things. This requires creativity of a sort. It relaxes into ambiguity. convenience stores selling basic products like bread and tea near to the urban core. because it involves using the regulations and incentives regime to bend the market logic to bigger goals. flourishing neighbourhoods with strong identities. Instead. This might be an advertising agency devising ways.

Disparagingly. like creating a good public space or restructuring public transport. restaurateurs. the sense of place. such as chemists. younger and older people challenging conventions in behaviour. These groups have differing characteristics. good conversation and wit are not inevitable partners of the research or corporate mind. Many may be smart in their subject but socially quite dull and limited. Many of the so-called creatives in fact possibly want urban settings that are familiar. business entrepreneurs. Creative urbanity. traditional applications of citymaking. The willingness to insist on the basics of good citymaking we increasingly must call civic creativity too. musicians. Though many are undeniably imaginative. And while. They breach boundaries in limited ways. Creative people come in different shapes and forms. The same is true for the researchers in organizations. as creative. the socially creative may indeed be very unstylish. painters. beavering away quietly. formulae and group mindsets that may be effective in a narrow. although some core qualities cluster. Indeed many work in the corporate world. We suffer from a collective amnesia when it comes to urban lore. and have lifestyles that are defined by the brands they associate with rather than what they create themselves. unseen and usually unknown. many are written off as ‘nerds’: single-minded enthusiasts or people excessively interested in subjects or activities that are regarded as too technical or scientific. generators of public experiences and even bureaucrats. biologists or software engineers. when in fact we are merely revisiting first principles. So does this curbed boundary-breaking in one place make up a creative city? Probably not. with its many restrictions. The creatives can be architects – some of whose dizzying buildings can shock you into awe – or built environment professionals. The creative city needs the spark of the alternative. but too frequently we conflate stylishness and creativity.340 The Art of City-Making basics. the imagination of the ‘what could be’ displayed in action. Thus we deem ordinary. of non-branded space. they may understand social bonding in important new ways and be invaluable to some city-making contexts. we overemphasize media creatives and artists. such as a relative degree of openness. . econometric sense but are not necessarily creative. with a concentrated focus on some minutiae or other. that have a contained edginess or a degree of reassuring predictability. tenacity and focus. Techno creatives and engineers may have a laser-sharp focus on some obscure electronic problem or building dilemma. attitudes and even dress. say.

The following sections look at urban creativity in a few select cities. for example – I wish to provide a cautionary account of how great productive endeavour and transformation does not always equate to creativity. Courageous. hopefully widespread. motivated and focused are words one might use. There are other strongly creative places like Amsterdam. but creative? That is doubtful. Dubai has blasted itself on to the world map. Freiburg and others. sends out signals of the principles and values that are deemed right. and Curitiba in Brazil. I start with lengthier discussions of Dubai (an extreme of sorts). Readers can make up their own minds as to whether they are creative at all and what other cities they would have put in their place. Too often cities resemble karaoke. determined. I must acknowledge that when it comes to Dubai. There is not one conductor guiding everything from above. but in reality you are an imitator. Singapore. It has followed what it considers ‘best practice’ with a Dubai twist. Vancouver. strategic. This gives a spread of attempts at urban creativity. By way of a justification for this polemic. hopefully the examples and dilemmas they pose will stand for the many others claiming they are exemplars of imagination. quite enjoyable yet scripted. the more familiar territory of the Spanish cities Barcelona and Bilbao. a place of visions.3 You read the text from the screen and feel as if you are a creative performer. Clearly devel- . yet when done well the individual performances seamlessly fit together. which will be briefly surveyed. Yokohama.2 Jazz is a democratic form – everyone can be in charge at some point. while Dubai’s modern history has a lot in it to be admired – determination and boldness. The creative city needs tens of thousands of creative acts to fit into a mosaic-like whole. Is Dubai creative? Having encouraged open-mindedness on your part.4 When reading this through I hope there is sufficient food for thought for you to decide what is creative and what is not.Creative Cities for the World 341 I have said already that the creative city is more like a free jazz session than a structured symphony. Remember that its productive endeavours contribute to the world’s largest ecological footprint. although leadership. my own views aren’t particularly charitable and it shows.

atmosphere and diversity. the Gulf is a sub-region that lures the West and projects calmness. Thirty years ago that centre was Beirut. The Middle East sends out mixed messages. Dubai has scoured the world for best practices and has learnt the lessons of US business schools by heart and gone beyond those lessons. in the knowledge. part of an attempt to increase Dubai’s shoreline from 60km to 800km in length. so it has no need to consider the vagaries of democratic ‘time wasting’. ‘Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum wanted to put Dubai on the map with something really sensational’ and to transform Dubai into a knowledge-based society and economy. which has a far better climate. as is creating ‘The World’. And this is where Dubai had to move fast and launched its ambitious physical programme. it attracted bankers and tourists from the Middle East and Europe. much more dramatic setting and much heritage to boot. history.’6 As the civil war subsided and urban regeneration initiatives like Solidaire were completed. which now represents only 7 per cent of its income. potential ecological disaster. certainty and safety. or the Dubai Waterfront. As the world’s key oil producer. human unsustainability and implosion. a set of manmade islands representing every nation on the globe. seemingly detached from the West. the region needs a transparent financial centre and transactional hub. Yet Lebanon’s 16year civil war from 1975 to 1991 destroyed both physical and networking infrastructures. As its advertising notes. It can take decisions. commerce and modern life. boldness. . stick to them and not worry about dissent. The city state is one of seven that make up the United Arab Emirates and is governed by the ruling Maktoum family. was clear-sighted. However. branding. more importantly. centralized resourcing. To many it is a zone of instability and religious zealotry.and media-based industries. a palm tree-shaped set of islands off the Dubai coast. entrepreneurs were scrambling to re-establish Beirut as the transparent hub of the Middle East. Famed for its cosmopolitan outlook. Dubai provides lessons in ambition.5 The vision of Dubai to diversify away from oil. is a bold endeavour. hype. ‘Beirut is simply a melting place combining culture.342 The Art of City-Making oping ‘The Palm’. Dubai was always a trading entrepôt and recognized early that the world was turning eastwards and that it could become a global hub between Europe and the East – a hub both logistically and. Dubai had a short window of opportunity to step into the vacuum and usurp the role of Beirut.

Nature helps here: a flat unremarkable landscape assists efficiency. taxation and customs-related benefits such as 100 per cent foreign ownership and zero tax on sales. The Burj al-Arab is the world’s tallest hotel. Everything in Dubai has to be the biggest. an area seven times the size of Manhattan.4 million passengers in 2005. The Burj Dubai is intended to be the world’s tallest building with the world’s fastest elevator. Dubai’s Media City. The last on its own will consist of 440km2 of water and land developments. providing investors with an advanced business infrastructure and comprehensive platform to create value. at 18m/s (40 mph) overtaking Taipei’s 101 office tower at . which will eventually combine all required transport modes with a logistics zone with ample space for warehousing and other logistics services. Developing the Emirates airline. Dubai Logistics City is the world’s first integrated logistics and multi-modal transport platform under a single customs-bonded and free-zone area. The Dubai Metro project due for completion in 2009 is another element. making it the world’s largest airport and overtaking Atlanta. Spread over 25km2 it is the first phase of the huge World Central project. Dubai Knowledge Village. The goal was to become the logical place to do business in the Middle East. shops and holiday resorts. which handled 88. Dubaitech. with Dubai airport as its hub. UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’. The World archipelago and the Dubai Waterfront are the largest manmade offshore structures in the world. profits and personal income guaranteed by law for a period of 50 years. Dubai Internet City. built by the Dubai government to boost the UAE’s media foothold. is the core precondition of the overall strategy. The list continues. currently the world’s busiest airport. it ‘has changed the preconceived concept of summer in the UAE and the region from sluggish to an exciting season of fun and entertainment for all under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Jebel Ali airport currently under construction seeks to handle some 120 million passengers per annum by 2025. housing villas. All are attempts to build clusters of expertise by getting companies to relocate. These are free economic zones which allow companies a number of ownership.7 The land reclamation projects such as The Palm.Creative Cities for the World 343 The elements of Dubai’s launch on to the world stage are increasingly well known and trumpeted in travel brochures and inflight magazines. The Festival of Shopping started in 1996. hotels.

world regions and activity preference’. Emirate Hills. This taps into the increased tendency for people to be more attracted to the simulated than to the real thing – reality appears to be too much to cope with.5 mph).9 It is twice the size of Disneyworld and its ‘Great Dubai Wheel’ will be the world’s largest observation wheel. a retail and entertainment world. being created as a collection of idyllic communities: The Lakes.344 The Art of City-Making 16. ‘The Earth has a new centre. Furthermore you can live next door to Julio Iglesias! ‘Julio felt that The Villa will help spread Spanish culture in the region. Aqua Dubai will boast 60 water features. a sports city. Part of the complex is co-branded with Armani to reinforce the fashion statement… and Dubai Mall is about to be the world’s largest mall. It will include replicas of the Eiffel Tower (70 feet taller than the original) and the Taj Mahal (one-and-a-half times bigger than the original). an attractions and experience world. The Aldea – you can rest assured you are becoming part of a unique community.’ claims one of its slogans. . an eco-tourism world. age groups. One development is The Villa. The Springs. The Ponderosa. and a downtown.83m/s (37. across genders. This Gulf version of Las Vegas and Orlando will have six themed areas: a themed leisure and vacation world. described as: a totally unique concept which offers you the opportunity to design your ultimate Spanish home… You can combine a relaxed and serene lifestyle with the Spanish countryside experience… Just imagine the view from your terrace stretching over a lush green landscape and glistening water features reflective of the Mediterranean letting you experience the beauty and tranquillity of Spanish living… Wherever you decide to build your unique villa – The Haciendas. and we hope that it will. It is a vast entertainment complex growing out of the desert and claimed to be ‘a destination of extraordinary vision’ with ‘an endless mix of day and night activities’ that would appeal to ‘the world’s widest tourism segments. The Meadows. The residential developments mirror the imaginary worlds.’10 Other developments allude to the virtues of Tuscany … in Dubai.8 Dubailand is a central plank in attracting 15 million visitors by 2010 and 40 million by 2015 – a dramatic rise from the projected 6 million in 2006. that is.

Impossible is a word we live with and defy every day at EMAAR and actualize into the word possible… We constantly strive for perfection. with 65 per cent Asians. Lest anyone doubts the intentions. which focuses on turning merely competitive advantages into decisive advantages that will neutralize.Creative Cities for the World 345 Yet ‘Dubai is ready for the ultimate lifestyle’ and encourages you. Indeed the ‘Dubai-style underclass of disenfranchised immigrants’12 will do the UAE no good. only 18 per cent are locals. an indication of that chilling striving for success can be detected in Dubai developer EMAAR’s annual report of 2004: Competition is a companion of success… The possibility and probability of others replicating EMAAR’s success is a foregone conclusion… Competition has intensified and short-term advantages are no longer sufficient to ensure the survival of our company. mostly low-paid workers from India and Pakistan who keep the country going. In the ferocious war for profits. marginalize and even punish rivals… The challenge is not what we know. Dubai leads global cities in the proportion of foreign.11 If this is the best the world can offer it is interesting they end up with a controlled theme park. but how fast we can learn. Seventy- . ‘to be part of a vibrant community of like-minded people who share the same hunger for success’. Compromise is not a word in our vocabulary… We believe that our greatest achievement is not the tallest towers or largest malls we native-born population. Where will this lead to in 20 years’ time? Of Dubai’s population of just over 1 million. Many Asians have lived in the city for more than a generation but have no citizenship rights. We need capabilities to become different as well as better. winning requires relentless strategic execution. Branding is an important way of ensuring that the extra value that has been created is perceived by customers. Let’s look at the flip side. the globalized corporate worker. but the close-knit communities we develop… We searched the world and put together the very best in their fields. such as to change our focus from the speed of expansion to the speed of our response to customer service. 13 per cent ex-pat Arabs and 4 per cent ex-pat Europeans.

000 workers. where five workers were recently killed in an accident. Unsurprisingly there are hordes of prostitutes coming from Eastern Europe Tourists could spend weeks in Dubai without ever meeting a native of the city. dirty tenements housing more than 150. subcontinental urban life.00) and trade unions are forbidden in the United Arab Emirates. Using data from 2001. This has sparked rioting at the Burj Araq site in 2006 and at the new airport site. If Dubai were isolated from the UAE and 2006 data were used. the UAE has the biggest ecological footprint. its lifestyle is likely to require ten planets’ equivalent. garbage disappears from streets. Reports suggest workers ‘typically live eight to a room. Sonapur is an unwitting importation of a rather less glamorous. which means that five-and-a-half planets would be needed to sustain a UAE lifestyle applied globally. from Qatar and Oman to Kuwait. making it very difficult to return home. .84 (US$4.346 The Art of City-Making one per cent of the population are men. And a story that is growing concerns rumours that the whole edifice is in part financed by money-laundering. Millions of foreign workers have flooded Gulf nations. Yet consumption does not mean there are no limits. a collection of run-down.9 global hectares per person. with massive imports of low-wage workers from South Asia and the Philippines. You will be served and driven around by immigrants and the physical fabric is being built primarily by immigrants.60) a day and labourers £2. restaurants are overflowing with delicacies and new products materialize all around us as we are induced into buying more and still more. sending home a portion of their salary to their families.13 Others report that their salaries have been withheld to pay back loans. Most of these workers are forced to give up their passports upon entering Dubai and elsewhere. food appears in supermarkets. whom they don’t see for years at a time’. Therein lies another story beyond Dubai’s shimmering skyscrapers. Indeed rioting is spreading to the whole region.14 This ecological overshoot can go unnoticed since there seem to be no apparent shortages. Consider too that the UAE’s ‘ecological footprint’ is the worst of all countries in the world. outweighing indigenous populations.34 (US$7. Water flows from taps. The limits are simply masked by not seeing the wider picture. As Dubai has wittingly transposed Spain on to its land. making them little more than indentured servants. There’s a good chance they live in Sonapur. at 9. Press reports in 2006 indicate that skilled carpenters earn £4.

Dubai is not creative. Kuwait. Some initiatives. firststeps@DIC is a facility within Dubai Internet City that allows companies to lease shortterm office space while exploring business and market opportunities. namely creativity for the world with an ethical foundation that harnesses widespread talent. Leadership has been clever in using every trick in the urban revitalizer’s book. the unequalled power of its rulers. albeit devastating to the environment. What has been achieved? Dubai. the 2002 decree allowing foreigners to buy homes and apartments to branding. why did Dubai not try to become the most ecologically sustainable city in the world. rather than the least? Why did it not become a model of what city-making could be like in the use of innovative new . Dubai’s financial resources. can be considered inspiring in logistical terms. with a contained sense of buzz – the familiar in the apparently unfamiliar. from tax incentives. in a city where temperatures can reach can reach 50°C. Dubai attracted the International Cricket Council to recreate their headquarters in Dubai.Creative Cities for the World 347 Behind the UAE.4°C all year round. Given its leaders’ proven track record of boldness and willingness to be inventive and visionary. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5star maximum. a trading port and backwater pearl-diving village until the late 1950s. For instance. the US and Australia are the major footprint makers. the free sunshine beaming down on them. the emblematic home of cricket which had hosted the ICC for 95 years. such as creating 800km of new waterfront. Crucially Dubai has understood the inherent insecurity and conservatism of the corporate executives they are trying to attract and their desire for safety and certainty. The Ski Dubai centre expends thousands of watts on keeping its indoor climate at -1. More than 6000 tonnes of snow cover an area the size of three football fields and 30 tonnes of fresh supplies will be added nightly to maintain a depth of 70cm. has found innovative new ways of reinventing its role as middleman. Yet in the terms in which I define creativity in the Art of CityMaking. parting from Lords in London. One can see why when Dubai’s new US$275 million Ski Dome is a ‘monument to ecological folly’ and has perfect conditions every day.15 Equally the Burj al-Arab’s self-characterization as a ‘7-star’ hotel is considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole and an attempt to outdo a number of other hotels which claim ‘6-star’ status.

It will be like no other destination in the Middle East. women and men. family oriented environment. globally sustaining values. Let us not forget that an age of creativity requires conversation. This shock could come from many places – from religious. where the Pearl-Qatar will be a secure. Qatar is one.348 The Art of City-Making energy-saving materials. disagreement and inevitable dissent that is leavened by democratic processes where all people. have a chance to participate fully. not rarefied gated communities. consensus. it will be . Why has Dubai fallen for the fake experience rather than the real? How come it was not confident or courageous enough to seduce the corporate class it is attracting to its hub with something bordering on the authentic where locals and incomers could co-create a new Dubai identity not merely based on brand names? Indeed some locals privately wonder how long Maktoum’s miracle can continue – and whether his unique society would survive a major political or economic shock. notions of local distinctiveness and what it means to establish creative environments. debate. Modelled on the best of the Mediterranean. democratic pressures unleashed by needing to maintain openness to the world or ecological disaster to a global downturn in tourism. Is dissent allowed in Dubai? Can women be equal in Dubai? Only then can one begin to discuss the comprehensive creativity of a place. reactionary zeal. Imitating the Dubai approach Dubai has inspired others to follow who will build on its experience and take it further. building techniques and new eco-design? Why did they not follow the lead of eco-skyscraper builders like Ken Yeung to reduce air-conditioning needs and to create natural ventilation? Why does constructing a city mean treating the workforce as if they were second-class citizens? Why does Dubai think that striving for 15 million visitors has to be central to its positioning? Could they not have soft-pedalled on that and still achieved the objective of being a hub? How come that by consulting the ‘best experts in the world in their field’ Dubai ends up with extensive theme park experiences and residential quarters that barely have anything to do with Arabia and hardly reflect or build upon the historic inventiveness of Arabs at all? Perhaps Dubai is being advised by experts with little sense of larger. where difference means innovation.

The tower will be composed of 7 vertical villages which will consist of hotels. is an exciting retail. hotels and entertainment villages. the ‘dynamic hub’ of Porto Arabia.Creative Cities for the World 349 the Arabian Riviera (Riviera Arabia) and will offer a lifestyle reminiscent of France and Italy in the heart of the Arabian Gulf. dining and cultural experience of incredible sophistication. Dubai’s EMAAR is building King Abdullah Economic City (!) near Jeddah along the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. The Financial District. with its centrepiece tower.000 people and cost US$85 billion. which at US$26 billion is considered relatively small scale.16 The City of Silk in Kuwait will. The entire city will be surrounded by an emerald belt which will contain ponds. be located on the northern shore of Kuwait Bay. Nowhere is the Riviera more aptly captured than in this Arabian Piazza – a blend of cosmopolitan chic and refined good taste – a place to meet and watch the world go by or to browse some of the world’s most revered brands. with huge skyscrapers. including a seaport. residences and entertainment facilities’. a historical museum and an arts centre. The city will have four main districts. refined and conducive to the highest standards of living. ‘inspired by the 1001 nights story and the desert plant life. a financial island and a residential area. it is hoped. offices.17 The Dubai model is self-replicating. The Cultural District will be located on a peninsula with a centre for research on ancient artefacts. The Pearl-Qatar will have 40 kilometres of reclaimed coastline and 20 kilometres of pristine beaches. an industrial zone for manufacturing and logistics. lakes and parks which will ensure that no one is more than a couple of steps away from the emerald belt. the 1001m-high Mubarak Tower. It will take 25 years to complete and will house 700. It will include an Environmental Research Centre and an extended network of universities and a health resort. It is divided into six zones. Porto Arabia is a continental marina with a heart which beats to the rhythm of Arabia … It captures the vibrant sophistication of the Riviera. Colourful. Piazza Arabia. The Entertainment District will contain resorts. a resort zone. The Environmental District will be located at the heart of the city as part of the Bird Reserve for birds migrating from Africa to Central Asia. . an education zone.

electronic sensors in cars seamlessly monitor when you enter the charging zone or car parks and the city is clean and safe. a port-city and regional hub. You still hear much about fines for jaywalking. Often the same people that sneer hanker after the sense of security Singapore offers. Yet projects can fail. wireless internet connections are nearly ubiquitous. The route into the city was the first in the world to be completely tree-lined and boulevarded and it exudes a contagious calmness. no fundamental break in its remarkable economic progress … the government. Your baggage has arrived on the airport belt before you have cleared immigration. ‘the world is its hinterland’. Things work: the metro is on time. There is a relative absence of an overarching ancestral culture and traditions. rather. has experienced no real crisis. intellect. Yet there are dilemmas for a city brought up and built up with a culture of nation-building. which attempted to lodge Japan on to the global map. determination. the ban on chewing gum. which launched itself by a deliberate strategy out of abject post-colonial poverty into firstworld affluence within one generation’. These constitute positive first and last impressions. national security and social discipline. even though Singapore is so far the ‘most extraordinary case of economic development in the history of the world. like Dubai or Hong Kong.’18 Yet how will Singapore cope moving into the creative age? Singapore. has sought to keep ahead of the action. The West sneers at its apparent conservatism: haircuts for long-haired male arrivals. such as Osaka’s Minatu-ku. conscious that this is a city-state completely dependent on its global trading function. so far. But the day-to-day reality is that you don’t feel a heavyhanded government presence. Shanghai has followed the example. clockwork efficiency and a well-behaved citizenry.350 The Art of City-Making Can the city boom continue? One is reminded of the Japanese mega-projects in the 1980s. Is Singapore creative? Singapore has a reputation for cleanliness. A country-island-city-nation-state. That in itself is an act of creation. although when swept along their success can seem inevitable. It has a dominant one-party government that is interventionist and a strong emphasis on political stability and economic development.19 . is an exceptional case. ‘Singapore. littering and spitting. strategy and focus. moving the economy out of basic manufacturing into high-technology production and finally into advanced services. it has no hinterland or.

The reality is that it probably has regional rather than global drawing power. it seeks to ‘entertain. whose ‘excellence in multi-lingual and multi-cultural art forms should be promoted’ made it unique. In moving away from advanced manufacturing. creative. whereas in Dubai ‘decisive advantages … will neutralize. improve the general quality of life. So responded PM Goh Chok Tong – then first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence – to the Report of the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts in April 1989. The Esplanade is seen as the ‘star in the firmament’ and was intended to be an icon comparable to the Sydney Opera House. The most visible accomplishments since 1989 have been the Singapore Art Museum (1996). the customs and the psyche of a people’ as they ‘give the nation a unique character. Indeed.20 In the Singapore way this vision of a culturally vibrant society ‘whose people are well-informed. Only five concert . which is now about to move. After 30 years of planning and 6 years of construction. educate. heritage and cultural scene in Singapore. as the world has switched emphasis to the East. strengthen the social bond and contribute to our tourist and entertainment sectors’. its Chinese–English bilingualism may become its key advantage. marginalize and even punish rivals’. sensitive and gracious’ was to be achieved by 1999. Singapore identified international gatherings and linked performance and exhibition spaces as key to projecting an image of world-class style and attractiveness.Creative Cities for the World 351 Historical background We have reached a stage in our economic and national development when we should devote greater attention and resources to culture and the arts in Singapore. in contrast to Dubai: the word ‘gracious’ appears. Its main thrust affirmed that ‘culture and the arts mould the way of life. It highlighted that Singapore’s multicultural heritage. the Singapore Film Commission (1998) and the Esplanade (2002) – a multipurpose performance centre. the Asian Civilizations Museum (1997). engage. and inspire’. broaden our mind and deepen our sensitivities. Note here the tone. That report was widely regarded as a watershed in the development of the arts. Culture and the arts add to the vitality of a nation and enhance the quality of life.

Today. It houses Singapore’s first performing arts library and an arts-centric shopping centre’. One could ask: How about 50 more small projects instead of one big structure? Which would generate more creativity potential? The Renaissance City project22 By 1999 many commentators argued that the emphasis should shift from ‘hardware’ to ‘software’ or what they called ‘heartware’. ‘its two “lanterns of light” sparkle upon Singapore’s marina. It claims to ‘herald the entrance of a cultural renaissance’. innovative city. Tokyo. In the evening. in-flight magazines extol the virtues of Singapore’s ‘bohemian edge’. targeting world cities – London. It began by undertaking an audit of facilities. comprehensive re-examination in Singapore of how the arts and cultural scene would fit in. A potentially enhanced role for culture and the arts in the future development of Singapore’s society and economy was foreseen. But there was not a holistic.23 The city state began a vigorous benchmarking process. Shanghai. It noted Singapore was getting creative and even ‘funky’. the New York Times on 25 July 1999 described the Singapore arts scene as having gone ‘from invisible to explosive’. Whereas Singapore was generally written off as a sterile cultural desert. Furthermore. activities and arts groups and assessed audience profiles. Hong . urban planning and technology were being addressed. Various government agencies had already mapped out plans to ensure that the strategic concerns of Singapore in areas such as education. big structures swallow resources at an exorbitant rate. The Renaissance City project sought to fill that gap. The Esplanade’s two outer shells resemble durians. a prickly fruit loved by Singaporeans. New York. It noted a general burgeoning of activity. Time Magazine’s cover story for the week of 19 July 1999 featured the loosening up of Singapore – ‘Singapore Lightens Up’. Containers on their own do not guarantee creative content.352 The Art of City-Making halls in the world possess its state-of-the-art acoustic features.21 This phase of cultural development focused on traditional cultural institutions and approaches without linking them to the underlying economic and social dynamics that could project Singapore as a creative. especially if they are institutionally focused and without links to the informal sectors where much creativity starts. with its society transformed ‘in ways that until recently seemed impossible’.

Barcelona. rather than including social innovation and creativity in terms of organizational culture. Creativity will move into the centre of our economic life… Prosperity for advanced. This means that originality and entrepreneurship will be increasingly prized. process and synthesize knowledge through constant value innovation. the notion of ‘buzz’ and vibrancy in creating the intangible value of fashionability that needs to be backed up by real substance.Creative Cities for the World 353 Kong. As Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in 1996. Austin and Melbourne. The benchmarking indicators used tended to define talent in narrower and more quantitative terms. we are not in terms of culture. Singapore had recognized this encroaching reality relatively early. developed nations will depend on creativity. This process highlighted the ‘war for talent’. our success will depend on our ability to absorb. such as numbers of arts organizations or ‘creative class’ professionals. ‘While we are in the top league of cities in terms of economic indicators. activities.’ Later the Renaissance City Report noted: We will need this culture of creativity to permeate the lives of every Singaporean… This will have to take place in our schools and in our everyday living envi- . productivity and industry if the goal is to get beyond hype. It noted instead that London had double the amount and New York three times as many arts facilities. This might be the presence of world-class institutes of higher learning and research laboratories. The 1991 Strategic Economic Plan singled out the need to nurture creativity and innovation in Singapore’s education system as a key strategy to realize its vision. the Renaissance City report concluded: In the knowledge age. Drawing on thinkers around the world. ‘Creativity cannot be confined to a small elite group of Singaporeans… In today’s rapidly changing world.’ Culture was seen as the next step and competitive tool in urban growth. … more on the ability to generate ideas that can then be sold to the world. the whole workforce needs problemsolving skills. so that every worker can continuously add value through his efforts. performances and expenditure. Yet the link to developing the city’s cultural capital only happened at the end of that decade.

multi-disciplinary learning. especially where there is an emphasis on students producing their own work as well as appreciating the work of others. As an instance of how Singapore’s traditions are etched into its mindset. They believe their scope for action remains contained. innovation.’ The vision was a projection of the type of Singapore person. The arts.354 The Art of City-Making ronment… We have to be wary that we do not merely equate creativity with a narrow form of problemsolving. socio-economic and cultural vibrancy that we are trying to capture. but this has not yet occurred. Business-friendly administration and facilities are necessary but not sole guarantees of attracting talent. Their focus is on how the . The historical mindset that worked so well for the past has not adjusted. stated precisely where these might go. society and nation that Singapore could aspire to. For this. Rather. can be a dynamic means of facilitating creative abilities. this issue is at least being openly discussed. in approving the initiative to set up creative quarters. The notion of a creative city implies a level of openness that potentially threatens Singapore’s traditions of more top–down action. a cultural ‘buzz’ is also needed: ‘By calling for a Renaissance Singapore. Nevertheless. Yet the cultural community remains worried that creative capital will be driven by a purely economically driven model. The Renaissance City strategy implied a completely different way of operating. this is not an attempt to replicate the conditions of post-medieval Europe. The local artistic community is especially critical of the emphasis on importing world stars to perform in Singapore without a parallel focus on developing indigenous cultural creativity. whether it be in culture and the arts or in technology. This is a society where people are at ease with their identity and one which encourages experimentation and innovation. It now appears that the idea of a ‘creative culture’ and ‘creative capital’ is being taken seriously. From rhetoric to reality The Renaissance City concept was theoretically strong and many subscribed to its intentions. even to the extent of examining fundamental issues such as censorship laws. Such an approach would encourage virtuous circles of ‘arts development and business formation loops’ that improve both the economic and artistic environment. it is the spirit of creativity. the sciences and education. the deputy prime minister.

mature trees and winding roads have been preserved to allow ‘pause for thought and quiet contemplation in the midst of technology and commerce’. This project seeks to learn the global lessons of how to establish a creative milieu by combining hard and soft components and applying this to a series of clusters in a park-like environment. engineering. global branding and the talent agenda – and its effective focus is within the Asia-Pacific region.Ro. relax and learn. They call this a ‘DoBe (livework) and play lifestyle and … an exceptional place for exceptional people to live and work. In addition there is an incubator zone called Phase Z.Creative Cities for the World 355 cultural ecology of Singapore can develop more deeply – an approach that takes time rather than the ‘sledgehammer approach’ that solely addresses hard infrastructure. or short car journey. whose global resonance grows daily. Where you can inspire and be inspired to push the boundaries of knowledge and turn ideas into groundbreaking innovations’. In seeking to reach the next level of strategic global positioning. biotechnology. It is conceived as a place where imagination turns into action: . Singapore has applied the recognized repertoire of culture and renewal – icon structures. is well connected by the metro and other public transport. Between the high-rise office spaces sit hotels. It is aware too of Seoul’s ambitions to create a digital media city and the intentions of Dubai. The area.000 people will work. infocoms. Green spaces. It continues to scan world trends. chemicals. Technology and Research. and currently aims not to slip behind Shanghai. which is aiming to be the events capital of Asia. a more than US$1 billion investment. Coordinated by the Agency for Science. Notions of ‘soft infrastructure’ are being taken more seriously. pharmaceuticals. corporate retreat areas and dining and entertainment facilities. this 200-hectare zone has two focal points: Biopolis and Fusionopolis/Media Hub. takes you past 42 older. seeking to be a global nodal point. 20 minutes from the centre. medical devices and healthcare services – all with shared research facilities where upwards of 10. The aim is to give contrast. conference facilities. Singapore has always been strong on developing physical infrastructure. A strong residential component is interwoven and from the more assertive new developments a long meander. its latest initiative is ‘One-North’. which focuses on eight clusters: electronics. and stay on a par with Hong Kong. smaller buildings and heritage sites. character and a sense of continuity.

the cheaply priced incubator and company startup zone. Helios. Genome. combining public and private research institutes and commercial lettings. high performance computing. by contrast. It lies close to the National University of Singapore. human feel. Matrix and Centros. Phase Z. with 60 office areas. Fusionopolis. Proteos.356 The Art of City-Making Imagine an environment bounded only by imagination itself. where you the tenant feel you can shape its future. bringing talents. expertise and organizations to create innovations and breakthroughs that are in a class of their own. aims at an ‘uptown’ vibrancy: Embark on a pilgrimage of learning and discovery at the Fusionopolis@one-north… Fusionopolis will be a vibrant and exciting place for infocom and media industries to come together. a data storage institute and digital media research centres. Z. National University Hospital and the Singapore Science Parks. such as the Bioinformatics and Genome Institutes or GlaxoSmithKline. has a far more zany feel. It includes the world’s first facility for large-scale production of stem cells.Ro. Molecular Acupuncture Ltd or John Hopkins’ Division of Biomedical Sciences. researchers and technopreneurs from around the world. work and be inspired by leading scientists. It also has an arts programme. which bills itself as ‘soft art meets hard sciences’.25 Here there are institutes for micro electronics. Welcome to One-North – a vibrant place and a lifestyle choice for the most creative minds of the new economy.24 Biopolis aims to be a centre for biomedical sciences in Asia and the world. This is part of an attempt to transform Singapore into a global media city and exchange and financing nodal point with the help of a Media Development Agency. Where you can live. Bright yellow Lego-like container constructions are clustered around a gathering space. An interesting growing signage collec- . Contrasted to the corporate structures of Biopolis around it. The names of the buildings indicate the interests with their ancient Greek associations – Nanos. Where anything is possible.Ro has an imperfect. Where groundbreaking ideas are born from a stroll in the park and conventions challenged over coffee at a sidewalk cafe.

Dilemmas for Singapore The strengths of Singapore are known: strong supporting factors such as good IT and telecommunications infrastructure. having a cosmopolitan and well-educated population. Others schemes exist to attract foreigners to Singapore: We foster and nurture world-class scientific talent … and aspiring scientists who dare to race with the world’s best towards the very limits of modern science. its closeness to the huge Asian market and its new focus on ‘translational’ research which stimulates collaboration across disciplines. Yet a unique design palate could be instigated at this juncture which combines the need to build high with opportunities to individualize and continually transform living and working spaces and which also projects an eco-design concern. Together with scientists we will build up our intellectual capital and our scientific capabilities. though. though these buildings’ more handmade. Key to Singapore’s success is the talent attraction strategy whereby bright younger individuals and established experts are lured through scholarships and financial inducements as well as a conducive regulatory and business environment and hopefully a ‘buzz’. and ‘imaginative space’ – ‘the limitless possibilities and opportunities of the human imagination and endeavour’. Its problem areas are its small local market.Ro to proliferate. The investment can run to SGD600. high costs of land. being a multicultural society with a bilingual policy. Land prices in Singapore are far too valuable for structures like Z. That will boost the economic competitiveness of Singapore. the relative weakness of soft infrastructure invest- . scholarships are available to more than 500 of Singapore’s best and brightest to fund their PhDs at top US and European universities. For instance.26 They see this as happening in ‘real space’ – the physical location and resources of One-North.Creative Cities for the World 357 tion of past tenants stands tall like a piece of public art. organic feel will be missed as somewhat lifeless corporate structures take their place.000 (£210. the space will disappear. ‘virtual space’ – the communities of interest linked through state-of-the-art connectivity.000) per person in return for a guarantee of six years’ service to public institutions. Sadly. a well-developed arts and cultural infrastructure.

The attractions of the ‘pink dollar’ should also not be underestimated. for example. Hence. For four years from 2001. a conservative and traditional society. Some of the revellers were cross-dressed. Let’s use attitudes towards gays as a weathervane for Singapore’s tolerance dilemma. In April 2005. Patrons were also seen using the toilets of the opposite sex. by and large. The annual public gay Nation Party held on Nation Day on 8 August was emblematic of that change. males wearing skirts. . Singapore consented to a more liberal policy towards gay lifestyles. While police do not discriminate against them … the police also recognize that Singapore is still. such as that of Richard Florida. the licensing division faxed a rejection of the application to hold Nation 05 – the Nation Party had become Asia’s most acclaimed gay and lesbian party – citing the event to be ‘contrary to public interest’. The latter may have an effect on attracting certain types of talent. stirred by research.358 The Art of City-Making ment and the perception that Singapore is a highly regulated place which is not very tolerant of divergent views. The events were sponsored by Fortune 100 companies like Motorola and Subaru. the police cannot approve any application for an event which goes against the moral values of a large majority of Singaporeans. Yet the gay community was shocked when in early December 2004 the licence to hold an event called Snowball 04 was rejected: Observations at a previous Ball … showed that patrons of the same gender were seen openly kissing and intimately touching each other. showing that cities with an active gay community had more creative and productive societies.27 Some associate the decision by Britain’s Warwick University to abandon plans for a Singapore campus with worries about academic freedom and Singapore’s stance against the gay community. The behaviour of these patrons suggested that most of them were probably gays/lesbians and this was thus an event almost exclusively for gays/lesbians… Several letters of complaint were received from some patrons about the openly gay acts at the Ball… The police recognize that there are some Singaporeans with gay tendencies.

the setting up of a Crazy Horse from Paris and creating the Clark Quay development where tacky.’ noted Stuart Koe. The Singapore leadership acknowledged the downsides and promised there would be safeguards to limit the social impact of casino gambling.V. which combine casinos within a leisure resort.Creative Cities for the World 359 Singapore’s loss has been Thailand’s gain. who runs Fridae. The government wants education services to account for 5 per cent of gross domestic product. especially from China. restrictions. they promise: the creation of an experientially compelling entertainment destination at Singapore’s Marina Bay … a unique opportunity to extend our popular media brands and assets into a whole different realm… The development presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to create multiple flagship stores housing the world’s top luxury fashion brands within one unified shopping and entertainment environment. ‘Singapore has a way to go in maturing as a society. and increasing tax revenues. For example. with a cluster of top universities like Harvard and MIT and a regional hub for higher sexist outfits like 1NiteStand Bar or Hooters go about their business unquestioned and especially attract the ex-pat crowd. Another dimension of the easy money over substance debate was the decision to develop two ‘integrated resorts’ in Marina South and Sentosa. Fridae. where Thailand has a long history culturally of accepting gay lifestyles.29 . an event organizer. within the next decade. family members of a patron may block them from entering and gambling. Further evidence of relaxation was extended licensing As the large US casino and retail developers hover over Singapore. now stylishly renamed Nation. there are. such as restrictions on admitting the local population into the casinos. The very high entrance fee of SGD100 per entry or SGD2000 every year are prohibitive. up from 3.6 per cent. Thailand. transplanted the annual Nation Party. however.28 Some are concerned that the issue might set back efforts by the city state to attract top Western universities in its quest to become a ‘global schoolhouse’ and ideas of Singapore becoming the ‘Boston of the East’. allowing bar-top dancing. Aimed at attracting tourists. A system of exclusions includes not being allowed to extend credit to the local population. to Phuket.

360 The Art of City-Making In the process. It is more relaxed to operate in comfort zones and with more control than in unknown territory. In fact it would have probably been creative for Singapore to have said ‘no’ to IRs. which makes being a ‘happy robot’ more appealing. be held in check by physical. The latter both increasingly disappointed with the results and effects. yet does it also engage with difference? Its wish to pre-empt the consequences of risk and focus on security and predictability can curtail its possibilities. Does an integrated resort contribute to the creativity potential of Singapore? The pre-digested brand experiences proposed offer little if anything to Singaporeans to shape and create things authored by them rather than a foreign corporation. Singapore stands at a cusp. The advanced industrial model it excels in implies instrumental rationality. And it is more than competent at replicating already existing innovations. Do integrated resorts (IRs) attract the creatives? Probably not. logistic capabilities. However. It accepts its multifarious diversity. The creative mind is open or closed as appropriate to context. even a fear of insight. Indeed they might repel them. buildings and the technology to match. Singapore therefore oscillates between constraint and creativity. as it would have been for Hong Kong to have said ‘no’ to Disneyland or Osaka to have rejected Universal Studios. Does it want to be a ‘tourist city’. It is better at creating the containers rather than the contents. the trick is to continually explore new possibilities rather than reproduce that which has been done before. Singapore’s strengths embody its weaknesses. of course. It has a desire to plan creativity as against creating the conditions within which creativity can occur. But the virtue of a creative idea can only be measured if it is realized. the hardware rather than the software. a ‘fantasy city’ or a ‘creative city’? While not completely mutually exclusive. other ‘cultural brands’ like the Centre Pompidou are being brought into play to project an element of class. Uncertainty in this context is positive but is stifled in a risk-averse culture. The city’s pragmatism may lead to . The IR concept may indeed decrease the city state’s creativity potential as the creative cutting edge looks elsewhere for places to explore and discover. Perhaps there is a sense of angst. they are stark choices as the trajectories for each development path are different. Such divergent exploration will. metros. It aims at replicability and clear process. This makes the city state good at urban hardware. linear and convergent thinking. It will either be possible to replicate new ideas and projects or not.

although often ports can be open to the world and closed to their hinterland. Malaga. its major cities can bring together diverging interests in the wider area and unite them for larger. In both cases this was done with strategic verve and long-term thinking. such as in the IR debate. But history can hold a city back if it rests on its laurels and focuses on the past. Bilbao. Franco had despised Barcelona and Catalonia. There was much to catch up on. Both Barcelona and Bilbao had history to fall back on. Yet it does not guarantee a strategic. so losing out on the broader accounting Singapore’s values and ideals imply. under which Spanish society had been extremely conservative. As part of Catalonia or the Basque country. reshaping the city to 21st-century needs became urgent. Are Barcelona and Bilbao creative? Barcelona Spanish cities like Barcelona. Being unique and distinctive was a survival issue. in 1975 led to a transition period. 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. a distinctive approach that was culturally their own was a matter of pride. . For these two in particular. The liberation from Franco and transition to democracy began a liberalization of values. the completion of which was marked with the victory of the socialist Partido Socialista Obrero Español in October 1982. Significantly. so there was a massive backlog of required investments. Barcelona and Bilbao have inspired each other. of ideas and of potential. Being port cities helped – traditionally the necessary openness of ports fosters ideas exchange and mutual influence. Seville and Valencia have perhaps more to teach us about creative physical urban reinvention than cities in any other country in Europe or elsewhere. History helps understand creativity potential and can help provide the backbone. the recognition of globalization’s power and the need to restructure their economies. The break from the Franco era. being regions that wanted to assert their identity against the dominace of Castilia was key. In the context of re-found freedoms. imaginative response. regional goals. design was significant. Most obviously in terms of city-making. energy and motivation.Creative Cities for the World 361 a narrow economic calculus.

as in ‘Barcelona design’ (Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair being the most well known). A seismic change indeed. These approaches have since been copied by other major openings. pimps. As an instance. In Barcelona and Catalonia design is not a recent fad. The difference between Barcelona as a design capital and others such as Milan and Montreal is that the former more strongly seeks to create its identity as a designed work of art. gypsies and thieves. whose design aesthetic was far removed from Mickey Mouse imagery. beginning with the lighting of the Olympic Flame with a flaming arrow fired by paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo. public space and its link to place-making and cultural management. the 1992 Olympics mascot symbol was a sheepdog called Cobi. From that it is a short step to architectural design. Antoni Gaudi. drug dealers.362 The Art of City-Making Why is Barcelona considered part of the creative pantheon? Let’s remember that to discuss Barcelona globally in terms of style 30 years ago would have seemed very odd. from its architec- . Design has deeply etched roots growing from the needs of the industrial revolution applied to products and services and the cultural influences stemming from Barcelona’s port status. Few places are design centres and even fewer exude a sense of difference and therefore the seemingly authentic. Equally. Barcelona is one. All this reinforces Barcelona’s resonance. living side by side with prostitutes. The city landscape for foreigners was more dominated by images such as those from Jean Genet’s A Thief’s Journal. Others include Domenech i Montaner and Josep Puig. who invented an original architectural palette. which describes how he scraped a living as a rent boy and thief in the streets of Barrio Chino in the 1920s and 1930s. Catalan distinctiveness is key. The spectacle included a staging of the mythical birth of Barcelona from the sea. The important fact is that the city has been able to reassert its design standing today to the extent that the city itself is synonymous with design. and that capitalism needs this design experience to sell its ongoing dreams of a better life. Few tourists would have considered visiting this once rather run-down industrial centre. Some say we live in the age of design and style. the opening ceremony set a different benchmark for the public spectacle. In Barcelona I want to highlight three elements: design. stands as the best known example. It has been to Barcelona’s advantage that the aesthetic experience of daily life is now wanted by everyone in every sphere of life. complete with ocean battles between sea monsters and humans. transvestites.

new beaches and neighbourhoods were created. graphic. Catalonian (and Mediterranean) culture and the climate all play a part. two personalities also shaped our current view of the city strongly. Yet worries are on the horizon. museums and associations. The Eixample by Cerda. street furniture and interior design to shops. From 1980 to 1984 he was responsible . Some say the city is too concerned with design: ‘Everything has to be specially designed. Yet although a city is rarely made by individuals on their own. starting from the presence of designers across the disciplines of environmental. The preparation for the games from 1984 onwards and the resources they brought to bear became a tool to reshape his city.’30 Barcelona’s urban design standing nevertheless has strong historical roots to draw on. strengthens the city’s echo.Creative Cities for the World 363 ture. The first was Pasqual Maragall. in spite of their beauty. It stretches across transport design – Volvo and Volkswagen have a strong design presence – to household goods and urban design. and the present merely serves to maintain the past for groups like tourists. This is not a coincidence. but not much more. It includes public and private research centres. product. mayor from 1982 to 1997. bars and restaurants. The convergence of the design ecosystem. They can’t leave anything un-designed and ordinary – perhaps Valencia is the place to watch. as were a series of pocket parks. In the ‘living city’ current creativity is the dominant feature. events and festivals. design in schools and tertiary institutions. The city was reconnected with its waterfront by submerging a highway. even the notepaper or the invites to an event. This is what many feel about cities such as Venice and Florence. putting Barcelona on the international map. The Olympics came in 1992 (to Madrid’s great annoyance). An essentially ‘dead city’ is one where the past overwhelms the present. Oriol Bohigas was a second important figure. The strategy was in essence urban physical transformation driven by big events. Barcelona has become a cultural icon in itself – one of the few places where the city is a living work of art as distinct from a dead one. who helped kickstart Barcelona’s international re-emergence. They may bask in their beauty and inspire. although not universally liked by everyone because of its rigour and monotony. still provides a frame for Barcelona’s urban life on which its diversity can play itself out. awards. Many people agree that Barcelona has one of the best street lives of any larger city. interior. digital and fashion design. an example of ‘ideal urban planning’.

because we were absolutely against the idea of master plans.364 The Art of City-Making for urban services and was a leading spirit in caring for and reconquering the city for its citizens. It partly ‘cleansed’ the area of its more shady drug peddling and criminal fringe and some called this ‘sanitizing’. These new spaces used modern art in day-to-day neighbourhood contexts as well as the old core quarters such as Raval. The master plan is a way of factoring in the globalization of the city but without considering the individual identities of each quarter.31 The priority was therefore to reconstruct the city starting from public space rather than. watched by many. Yet always expect the unexpected. concentrating on derelict spaces and the hidden historic areas of the city. The Spanish tradition of placas provided an important cultural context for a long-term plan. is really the city’ and is based on the conviction that ‘citizenship is closely related to participation in the public space and the rhythms of the city. The latter was contentious. where the Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona (MACBA) is based. within the dense surrounds of Raval. collective life. housing. there has been a new takeover of the public space by skateboarders. say.’ They agreed: ‘The public space. is perhaps one of the best urban sport spectacles of its type.’ They felt quality of life depends on attaining four conditions: density. For that reason we decided not to do a master plan for Barcelona but to complete small architectural projects and to understand that the master plan was just the culmination of all of these small solutions. rather than there being a master plan in advance: From the point of view of planning this was important. ‘I had my first meeting with Barcelona’s first democratic mayor. We decided that we had to invent the democratic urbanity in Barcelona. As he noted. In front of MACBA. identity and communication. whether open or built-up. Thus Bohigas launched a phased programme of new pocket parks and small plazas. where the corporates moved in and ‘low life’ moved out. This day-long daily show. which developed organically into a master plan for the whole city. an equivalent perhaps of what happened to 42nd Street in New York.32 . Artists were seen as an essential component of the new design teams charged with assessing and developing the city’s public spaces in consultation with residents. roads or office projects.

said Bohigas. The goal. whose origins date back to 1218 and is based on a vision of the virgin Mary dressed in white. a mass gathering in which groups of young people dressed as devils parade . surrounded by brilliant lights and celestial spirits. La Merce is a new conception of what a festa is. The city tried to construct a different model of festival.34 La Merce became a celebration of living afresh.’33 Not only has public space been reinvented. groups of people building human castles. but so have public events such as La Merce.’ ‘With information technology we search but in the city we find. between activities available to only a few and a modern sense of the use of the public spaces of the city.Creative Cities for the World 365 This is principled. one that maintained an equilibrium between tradition and a strong sense of modernity. was to create the conditions for an ‘element of randomness: the capacity to find something without searching for it’. strategic incrementalism. Creating spaces of communication and gathering in order to foster conviviality and to stage performances was key. a parade of stilt walkers. as was attempting to find an equilibrium between the natural and built environment. and the correfoc (literally ‘running fire’). with citizens of Barcelona pouring into the streets for a mass of participatory events. a competition of castellers. a profound renovation of the Festa Major of Barcelona was initiated. how it can become part of the urban fabric as well as retain traditional Catalan elements: The parade and dance of giant papier mâché figures from within Barcelona and the surrounds. ‘To be a citizen of Barcelona is to walk its streets. between a high quality programme of spectacles and the possibility of free participation in nearly all the activities. to be part of the ebb and flow of public life.’ Note here the comparison with Dubai or Singapore. ‘Such random information is not possible in a technological system where everything is logically defined. as a consequence of the substantial changes in public life. Yet as Jordi Pablo noted in 1984: At the end of the 70s. in other words incrementalism with a clear goal.

It was focused on a combination of urban design and big events. sponsored by UNESCO and based on discussions and intercultural exchange. This leaves the two main buildings of the Forum’s legacy – the jagged.366 The Art of City-Making through the streets carrying various papier mâché beasts and firing off fireworks over the heads of the massed crowd. Time will tell how the reclaimed land and new beaches will play themselves out. just a congress centre. such as that started in 1989 by the University of Barcelona or that of the Pompeu Fabra University. This means that any major development will tend to be assessed through a cultural prism. the Forum’s aims lacked clarity and resonance and as a consequence the visitor numbers were widely overestimated. However. in the hierarchy of power. The Institute of Culture. unusually. unforgiving Forum Building designed by Herzog de Meuron is not the city’s best and the Barcelona International Congress Centre by Josep Lluis Mateo is. is more influential than equivalent departments in other cities where. It is a public–private partnership which provides more flexibility. the finance and engineering divisions tend to have the highest status. More importantly. How the initial local communities benefited is less clear. Yet now the thought that lingers is a sense of gentrification. and at the same time enhance the quality of life of La Catalana and La Mina. The Forum’s goal was to launch a new kind of Olympics of Culture. Mirroring this interest. the city’s cultural division. . another element is required: recognition of the primacy of culture and deep pride in one’s own locality. such as the Olympics or the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004. The new logic of driving urban development the world over through the private sector that emerged in the early 1990s had exclusionary effects with few social benefits apart from the parks and open space. two of the most marginalized areas of Barcelona’s metropolitan core. with the cultural thinking and management skills to match.35 To make these conditions work themselves through. the redevelopment of the city east towards the Besós river became a property speculator’s dream. Barcelona has. well. over a dozen cultural planning courses. The Forum was perhaps one step too far. Its goal is to increase the influence of culture on development strategies in the city and to make culture a key element for social cohesion. Barcelona’s 20-year trajectory from the early 1980s was paced and purposeful.

Given that London. an innovation and creativity block. which is led by Helsinki. the amount of European hightech patents applied for. a report by Xavier Vives36 pointed out that by traditional innovation criteria Barcelona is not in the top league in Europe. It is the most . Stockholm. Munich and Stuttgart. In scanning the city’s comparative prospects. and levels of use of information and communication technologies. a territorial and mobility block. which is important in seeking to highlight future priorities. Paris. what is happening to different classes of business. moving from 11th in 1990 to 5th in 2005 it is closing the gap on the leaders. and a social cohesion block. In keeping abreast of strategic urban development. These are a knowledge block. At its core lies creativity. Since 1990. (See below for a description of primary to quinary sectors based on distance from natural resources.38 It comes out on top in the ‘overall quality of life for employees’ category.37 Barcelona is the most improved city in their rating. because patenting can foreclose creative possibilities which open-source applications encourage. The innovation and creativity block includes assessing the dynamics of company creation in strategic sectors. Some regard it as encompassing research. as well as the reconceptualization of thinking at different levels. health and education. The overall effect of Barcelona’s transformation speaks in surveys and statistics. society and companies. founded in 1988. Madrid and Amsterdam. In fact. technology transfer between universities. though.000 citizens and levels of R&D expenditure. Cushman & Wakefield’s European City Monitor has annually assessed the most desirable and highly rated European cities for basing a business in through interviews with 500 top companies. innovation of methods in knowledge gathering and data interpretation. even though it is the leader in ‘access to markets’. rearrangement and interpretation of new and old ideas and information. Barcelona monitors itself in five so-called ‘strategic blocks’.) Quinary activities emphasize the creation. These criteria include patents per 100. It is ahead of cities such as Berlin. the competition is clear. which is the top priority for business. Brussels and Frankfurt are the top four. Barcelona has now focused on the quinary sector. culture.Creative Cities for the World 367 Barcelona has ‘a thinking brain’ on the future of the city called the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Barcelona. a sustainability and quality-of-life block. traditional innovation indicators may be bad for creativity. This was a shock to a city which has a self-understanding that it is innovative and creative.

is an open question. with only 4 per cent of the Spanish population. Barcelona has solidified its position as a major regional economic power.000 visitors from a total of over 50 million throughout Spain and since the Olympics there has been an almost 100 per cent increase in hotel capacity. The economy of Barcelona. Cheap air travel has made Barcelona one of Europe’s most popular short break destinations. who completed the first circumnavigation of the globe after Magellan was killed in the Philippines. Its key industries include manufacture. it reminds us of its famous people: Elkano. and the need to shift values towards openness. Bilbao draws on its sense of history and a selfunderstanding of having a unique and unusual culture to give it strength and motivation. who founded the Jesuits. business leaders expect Barcelona to be in third position in five years’ time. In 2003 Catalonia received 14. contributes 14. whose mother was Basque. though still some way behind London and Paris. however.540. Added to which it is entrepreneurial. electronics and tourism.368 The Art of City-Making improved city for the third year running. What do they give back apart from a bit of money? What do they take from the city? The city’s challenge is to reduce tourists – imaginatively. the politician Dolores Ibarruri.29 per cent of the country’s GDP. and it is the third most familiar city. Whether these add anything to the city’s creativity potential. Just in case we forget. textiles. standards of design. From strategy to implementation: A historical trajectory Bilbao has become an international focus for lessons in urban regeneration largely because of the ‘Guggenheim effect’. Maurice Ravel. and many more. Yet the . the cyclist Miguel Indurain. Ignatius of Loyola. Bilbao Like Barcelona. It is thus fiercely independent. the golfer José María Olazabal. strategically close to the French border and the European heartlands. the tennisplayers Jean Borotra and Nathalie Tauziat. number of tourists and number of overnight stays. as any person who goes to the iconic Gaudi sites or new public beaches can see for themselves. The city provides three useful lessons in creativity: long-term thinking and staying strategically principled and tactically flexible. Indeed growing tourist numbers are seen by many as the greatest threat to the city’s quality of life and future prospects. popular as it is for romantic weekends and hen and stag parties. It fears the danger of being trampled upon.

management scholar and social philosopher. will and motivation. Berlin (1980–1987) and further back to Darmstadt (1901–1914). Glasgow. Bilbao and the Basque region had already recognized in the early 1980s the restructuring of the world economy and its potentially damaging effects on the local economy. Lying somewhat forlorn at the western edge of Europe. The public–private partnership model initiated from the 1940s onwards through the Allegheny Conference for Community Development in Pittsburgh provided key lessons. Bilbao is twinned with Pittsburgh. although a large cultural facility was always part of the game plan. with vast areas along the river Nervion redundant and in need of renewal. I highlight this trajectory to show that at its core the changes in the city are concerned with changing mindsets. In particular. developing leadership. James Baughman. Newcastle and a wide variety of cities in the Ibero-American regions. from around the world. one of the inventors of the concept of city-marketing. strategic thinking and high quality design. the Ruhr area in Germany. including Phillip Kotler. the corporate director of . The regeneration did not start with the Guggenheim. especially good practice examples. whose history is far longer. a consequence of which is the focus on very long-term. In turn this has enabled projects such as the Guggenheim to happen. a strategic plan for the city whose objective was to develop Bilbao as a world-class metropolitan centre and to make the city ready for the new economy. including Emscher Park (1990–1999). These included Pittsburgh (which famously had reinvented itself after the decline of its coal industry). governance and entrepreneurial capacity. This led in 1989 to the Perspectiva del 2005. The process of developing the plan and its subsequent implementation was assisted by a series of ‘critical friends’ and advisers of renown. Charles Handy. Inspiration also came from the International Bauaustellung (IBA) model whose history of ten-year initiatives goes back 100 years. aspiration.Creative Cities for the World 369 Guggenheim is merely one initiative in a much longer-term process of Bilbao’s renewal. Bilbao wished to learn how renewal could be effectively implemented and noted especially how a driving visioning mechanism was required to turn aspiration into reality. They predicted that this would affect its traditional port and steelmaking industries. Indeed. Bilbao then began to scan developments of relevance to its situation. out on the Atlantic coast when the action was happening further east in Europe and in Asia.

To turn dreams into reality’.39 A guideline for Bilbao notes epigrammatically: ‘We only have the chance once in a lifetime to create anew the civic fabric. to enhance the metropolitan areas’ leadership capacity and ability to think strategically. Its role is to push aspiration and to think ahead. providing the infrastructure and support activities for high-value business activities and ensuring ‘the city is a vital space. At a minimum it should represent international class.41 It does not confuse vision-making with implementation. To create an environment that attracts people who love ideas. on strategic manage- . It organizes courses. Five values currently lie at its heart: innovation – to move ahead of change. Its core focus concerns developing leaders and professionals. at its best world-class. which highlighted the ‘urbanistic chaos’ of the city. this association drives the Strategic Plan for the Revitalization of Metropolitan Bilbao. and to have vision and ideals.’ Taking this seriously established a design quality benchmark. to connect the metropolitan region with the best specialists in their fields and to promote a new vision for metropolitan Bilbao.370 The Art of City-Making General Electric. an inhabited space … a liveable place’. The figure implies thinking 30 years ahead. community – to share a long-term vision. and openness – to be open to difference. It has a membership of 128 paid-up stakeholders. David Bendaniel. not only to distinctiveness.40 Principally. M. ranging from public bodies. Becker. Metropoli-30’s remit covers municipalities in the metropolitan area. identity – to answer the question of who we are. whose latest version is ‘Bilbao 2010: The Strategy’. Gary S. The latter is left to Bilbao Ría 2000. from the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Of special importance to the city was the work of Anderson Consulting. leading industry and university figures to major community bodies. professionalism – to do things right and at a high quality level. and the architects I. the key agency for physical renewal. the economics Nobel Prize winner. Pei and Cesar Pelli. To meet its challenge Bilbao sought over time to develop ‘a social architecture of innovation based on people and strengthening their capacity to identify new opportunities. Driving the vision: Metropoli-30 Like Barcelona. Bilbao wanted a thinking brain for the city and in 1991 Metropoli-30 was set up as a driving mechanism and vision holder as well as a means of institutionalizing the strategic conversation about the city.

designed by Santiago Calatrava. However. key aspects of the civic infrastructure were addressed: a metro system. the enlargement of the port. for example. Overriding everything. so creating the physical preconditions to move forward. Within the initial plan. and the Bilbao International Exhibition Centre. Metropoli-30 was involved in a series of staging posts connected to the overall vision. the emergence of the East and . for example. the Euskalduna Music and Congress Centre by Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios. a new tram system. and its latest initiative is ‘City and Values’ concerned with 21st-century values of urbanity. a major internationally oriented cultural facility that turned out to be the Guggenheim Frank Gehry. It is. a new airport. designed by James Stirling and being carried out by Michael Wilford. the Alhondiga building refurbishment into cultural and sports facilities to create a new social space for the city. such as setting up the 1993 Basque Council for Technology and getting the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the European Software Institute to base themselves in the city. the Abando passenger interchange. the extension to the Fine Arts Museum. and the third – the current phase – on changing cultural values of the metropolitan area. the Zubi Zuri pedestrian bridge by Calatrava. the second more on issues of attractiveness and broad quality of life concerns. From civic infrastructure to a change in cultural values The strategic plans can be seen as having had three primary foci. The first is concerned with physical infrastructure development. Other roles include improving the external and internal image of the region and carrying out research related to both metropolitan Bilbao and other metropolises that are cutting-edge and from which Bilbao can learn. a founding member of the Benchmarking Clearinghouse Association and an active participant of the World Future Society. Implementation involved attracting world-renowned architectural stars who could help create ‘a new centrality’ for Bilbao. in 1999. opened in 1997. which was initially seen as establishing Bilbao as El Nuevo Porto Atlantico de Europa. designed by Norman Foster. This requires an intense networking strategy. Early on. opened in 1995.Creative Cities for the World 371 ment of cities. the association fosters cooperation between the public and private sectors with the aim of finding joint solutions to problems of mutual interest that affect metropolitan Bilbao.

norms and habits of mind – ‘the way we do things around here’. so spinning off into Bilbao’s social and economic wealth while respecting the city’s ‘values. is a vehicle to project these aims. for example.372 The Art of City-Making European enlargement now figures strongly in their thinking in attempting to redefine what Bilbao’s new centrality in a future Europe could be. such as the need for a cosmopolitan outlook. as with the idea of having a Nobel Prize winner from Bilbao. developing the spirit of entrepreneurship. held in May 2006 and to be regularly held henceforth. We can make them come true’. appropriately. . developing leadership cadres in the region. and key terms used include enhancing the capacity for ‘multiple creativity’. with post-graduate studies in entrepreneurship focused on the needs of the region 30 years hence. attracting the headquarters of European-level organizations and developing global events. However. flexibility but also an ethos that marries wealth creation and social equality.42 Seemingly trite slogans. focusing on cultural richness. iconic architecture. and. when it framed the conversation about Bilbao’s future. In parallel there is a focus on projects that help mature the soft infrastructure of the metropolitan region. network dynamics and reinvigorated concepts of the idea of leadership. The World Forum on Values and City Development. and that now those lessons have been absorbed. shared ambition and shared vision based on common assumptions. The mission for the coming decade is to identify and attract people who are willing to lead and to help their ideas get expressed and transformed into projects and real innovative experiences. cultural facilities. such as ‘Bring your dreams to Bilbao. seek to reinforce this message. The focus on cultural values of openness embraces the broader notion of culture as an expression and combination of shared values. advanced eco-friendly design and sustainability. The levers to create this centrality include high quality design standards. increasing aspiration and desire. The aim of these combined hard and soft initiatives is to involve an ever-widening circle in seeing the development of the metropolis as a ‘common social project’ and to increase the dynamism of the region within a recognition of the new rules of urban competition. the issues Metropoli-30 is now dealing with. renewing the region’s cultural values in tune with what a future metropolis requires. Some commentators feel that Metropoli-30’s highpoint was in the early stages of its existence. history and idiosyncrasy’.

The level of new business start-ups increased substantially in the decade . It’s less easy to get excited about having to change yourself and to get overall momentum behind such ideas than about building interesting physical projects. The latter is an entrepreneurial public-spirited public–private partnership created with an endowment of port land it was given cheaply. training and labour market dynamics. the internationalization of the economy in terms of commerce. Bilbao La Vieja and the Barakaldo Urban project. These capital gains have been invested in extensive city projects where social needs are greatest. the former industrial city and port. This leaves aside the question of whether Metropoli-30 is being effective or not. levels of internet usage. Since then it has required hardly any public funds as it has traded land and generated sales to developers in the gentrifying Abandoibarra area near the Guggenheim. an ambitious urban plan to recover the waterfront for use by local people and psychologically linking it to the heart of Bilbao. cultural facilities. especially in the ETA ceasefire period (the ETA issue was key in terms of business relocation). such as changing the values of citizens and leaders. such as the quality of human resources.2 billion euros. The fact is that not many urban regeneration mechanisms are focused on value change. Metropoli-30 annually assesses a series of benchmarks. Anecdotally this increased. trade fairs. such as the Southern Connection. economic growth indicators. Its work has included the Abandoibarra renewal.Creative Cities for the World 373 concerned with the software of the city. energy consumption. Ametzola. which is now a residential area with a modern park. are far more subtle. Its effectiveness is measured in a variety of ways. Foreign direct inward investment data has been hard to come by. and Urban-Galindo in Barakaldo. Broader impacts Has this investment in structure. iconics and big events paid off? The overall investment over the last 15 years has been in the order of 4. and so on. now the symbol and centre of new Bilbao. transport connections. formerly three goods railway stations. personal quality of life. the old town. the renewal of Bilbao La Vieja. tourism. the sense of safety. environmental quality (there are now fish in the river Nervion). including education. From thinking to doing Metropoli-30 thinks and Bilbao Ría 2000 acts.

374 The Art of City-Making from 1991 onwards. the Guggenheim effect has become an urban renovator’s cliché. Metropoli-30 claimed that it was able to attract the museum because the preconditions – open-mindedness. Since then. This is a double-edged sword. Yet the price of new housing in the periphery is rising even faster than in Bilbao. followed by Barcelona and Madrid. added to which a special building added lustre.4 per cent). Valencia. cities and corporations around the world. in spite of the icon-building mania that has subsequently ensued. The largest percentage increases were in services (20. The Guggenheim effect Many urban specialists now say they are bored of hearing about Bilbao. Salzburg had previously been in discussion for the Guggenheim but the bold design by Hans Hollein for a subterranean museum carved directly into the rock of the Monchsberg was too much for the city fathers. it hovers around 35. such as Valencia. The most expensive areas. While the Guggenheim sheen might be fading as it becomes positively promiscuous. have tried to follow Bilbao’s pattern of development. in the company of Turin. Badajoz. While Bilbao is not in the top 30 European cities for business location. are close to the Guggenheim Museum. especially in Getxo on the coast. Bilbao and the northern coastal resort of Santander. Seville. Rotterdam and Birmingham. from roughly 1700 to 2850 per annum. Property price levels have increased a great deal – indeed Bilbao is the city with the most expensive prices per square metre in Spain. Barcelona. which was an early favourite until the well-funded Basque redevelopment consortium won out. Once Spain was identified as the location for the European hub there was a competition between Madrid. Ensanche and Abandoibarra. but very few have succeeded in sustaining the levels of quality and bending the gentrification process triggered by public investments to the city’s advantage. This is an achievement in itself when you consider the central location of the others. pursuing relationships with governments. The prices on the outskirts are also rising sharply with the extension of the metro system there. there is only one Bilbao. but in truth it can rarely be repeated. Many cities. but the reality is that getting the Guggenheim was Bilbao’s master stroke. ambition and willingness to take financial risks – had been set in the decade before the .4 per cent) followed by construction (15. A brief reminder.

became the leader of a lobby opposing this museum.Creative Cities for the World 375 actual decision was made. with some feeling it would be better to build new factories rather than pursue an internationalization strategy involving city-marketing and cultural facilities. but in the first year visitors numbered 1. By 2005 the Basque treasury had benefited from the Guggenheim by over 200 million euros and 4500 jobs in the hospitality industries. The Guggenheim opened in 1997 and is owned by Bilbao.’43 An international design competition was held with a three-strong shortlist of architects – Izozaki. although business tourism was already well developed given the economic strength of the region.44 The arrival of the Guggenheim effectively developed the local tourism industry. The building of the Guggenheim was not uncontentious. Eighty-two per cent of visitors state that they specifically visited Bilbao only because of the museum. with the proportion of foreigners increasingly annually (59 per cent in 2003).2 million.000. This began to decline after 11 September 2001 and is currently running at 900. Buro Himmelblau and Frank Gehry – which Gehry won in 1991. This direct investment by the Basque authorities repaid itself via increased tax revenues after three years and the current contributions by the region to the museum are covered by the yearly increases in tax revenue averaging. around 28 million euros per annum. Within this contract. Indeed a number of arts programmes were initially cut and there was a fear of its impact on existing facilities. It cost approximately US$100 million. as they believed the Guggenheim offered little to the local artistic community. There is an estimated additional bed occupancy of approaching 1 million. Local sculptor Jorge Oteiza. however.45 . who had nurtured the project of an arts centre in another site in the heart of Bilbao. The idea to build an icon structure in the face of the high unemployment levels of the early 1990s caused alarm in a number of quarters. Estimates of visitor numbers were originally 500.000 per annum. with global hotel and shop brands clustering into the city. with an additional US$20 million paid to the Guggenheim for the use of the name for a 20-year period. which was seen by many local artists and intellectuals as ‘an instrument of cultural colonialism’. The artistic community were initially the most vociferous opponents. Guggenheim makes its exhibitions and stock of art available to Bilbao. The impact on other cultural facilities has been substantial – for example. As they noted. the Museum of Fine Art has doubled its attendance. ‘Luck goes to those who make it.

Seville and Malaga. 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. there is a strong countervailing force. given the now increased investment in traditional cultural facilities. a larger section has become more enthusiastic. The Barcelona and Bilbao models have also been taken up by Valencia. This can be contrasted to the relative lack of budgetary authority British cities have. increasingly draws talent.7 million. for instance as centres of design. the Basque region keeps 90 per cent of regionally generated taxes and pays 6. like Germany. Urban acupuncture and Curitiba’s creativity Brazil’s Curitiba. in the music industry Barcelona was historically the centre. with Madrid trying to accrue as much power and resources as possible. such as the auditorium and conference centre. but with the re-emergence of Spain after Franco. This is also the case in other federal countries. For instance. many key players felt they had to relocate to Madrid as the global players such as AOL/Time/Warner had based themselves in the national political capital. Creativity when culture matters Barcelona and Bilbao (and Montreal46) believe their threatened identity was a spur to cultural creativity and originality. Imagine what they might have achieved if they had not been treated like infants by the British government. has tripled in population over the last 35 years. For instance.376 The Art of City-Making While some segments remain suspicious. While Madrid. as the nation’s capital. like Barcelona and Valencia.2 per cent towards the state budget for external affairs and defence. The battles of relative urban power continue. As a consequence it appears there has also been a burgeoning of artist-run and grass-roots movements. La Fundici. It is a byword for urban creativity and eco- . a city of 1. Hamburg and Frankfurt try to create a counterforce to the newly re-emerging Berlin. However. the Mediaz association and the Urazurrutia centre. such as the extension of the Museum of Fine Arts as well as other amenities. with outlets such as the alternative theatre and dance centre. is now seeking to reinforce its strengths internationally in an attempt to bypass Madrid. skills and headquarters to it. where cities such as Munich. each of the main regional cities.

which led to a master plan. Lerner notes: Keep in mind that the city is a scenario for encounters. Gregarious by definition. In the mid-1960s a group of activist architecture and design students began making the case to improve the city’s quality of life. City officials recognized the possibilities. this was a forward-looking thinking brain for the city. It carries out projects relating to a sustainable economy. this prompted a revolution in Curitiba’s development. its researchers are influencing the growth of the city. The city is also the last solidarity retreat. Therefore counteracting random sprawl through directing development along transport corridors was central. when he twice became elected governor of Parana. the Institute of Urban Planning and Research of Curitiba (IPPUC) in 1965. the first of its kind in the world. Emblematic is its Open University of the Environment. Deep in a native forest covering 37.000m2. Curitiba. one of the plan’s recommendations.48 . Curitiba’s public transport and park system and creative ways of turning weaknesses into strengths are its trademarks. it is the solution.47 Urban acupuncture involves identifying pinpointed interventions that by being accomplished quickly can be catalytic by releasing energy and creating a positive ripple effect. whose economy is based on trade. A key element was that mobility and land use could not be disassociated from each other. Nearly 40 years later Lerner wrote Urban Acupuncture to describe his approach to the revitalization of cities. The city is not the problem.Creative Cities for the World 377 urbanity. Lerner was responsible for creating and setting up an urban think tank.’ in Mario Soares’ words. set up in 1992 and located in a reclaimed quarry. the city is the centre around which relationship codes are created. services and processing industries. which depends on the relative agility of local policy-makers and counter-intuitive thinking. It is necessary to ‘globalize solidarity. is a forerunner in its concern for ecological urban development. Like in Barcelona and Bilbao. The great ideological conflict in today’s world is globalization versus solidarity. the region within which Curitiba falls. Jaime Lerner was one of the students and was later appointed mayor three times between 1971 and 1992. with Freiburg in Germany. conservation of the ecosystem and environmental education.

but the process builds social capital. To ensure that all the seedlings planted in the streets would be watered regularly. Once it was successful they clamoured for more. In 2002 the Oscar Niemeyer Museum was finished in five months. fostering effective business–government partnerships. design.’50 Smart incentives act as acupuncture. it had to be done fast.49 The first pedestrian street in Brazil was created in 1972 over a weekend to avoid any opposition by merchants. that had been used to house state government agencies. architecture. Much of this might sound chaotic. especially the poor. where the city exchanged recycled materials collected by citizens. They can be the acts of individuals. For example. Similarly he got industry. The local authorities rolled out a campaign: ‘The City provides the shade and you the fresh water. It can be Lerner’s innovative recycling programme. a bold project from the 1960s. but in order to get it they had to take a class to learn something. In this way positive action is reinforced by civic practice. a Curitiba dentist used to go to his office’s window and play the trumpet for anyone walking past.’ And they water them. It can be the planting by the city of the first tranche of what later became a million trees in less than two decades. Usually this is achieved by acts of what Lerner calls ‘urban kindness’. The historic preservation of a commercial district near the downtown . shops and institutions to ‘adopt’ a few orphaned or abandoned street children. but there was an opportunity to recycle an old building designed by Oscar Niemeyer. developers and builders receive a tax break when their projects include green areas. The complexities are easy to imagine. of pettiness and of politics from stifling critical opportunities and public projects’. which act like acupuncture. The fast acupuncture approaches had a purpose: ‘preventing the inertia of complexity sellers. the municipality or a business. and cities was important. In the beginning it was a true gesture of urban kindness. For instance. But once again. Street children were given free food. identity. providing them with a daily meal and small wage for doing simple maintenance gardening or office tasks. and some insiders critize it.378 The Art of City-Making The aim of city-making and acupuncture is to create this solidarity. ‘Refurbishing a bureaucratic space to be used as a space dedicated to creativity. Children involved in mural-drawing sessions have been a feature of Saturday mornings on the mall ever since. after finishing his daily work. Curitiba asked people to help. art. Examples can be either small and seemingly trivial or large. for food and bus tickets.

It engenders social capital. In designated areas of the city. Owners are therefore compensated and historic structures are preserved. the receipts of which the city uses for low-income housing. Curitiba’s bus system is so frequent that. It is how social capital is created and. That kindness reverberates. Land-use legislation encourages highdensity growth along the arterials. Tax discounts were also given for restoration. The net effect is they ride with a glow and are probably pleasant to the next person they meet. The abandonment of heritage buildings had been a problem as developers wanted their deterioration and eventual demolition. On a larger scale. It has articulated buses that can carry up to 300 people and trademark clear tubes for boarding. Eighty cities around the world are using similar rapid bus transit systems.Creative Cities for the World 379 URBAN ACUPUNCTURE AND SOCIAL CAPITAL In Calgary. ‘you never need a timetable’. which can be constructed 20 to 100 times more cheaply than light rail or subway systems. In the end long-term urban kindness pays back. affordable. He decided to buy 100 bells and 10 screwdrivers for his patrollers at a cost of CAD500. you can build in the rear or in another part of the city if you restore the old building in front. who once took the flowers and . It is efficient. The city government has demonstrated its commitment to the constant maintenance of green. was achieved by transferring development rights. and solvent. Under the regulations. legal limit and can pay in cash or land. the patroller cautions them and tells them how lucky they are since they have a bell and a screwdriver and will give them a present. pedestrian and landscaped areas. It costs CAD100 to administer the fine and if you are caught it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. if you ride a bike without a bell you get fined CAD57. Now when someone is found without a bell. the more you use it the more it grows. counter-intuitively. and a ‘social fare’ mass transit fare system was employed with the fare the same for close-in residents and lower-income users living on the periphery. You are cross and hate the municipality (and probably the next person you meet). where people pay before entry and get on and off so speedily that it is like a metro. as Lerner says. businesses can ‘buy’ up to two extra floors beyond the normal. and now citizens. The city’s director of bylaws thought there must a better way.

Poor residents in areas unreachable by truck bring their waste to neighbourhood centres. Planning. picked up by two different types of trucks. They each have a lighthouse tower and guardhouse based on the ancient Library of Alexandria. Free green-coloured buses and bicycle paths fully integrate these public spaces into their local and larger communities.5m2 of serviced green space per person to 52m2 per person – 21 million m2 in total. who concentrate on areas where litter has accumulated. the viability and the operation. This has resulted in one of the lowest air pollution levels in Brazil. Residents recycle twothirds of their garbage in a programme that costs no more than the old landfill. The three interface constantly. The ‘Garbage that is not Garbage’ and ‘Garbage Purchase’ programmes involve kerbside pick-up and disposal of recyclables sorted by households and. Trash is separated into only two categories. The ‘All Clean’ programme temporarily hires retired or unemployed persons. Curitiba expanded its green space more than a hundredfold – from 0. Several guiding principles govern decision-making at city and community levels. Three components guide Curitiba’s regional planning: the idea. Awareness of environmental sustainability and each individual’s quality of life is part of the education of every person in Curitiba. Seventy-five per cent of commuters take the bus. who define and set weekly targets.380 The Art of City-Making committed vandalism. organic and inorganic. the exchange of food and transit tickets for garbage collected by lowincome residents. execution. although Curitiba has the second highest per capita car ownership in Brazil. and administration are handled separately by Curitiba’s government. protective of these public spaces. Forty-seven school libraries have been brought outside schools to allow public access. have become responsible partners. During a period of startling population growth. with weekly meetings among the mayor and key players in each area of responsibility. Curitibanos spend only 10 per cent of their income on transport. Because of the integrated transportation system. Priority is given to people and public transport. All school students participate in environmental surveys. in less accessible areas. where they exchange it for bus tickets or . Curitiba shows that cities do not necessarily require expensive mechanical garbage separation facilities. design should keep nature in mind and technology should be appropriate to the situation. The ethos of city managers is that good systems and incentives are better than good plans.

aluminium) totals 13 per cent of garbage collected. The statute included town planning guidelines. For instance Ragusa’s slogan was ‘oblivi privatorum. the recyclable waste programme has separated 419. But a crisis of shipping and a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 killed over 5000 citizens and levelled . Recovered materials are sold to local industries.51 … and there are many more creative places both today and from yesterday. be a broker. As early as 1272 the Republic had its own statute and codified Roman practice with local customs. ‘Always sit down with your worst enemy’ they still say in Dubrovnik or ‘keep your friends close and your enemies even closer’. a diplomat and intermediary. an orphanage was opened in 1432. The government of the Ragusa Republic was liberal and early showed its concern for justice and humanitarian principles. It had no army of its own. Inorganic waste (plastic. With no resources apart from a fleet it had to live on its wits. a refuge for old people was opened in 1347. the water supply system (20km of it) was constructed in 1436. slave trading was abolished in 1418. Styrofoam is shredded and used as stuffing for quilts. the Hungarian–Croatian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire. Let us remind ourselves of one from the past. publica curate’ (forget the private issues and tend to the public ones). glass. knowledge-based city.Creative Cities for the World 381 eggs and milk bought from outlying farms. As a free state it reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries. sorted by workers who are handicapped. the first pharmacy (still working) was opened in 1317. Venice. From its establishment in the first half of the seventh century Ragusa has been under the protection of the Byzantine Empire.000 tonnes – enough to fill 1200 twenty-storey buildings. Ragusa. the first quarantine hospital (Lazarete) was opened in 1377. It was very inventive regarding laws and institutions: a medical service was introduced in 1301. paper. Since its 1989 start-up. recent immigrants and alcoholics. now Dubrovnik. But it always managed to negotiate its relative independence and made itself useful to others with far greater power.52 Perhaps in its historical context it was a creative city for the world. in Croatia was a classic example of a creative. Trash is separated at a plant built of recycled materials. It traded knowledge and had a sophisticated network of spies. who in turn protected Ragusa from invasion. it based its ethos on dialogue rather than conflict.

53 It is a cruel irony of sorts that Amsterdam. The head of the state was the Duke or Rector. it never reached the same heights and the final straw was when Napoleon conquered the city in 1806. A helpful guide. As Vido Bodanovic. an urban gem. at times over 2000–3000 tourists are flushed from cruise liners into this very small city. the mayor of Dubrovnik from 1998 to 2001 noted: ‘Tourism is essentially a form of prostitution. Ragusa was governed in a radical way. The pride in Dubrovnik. historically a centre of creativity.000 to 5000 over the last decade. but above all whom that city is aimed . When asked where they come from. they simply say from ‘the city’. And what has become of this jewel today that until recently had a fine balance of trade and visitors? It is overwhelmed by tourists with little chance of maintaining its identity. elected for a term of office for one month and eligible for re-election after two years. Every noble took their seat in the Grand Council. Although all effective power was concentrated in the hands of the nobility. say. and as a consequence the permanent population in the city has declined from 10. They take a two-hour walk. the index ‘gives tips and escorts you to the city’s special places and invites you to get to know the people who make up this innovative capital’. It ruined the well-being of the Republic and.’ Some visitors attracted by its beauty buy houses. has to proclaim its creativity in a mundane way to be heard among the hubbub of other cities now branding themselves as creative. while it fought back. The Senate was a consultative body and consisted of 45 invited members (over 40 years of age).382 The Art of City-Making most public buildings. leave practically nothing behind and move on. Like a personal guide. is pervasive and citizens today speak of it as if it were a person etched into their inner being and not as a detached thing. The rectors lived and worked in the Rector’s Palace but their families remained living in their own homes. The question always lurking ‘is not whether Amsterdam will become a creative city or not. in Zagreb. Amsterdam Index 2006: A shortcut to creative Amsterdam. Amsterdam City Hall is billing the city as a creative city par excellence and supporting conferences such as ‘Creativity and the City’ and ‘Creative Capital’. and there are more souvenirs than you want to see. Interestingly. Amsterdam is another city of creative power that has had to reinvent its primary purposes again and again in acts of imagination.54 provides a contemporary overview. which they rarely go to.

often fashionably designed outlets to survive and intense interaction and stimulation to occur. Will its aim to insert a repertoire of city-making – cultural activity. Mahler 4 or Vivaldi create vitality? Zuidplein at the bottom of the World Trade Centre (how many are there of these in the world?) has street life at lunchtime. has a playfulness seen from a distance. Burger King or Subway. in contrast to most cities in the world. ‘Culture plays an important role all over Zuidas. but is this creative? Some of the architecture.’56 Can one area be dedicated to culture? Although amusing. One area in particular. greening and public squares – create a feeling of compelling and urgent vitality? They say. with its increased residential buildings. Amsterdam recognized the importance of these alternatives. intimate core that allow small. The multilingual capacities of the Dutch reinforce its accessibility. Crucially. There is a relief at not seeing a McDonald’s. In 1999 it set up the Breeding Places Fund. currently has a global style. Some find its ‘olde worlde’ beauty too cutesy. Many are beguiled by Amsterdam’s dense urban fabric and the canals dissecting the city. like many places that attract bankers and accountants. Let’s consider the old. Amsterdam’s popularity and gentrification had threatened the city’s cultural ecology.55 A port and hub for centuries. Yet it is precisely the planning restrictions in the older. the new and the alternative as three elements. but how lively is it at street level? Amsterdam’s underground breeding ground of inventiveness was inextricably linked to its squatter movement. is almost entirely dedicated to culture. its openness has attracted outsiders. as activists and artists occupied abandoned structures and buildings. Potsdamer Platz in Berlin or Canary Wharf in London? This business hub. as witnessed in areas like Nine Streets. but since then.Creative Cities for the World 383 at: a creative city for the highly educated and prosperous upper class or a creative city for all the city’s inhabitants’. With names like Silo or Vrieshuis Amerika. whose aim is to provide affordable small-scale infrastructure for artists and cultural entrepreneurs in response to dramatic changes in the cultural landscape of Amsterdam. these often acted as experimentation zones. many of them edgy. Can the city recreate this sense of place that triggers imaginative responses in its new development areas like the Zuidas (South Axis) area. around 1000 . like Meyer en van Shooten’s Ing House. the Museum Quarter. will naming areas Gershwin. a Dutch version of La Defense in Paris.

populate the core. Successful planning initiatives include the rejection of extensive freeway systems. Portland. Then there is Vancouver. however. the redevelopment of the south shore of False Creek and the transformation of former industrial lands into town houses and apartments in the . promote cycling as a major mode of transportation. Each has a dimension of creativity to offer. turn parking lots into public squares. the architectural character of its neighbourhoods and its general prosperity. Greater Vancouver has gained an international reputation for various innovative planning initiatives over the years. honour the human scale. NDSM. to Plantage Doklaan and Elektronstraat. Vancouver and Melbourne.58 There are many other cities which have recaptured their public space. encourage student living. and looming in the air are potentially big rent hikes. reduce traffic and parking gradually. and make free bicycles available. take the OT301. the lease runs out for the OT301. keep scale dense and low. a modern park and a cultural complex etched out of an old gas landscape. which balances well the need for innovation with economic sustainability and has been one of the more successful examples of balancing innovation and economic sustainability. an artist studio and performance complex: At the end of the month.57 As an example to remind ourselves of the fragility of these places. A healthy economy. smells of third-party investors and questions over the subculture’s future… So take a quick walk through the OT – it may not be there much longer. The limited land base of the region. ranging from the dramatic old shipyard. increased development pressure and created challenges for both the public and private sectors.59 The authors describe Copenhagen’s ten-step programme to humanize the city: convert key main streets into pedestrian thoroughfares. one of the North American cities cited as most liveable. rapid population increases and the desirability of a West Coast lifestyle have contributed to the region’s urban design. Other spaces include the Westergasfabriek. Many of these are well documented in Jan Gehl and Lars Gemzøe’s New City Spaces. surrounded by mountains.384 The Art of City-Making spaces have been provided in 35 projects. employment opportunities. adapt the cityscape to changing seasons. the US border and the sea. such as Copenhagen.

The emphasis from the outset was on a two-way planning process with community participation. ordinary people living their lives . environmentalists. managed neighbourhood change and building intensification. development levies. such as Metrotown in Burnaby. This will require different creativities: the creativity of the engineer.Creative Cities for the World 385 mid-1970s and the creation of eight regional town centres. Lonsdale in North Vancouver and Haney Town Centre in Maple Ridge. The success of these strategies has created Vancouver’s outstanding reputation in international planning circles. These town centres provide a focal point for higher-density residential neighbourhoods combined with business and commercial opportunities easily accessible via the regional transit system. the social worker. natural scientists. historians. most importantly. the planner. 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. THE MANAGEMENT OF FRAGILITY: CREATIVITY AND THE CITY Creative ecology The aim. psychologists. Different approaches were needed in each neighbourhood. offices and shopping. the West End. This gives the city its vitality. Grandview and Shaughnessy. It was based upon discretionary zoning. the housing specialist. for example. cooperative megaproject schemes. anthropologists. resulting in specific policies for a diversity of communities – Strathcona.60 The emphasis on neighbourhood planning began in the 1970s with the creation of citizens’ planning committees. the events organizer. They serve as an alternative to the familiar suburban commute into downtown Vancouver and as an effective way to accommodate urban growth and decentralize employment opportunities within the region. for me. Vancouver led the way with plans involving citizens. focusing on making the urban core mixed-use – residential. the business person. artists of all kinds and. IT specialists. the architect. clear-sighted approach to its urban planning and design which has provided a frame within which the city could build itself out. John Punter argues61 that since the early 1970s Vancouver has devised and implemented a distinctive.

Creative London. with its Culture Plan for the Creative City. Urban creativity requires an ethical framework to drive the city forward. Vancouver and its Creative City Task Force. This is comprehensive creativeness. of course. which is the ability to nurture our cities and their cultural ecology. In the US there is Creative Cincinnati. To make creativity’s diversity work involves the management of fragility. Today’s will be different from yesterday’s and tomorrow’s. sustaining. buildings and projects. and Ottawa’s plan to be a creative city. Creativity is a mantra of our age. how can they give something back to it. to see strategy and detail. the parts and whole and the woods and the trees simultaneously. opening out rather than curtailing. Plymouth and Norwich to. it is all-pervasive. from Creative Manchester. Creativity is not the answer to all our urban problems but it creates the preconditions upon which it is possible to open out opportunities to find solutions. companies. Partners for Liveable Communities in Washington DC launched a Creative . Creative Tampa Bay and the welter of creative regions such as Creative New England. At my last count 60 cities worldwide claimed to be creative cities. For instance. London. cities. It involves differing forms. countries or even creative streets. Every period of history requires its own form of creativity. whether we are referring to creative individuals. but also the soft creativity of making interaction in the city flow. We need to care for our world. We need to think both horizontally and vertically. rather than focusing on sustainable development we should think of restorative development: how our cities can help restore the environment. Bristol. A few housing developments already give electricity back to the grid. Ontario’s similar task force. To do this we need to work across disciplines in an interconnected whole so we can see issues and solutions in the round. This requires us to focus on soft creativity. And ditto Canada: Toronto. Twenty were in Britain. and not in a prescriptive sense. The creative rash Creativity is like a rash.386 The Art of City-Making as citizens. At its core this ethic is about something life-giving. not only the thrusting creativity of discovering a new technical invention. Now we need to focus our creativity on being creative for the world. Everyone is in the creativity game.

skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property’. Osaka set up a Graduate School for Creative Cities in 2003 and launched the Japanese Creative Cities Network in 2005. cultural planning. launched its Creative Cities Network in 2004. In Australia we find the Brisbane Creative City strategy and there is Creative Auckland. when most of the constituent ideas were being developed. The notion of the creative class then emerged in 2002. currency in the mid-1990s.66 Why do cities want to be creative? Where did the obsession with ‘creativity’ come from? A central point is that creativity was .65 Later some of the phraseology changed. On closer examination most of the strategies and plans are in fact concerned with strengthening the arts and cultural fabric. gave the ‘movement’ a dramatic lift with the danger of hyping the concept out of favour. as distinct from specialist. by contrast. The publication of Richard Florida’s book.Creative Cities for the World 387 Cities Initiative in 2001. cultural resources and the cultural industries. which became the creative industries and the creative economy. essentially the cultural industries. comprising those that ‘have their origin in individual creativity. the first short version of the Creative City published in 1995 had little resonance beyond niche audiences. In addition they focus on fostering the creative industries. In the UK.64 Instead it was the publication of Ken Robinson’s national commission on creativity. Earlier Australia’s Creative Nation. that a couple of years after its publication in 1999 put creativity more firmly on to the political agenda. spelt out the country’s cultural policy with a focus on creativity. The rise of the Creative Class. through its Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity. Creativity as a broad-based attribute only came into common. instigated in 1992 by Prime Minister Paul Keating. All Our Future: Creativity. anointing Edinburgh as the first for its literary creativity.62 An idea or a movement Today we can even talk of a Creative City Movement. the arts. education and the economy for the UK Government. Even the somewhat lumbering UNESCO. but what people referred to was usually a narrowly focused creativity. the key terms discussed were culture. such as support for the arts and artists and the institutional infrastructure to match. Culture and Education.63 but back in the late 1980s.

Venice did not emerge in its time through a business-as-usual approach. while cities were physically locked into their past. Yet while many organizations claim to have changed through ‘de-layering’. look and feel were seen as coming from the industrialized factory age where quality of design was viewed as an add-on rather than as the core of what makes a city attractive and competitive. Industries in the developed world already had to restructure from the mid-1970s onwards. skill or inventiveness. ‘decentralizing’ or ‘decoupling’. The movement took time to unfold in full. inventions and copyrights. nor did Constantinople or Dubrovnik. Education did not seem to prepare students for the demands of the ‘new’ world. Organization. in reality they have remained the same. Its effects were eased in the West by the internet-based ‘new economy’. different people for different reasons felt creativity had something in it for them – it . Cities’ atmosphere. did not provide the flexibility. with the move from a focus on brawn to brain and a recognition that added value is generated by ideas turned into innovations. from the late 1980s onwards a recognition that the world was changing dramatically was increasingly widespread. with a control ethos and hierarchical focus. either because of physical infrastructure or because of their mindset. adaptability and resilience to cope in the emerging competitive environment. Nevertheless. Coping with these changes required a reassessment of cities’ resources and potential and a process of necessary reinvention on all fronts. Singapore is striving to be an equivalent. it is just that we called it by another name: ingenuity. but its momentum moved apace with the shift in global terms of trade now apparent. Perhaps. It maintained its independence by successively becoming a protectorate and by brokering knowledge. This led to soul searching and many concluded that the old way of doing things did not work sufficiently well. Yet these processes left many countries and cities flailing as they searched for new answers to create a purpose and role for themselves. acting as a haven and refuge and inventing services. management and leadership. today. It became a link between the Latin and Slavonic civilizations and a powerful merchant republic. This required an act of imagination and creation. It required intense cleverness and astute positioning. These adjustments require changes in attitudes and in how organizations are run.388 The Art of City-Making always present in cities. Further. Cities felt ‘creativity’ could provide answers to their problems and opportunities and would get them out of being locked into their past.

Karlsruhe and Bristol. but when fullheartedly believed can be powerful planning and ideas generating tools. which popularized the concept. Dresden. This was followed in 1994 by a meeting in Glasgow of representatives from five German and five British cities (Cologne. the spread was broader. the Ministry of Planning and Environment of Victoria and many other partners. especially when seen as an interconnected whole and viewed holistically. the educational system. Unna. with its then more rigid curriculum and tendency to rote-like learning. resulting in The Creative City in Britain and Germany. While several speakers were arts practitioners. Huddersfield. given its complexity and variety. every weakness has a potential strength and that even the seemingly “invisible” can be made into something positive – that is something can be made out of nothing. in fact the first mention of the ‘creative city’ as a concept was in a seminar of that title organized by the Australia Council. Leicester and Milton Keynes) to explore urban creativity.’68 The city can trigger this. including planners and architects. ‘Creative planning is based on the idea of cultural resources and the holistic notion that every problem is merely an opportunity in disguise. These phrases might sound like trite sloganeering. did not sufficiently prepare young people.’69 seemed like the answer. who were being asked to learn more subjects and perhaps understood them less. former Secretary for Planning and Environment for Victoria.Creative Cities for the World 389 SYNCHRONICITY AND ORIGINS The first detailed study of the ‘creative city’ concept was called ‘Glasgow: The creative city and its cultural economy’.67 followed up by a short version of The Creative City in 1995 and a far longer one called The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators in 2000. Essen. Yet a keynote speech by David Yencken. Glasgow. The latter noted. This prefigured some of the key themes of The Creative City and how cities can make the most of their possibilities. stating that while we give firm attention to the efficiency of cities and some focus on equity. the City of Melbourne. we should stress that the city is more. which I wrote in 1990. First. Its focus was on how arts and cultural concerns could be better integrated into the planning process for city development. spelt out a broader agenda. Critics instead . held between the 5 and 7 September 1988. ‘It should be emotionally satisfying and stimulate creativity amongst its citizens. Unknown to the author at the time. This ecological perspective is reflected in Yencken’s later appointment as chairman of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

and allow the transfer of knowledge between different contexts as students would learn how to understand the essence of arguments rather than recall out of context facts. has taken its markets. One area to develop resilience is the learning infrastructure. innovate. a psychological frame of mind not attuned to understanding and then grappling with change. which should be fashioned to combine the teaching of focused disciplines. such as engineering or crime prevention. communicate and share. Interesting people. 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. This led to new forms of managing and governance. Secondly. with titles such as ‘matrix management’ and ‘stakeholder democracy’. talent and skills increasingly could not happen in top–down organizational structures. This would trigger and activate wider ranges of intelligences. problem-solve and self-assess. This helps the city avoid being downcast. exploration and adaptability. Lifting a city out of this state is difficult as it needs to nurture itself back its self-confidence. This was necessary outside the workplace and increasingly the notion of the creative milieu. of being alert to change and of not assuming given advantages are timeless. ruptures and shocks and to be supple enough to adjust. whose purpose was to unleash creativity and bring greater fulfilment. often mavericks. The drive for innovations required working environments where people wanted to share and collaborate to mutual advantage. with the ability to see the core of disciplines and then across and beyond . It is not about being fanciful. Urban shocks can leave cities depressed just as they can individuals. Creativity: Components Creativity and resilience An overarching goal of being creative is to generate urban resilience and build overall urban capacity. foster openness. Often these milieus were centred on redundant warehouses which had been turned into incubators for new companies. This requires the city to evolve a spirit of expectation. a physical urban setting where people feel encouraged to engage. Resilience is strong adaptability. came into play. such as learning how to learn. harnessing motivation. discover. create. Resilience is the capacity to absorb change. say India or China. were increasingly not willing to work within traditional structures.390 The Art of City-Making argued that students should acquire higher-order skills.

Planners can project a future only with clear guidelines. ‘Why should people want to be creative. creativity is in essence the capacity to stand back and reassess. The most innovative companies then align their skills with others without wishing to control the complete chain. Camper shoes developed the hotel Casa Camper in Barcelona because. to find ourselves and to make our life more interesting. though. where for instance individual values and economic purposes are aligned. Until a new settlement emerges. Ideally even certainty. as they are for the property developer. Being creative is not the sine qua non of life. they may ask themselves. as they note. The desire to be open and inventive depends on what we do. we may wish to explore. they are into comfort. Seen thus. For instance. For the artist exploration is a raison d’être. The reason it is so widely discussed is our period of transition and lack of settledness. Driven by competitiveness Creativity has risen because people have realized that the sources of competitiveness now happen on a different plane and they need to learn afresh how to compete beyond merely low cost and high . Like Camper. Too many problems are not being solved. We may want stimulation. In fact most people and professions prefer order. recreate and reimagine will remain at a premium. Individually. which could be mining or textiles. things will remain up for grabs.Creative Cities for the World 391 them. as being so involves adjustment and change?’ It is painful. mining could be seen less as a mineral extraction sector and more as an opportunity to develop software for accessing hard to reach places. The lawyer thrives within a plethora of rules to be nit-picked to achieve clarity. For instance. For the traffic engineer continuity and predictability are at a premium. The comfort platform gives Camper a far wider range of possibilities to invent products well beyond shoes (clearly having a brand name helps). for many scientists too. they would prefer less instability. Better to leave things as they are. ‘What is the essence of what we know?’ rather than focusing on the particular application they have. Fear of creativity Quite rightly people argue. The same should apply to cities when assessing their production possibilities. not shoes. The capacity of a company to think from a conceptual and not a product point of view opens out possibilities. Then the capacity to create.

392 The Art of City-Making productivity. products and services at different levels. and unblocking obstacles to interaction. into quaternary activities and refer to activities involving the collection. Quality of life. education and information technology. Creativity and the quinary domain Economies are divided into sectors depending on distance from the natural environment. consists of intellectual activities associated with government. Others disaggregate the service sector. But too much untidiness does not attract all types. rearrangement and interpretation of new and old ideas and information as well as innovation of methods in the knowing. the property developers. business. recoding. whether this be concerned with bureaucracy or by creating gathering and meeting places. the non-profit world. the second manufactures finished goods. storage. Quinary activities emphasize the creation. healthcare. They are thus concerned with the reconceptualization of thinking. universities. the ability to create imaginative partnerships so that the impact of projects can generate the equation 1 + 1 = 3. understanding how urban imagery works through the media. It includes a city’s cultural depth and richness. or quinary. developing language capacity to ease communication. arranging. culture and the media. and the fourth. seeing design awareness and quality not just as an add-on but an intrinsic part of development. science. most media types or their fami- . sector as a branch of the fourth. thrives on messiness. a touch of disorder or even an element of chaos. which might mean heritage or the availability of contemporary artistic facilities. including the highest levels of decision-making in a society or economy. The first extracts resources. provides services. culture. exchange and dissemination of information. scientific research. concepts. This is the strategic realm of the creative city thinking. the third. or quaternary. the need for eco-awareness to tap into peoples’ aspirational desires. the capacity to network globally and to keep abreast of the best. The unfinished waiting to be finished. especially business services which are information-oriented. Not the lawyers. retrieval. Some consider the fifth. often using those produced goods. it is said. gathering and interpretation of data. competitiveness and creativity Creativity. the bankers. This sector would include the top executives or strategic officials in such fields as government. or tertiary.

reinvest in your talent by not only importing outside talent but by fostering local talent. teachers and shopkeepers. or coming up with the idea of the mid-level escalators as a form of public transport in Hong Kong. reignite passion for the city by. They want ‘liveability’ or ‘quality of life’. rather than more topics. and reconfigure. like Bryant Park in New York. to name a few. 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. That agenda focuses on safety. it might mean reconfiguring curricula to teach higherorder skills. In fact they probably want nearly the opposite. revalue hidden assets. for example turning waste into a commercial resource. for example. reassess what creativity for your city actually is by being honest about your obstacles and looking at your cultural resources afresh. It is these people who in many contexts can drive the urban transformation agenda and create the confidence and positive investment climate. rather than seeing your vision as being determined by existing rules. for example. cleanliness and good transport. Overall urban competitiveness cannot survive today only on refurbished warehouses with their creative economy types and office parks in idealized green settings. like learning to learn and to think. the good transport links and a sense of relative safety – only with a slight touch of edginess. reposition and represent where your city stands by knitting the threads together to retell your urban story.Creative Cities for the World 393 lies. Thinking about unusual crime reduction schemes is an example. creating learning modules much more in tune with young peoples’ desires. galvanizing citizens to act. reconceive and remeasure assets. rekindle the desire for learning and entrepreneurship by. two catchphrases of the moment. It needs the public spaces in between. Messiness is also uncomfortable for many others: ordinary hospital workers. developing programmes so people can learn to love their city. They are not renowned for their creativity and its uncertainties. for example understanding that developing social capital also generates wealth. or alternatively to think across disciplines beyond the silos . for example discovering historic traditions that can be turned into a new product. as is creating urban hubs that act as havens. To elaborate on learning. realign rules and incentives to your new vision. And they can be. Within the new competitiveness paradigm both the creativity and liveability agendas need to be aligned.

There is likely to be a focus on being ‘authentic’. a set of buildings. chew it. an office. create and make the place they are in. Open-source amendments to software is a version of this in a more restricted area. that they are an active participant rather than a passive consumer. The hard consists of roads. a street. but they accept the need to be stretched. so that things dissolve in chaos. It generates the milieu or environment. the physical setting. an area. a refurbished warehouse. The milieu mixes hard and soft infrastructure. Mass creativity An extension of the creative milieu notion is how you encourage groups of people to be imaginative en masse. What makes a milieu creative is that it gives the user the sense that they can shape. digest it and spit it out.394 The Art of City-Making rather than learning facts. A creative milieu can be a room. ambience and atmosphere is of upmost importance. We should be mindful that tourists can drain the identity of places if their numbers overwhelm the locals. a campus. These places can equally be completely uncreative. What is a city variety? Perhaps it does not need to be so dramatic. This is the stage. the intangible feelings people have about the place. They are not wild for the sake of wildness. a building. The Australian curriculum is an example of moving in this direction. and that they are an agent of change rather than a victim. The creative milieu Given that people now have more choice and mobility about where they want to be. They borrow the landscape. It might mean someone hidden away in an office is experimenting with new software and in the public realm it might mean a new type of restaurant either in terms of food or decor and style. a neighbourhood or occasionally a city. It is likely to mean that the products and services of the local area are sold and used there. buildings and physical things. but they do have unspoken rules of engagement. . The resilience to survive requires new educational curricula. These environments are open. though what this means will always differ depending on context. the soft the interactions between people. Things are being tried out and there are experiments. A cautionary proviso: such an environment will also attract outsiders who may only consume and give nothing back. the container or platform within which activity takes place and develops.

Democracy and creativity Creativity relies on openness and its political counterpart is democracy – that is when it actually works. the attitudes of mind. so creativity will also exist in places such as Beijing or Dubai that are undemocratic. buzz and activity gives the allure of creativity. For instance the change of Copenhagen from a car-dominated city to a walking and cycling city must in its initial stages have involved 1000s of cyclists going against the grain of then current thinking. more importantly. It is the informal and . A boom town booms. but again that does not ensure imaginative solutions or products are being created. Quickly. Yet creativity is also the capacity to squeeze through imagination whatever the circumstances. In both the above cities entrepreneurs are seizing opportunities and making money. The sheer hype. Impressively.Creative Cities for the World 395 if thousands of people were ‘creative’ perhaps it could be too much. especially from within the artistic field or environmentalists. But will they stand the test of time? And. in Dubai we have no idea what women could contribute to making the city state a better place. So there is not a simple relationship that says democracy = creativity. and even spiritual infrastructure. The hard and the soft To make a milieu happen requires infrastructures beyond the hardware – the buildings. the aspirational core. Yet it will be circumscribed. ponderous and lacking in verve. but speediness. Inevitably there will be responses reflecting on the feverish development. Yet equally we know that squeezing liberty too tight leaves little room for imaginative manoeuvre. Totalitarian places are not creative milieux. It makes democracies feel slow paced. a building boom and hysteria are no guarantee that it is actually happening. whereby the open mindset is legitimated by leadership groupings or the media. Incremental creativity might be the answer. In Shanghai we do not know what could happen if there was far more open debate about the city’s development. roads and sewerage systems. Soft infrastructure includes the mental. It is the atmosphere that creates the context for innumerable smaller things to occur which in themselves display only a tiny speck of creativity. Yet they get things done. and with our global gaze we will take these more seriously. The same is true for recycling schemes.

It can be extraordinary petty things that kill off good ideas: a person in charge who doesn’t like an intelligent upstart and wants to protect their sphere of power or influence or a regulation that makes no sense in the current context. Creative places seem to need an influx of outsiders to bring in new ideas.396 The Art of City-Making formal intellectual infrastructure. One only needs to remember cities in transition. There was. products and services to challenge existing arrangements and bring together new combinations where insiders and outsiders meet. they often live in a tense but dynamic equilibrium. In these moments the purposes of good city-making get lost in power struggles at both micro and macro levels. There are technically driven and conceived. but which someone insists upon. whether those be in their own organizations or outside in the wider city. so cultural diversity strengthens the city. The history of successful cities in the past. from Constantinople and Hangchow to Florence.70 Those pushing at the edges continuously bump into vested interests. as otherwise it does not sufficiently learn from the best of what others are doing. We need to remember that essentially no city plans start with words like ‘happy’ or ‘beauty’. Diversity as a driver of creativity Just as biodiversity guarantees the well-being and resilience of the natural environment. 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. But creative places are not comfortable places. to appreciate that being creative involves power struggles. Collectively these attributes create a culture of entrepreneurship. What constitutes too much depends on circumstance. from Florence way back and Berlin in the Weimar Republic to Shanghai today. as this person is often is one that looks at a problem or opportunity in a new light. Creative places have a creative rub. No wonder there is little interest from the broader public. sufficient mutual influence and counter- . But there is a level at which a city can absorb the new – if it is too much it can overwhelm. however. This did not mean that cultures were subsumed – identity was still shaped by where you came from. The environment also fosters linkages within itself and with the outside world. suggests the capacity to absorb and bring together different cultures was a contributing factor to that success. the boundary breaker. The soft milieu needs to allow space for the maverick. as the new collides with the old.

Therefore. a fine grain of urban form. The latter probably leads to greater well-being and prosperity. major city or dockland redevelopments focus on iconic buildings as a drawcard but fail to build in the finer grain of diversity and urban life. Here we move one step beyond and focus on what we can do together as diverse cultures in a shared space. placing great responsibility on the urban designer to transform a place through new paving. Their decisions can have a profound impact on the way we lead our lives and express our collective and individual cultural values. The most successful are those with a great diversity of products – every stall has a different range and somewhere there is treasure to be found. Cities often get carried away with the physical form of public places. As with ecological conditions. one form of activity or business is dominant. Diversity in public space is key. where we acknowledge and ideally celebrate our differing cultures. Too often. This intricate web of diversity is rather like environmental diversity. Think of street markets. Planners and urban designers play a critical role in building city culture and creating conditions for creativity.71 Jacobs identifies four significant conditions: diversity of activities. elegant street furniture and improved lighting. . for instance. and it no longer works in the new environment. fused identity as older and newer citizens changed.72 Diversity in its many forms is the primary element of a vibrant place – a diversity of business. where the diversity of experiences is etched into the patina of the fabric. diversity of building stock and the all-important critical mass of people. a diversity of activities and a diversity of built form creating visual stimulation. the entire area may be at risk. it becomes vulnerable. coalescing and mixing over time to create a special. if a city or district becomes too homogeneous. is to move from the multicultural city. If. To which we should add a fifth. as Jane Jacobs reminds us. towards the intercultural city. such as failing business or traffic domination. The reality is that many places are dead or decaying for reasons other than poor public realm design. as noted. The creative challenge. the length of history of a building. Sydney and Toronto. very new mega developments rarely encourage inventiveness.Creative Cities for the World 397 influence. New York. They also provide the setting for intercultural interaction as people from many cultures go about their business. The same is true today in the large multicultural cities of London (which bills itself as ‘the world in one city’).

many innovations are concerned with services. though. However. Modernity has brought with it professional classifications and boundaries between professions and responsibility. there is openness in the confined setting in order to harness individuals’ imagination. it is difficult for ideas to emerge. Ideally a built environment professional should be deeply engaged with his or her local culture. In addition. especially when intellectual copyright is at stake. For example. Clearly. creativity can also happen in controlled situations. A culture which is democratic and where questioning is cherished favours the development of imagination. tightly controlled environments and even today new developments in computing in Silicon Valley occur in enclosed campuses within which there is a free flow of ideas among colleagues. trading and presentation and these require the free flow of movement up and down hierarchies and across disciplines and institutions. potential to be harnessed and the free flow of possibilities to be turned into inventions. Increasingly it is those that frame regulations and standards who affect the way a city infrastructure is delivered. If the culture of a city.398 The Art of City-Making The task of contemporary planners. Even here. given the dramatic impact their professional practice has. There is a need to gain knowledge prior to the formulation of a brief for master-planning from as many different sources as possible: a mosaic of knowledge gathered from people of different ages. listening and a strong degree of equality. the invention of weapons and advances in aerospace in wartime happened in secret. a large proportion of public realm infrastructure is created not by the city but by private sector developers. This presents a challenge to city officials. who must establish a clear vision for the city and evolve strong planning criteria to influence the work of others. region or country is autocratic or corrupt. They should be culturally literate. Creativity is culturally and contextually determined The capacity to be creative is culturally determined. cultures and associations with place. though. Rigid hierarchy also makes creativity more difficult as creativity relies on tolerance. architects and urban designers is to help build rich textures that draw from the past but are living expressions of contemporary life. Yet it is not always city planners and designers who have primary influence over the look and feel of the built environment. . The same is true for scientific discoveries.

For the West. making areas ‘safe’ for others who are less adventurous to follow. so the Western perception of creativity tends to dominate. Artists in particular need larger spaces to work that now equally attract creative industry sector workers. Creative property development Property prices are central to developing a creativity strategy. a lack of symmetry is what creates perfection. Chilean and Norwegian creativity work on different principles? Are these then visible in the urban landscape? Creativity is context-driven. The constant search for low rents or property values is what drives the movement of people around a city. such as the public health advances in the 19th century. Chile or indeed any country. clothes or heritage. What was creative in a period long past is not creative now. Whether they like it or not. for instance. these creative types act as the vanguard of gentrification. within certain cultures good imitation is deemed to be the apex of creativity. symmetry is associated with harmony and has a high value. What is creative in Britain may not be creative for Malaysia and. However. In Japan. The imagination is then steered to producing with perfection. over the last 25 years it is precisely these places that are attracting non-artists in search of a hip lifestyle. Young innovators and start-up companies need low prices to get going. especially given that the overriding capitalist economy itself is driven by the need for continuous innovation.Creative Cities for the World 399 Creativity means different things in different cultures. To the Japanese eye. The answer should be beyond trivial concerns such as differences in cuisine. As global culture is swept up with a similar obsession. Does Japanese. in turn. Inevitably this pushes them to explore older factories whose future is not yet determined yet which afford generous working space. The challenge is to create a working definition of creativity that addresses both tradition and the future as well as a quality of nurturing the existing and pushes the boundaries into the new. ‘What is Japanese creativity?’ What is the same as in other Asian places. one would need to ask. Europe or the Americas? What is specific and unique about it and what is different? The same would be true for Norway. what is deemed creative in Malaysia may appear ordinary in Britain. For instance. And again perfection is also a relative term. although it may still be necessary. In Western culture there is also an obsession with the new. Practically all of .

But to think through and implement a creative city agenda is of a different order of magnitude as it involves conjoining the interests and power of different groups. for example the capacity to think across boundaries. pushing up prices. it is difficult to imagine trendsetters in 20 years’ time searching out a shed lifestyle. Artists then move to discover new areas. Creativity and the past So if the overall culture of a city is central to establishing creative potential. and it can give insight and generate pride because it has withstood the test of time – it is still there. to roam across disciplines. reduce obstacles and procedures so as to allow many people to contribute. it can overwhelm. These processes of gentrification are a double-edged sword. ideas and concepts. heritage and tradition can put a weight on peoples’ shoulders. Perhaps the outer urban estates unloved by most will be their next target? Individual creativity and urban creativity We understand what creativity can mean in the context of individuals. who may be diametrically opposed and whose goals may contradict each other. to develop civic creativity. The equivalent industrial buildings today are shortlife industrial sheds. it can force the mind to go along familiar patterns and furrows of thinking and so make people less open and less flexible. to learn to work in partnership between different sectors that share mutual respect. As I mentioned earlier. It involves certain qualities: the capacity to bring interest groups around the table within a commonly agreed agenda. it can save time because much has already been thought through. which makes upscale development possible. most importantly. it can trigger the desire to emulate. . to grasp the essence of an issue. it can constrain and contain. it can give energy because deep thought has gone into its creation.400 The Art of City-Making these buildings have been reused in the more central areas of the major cities. heritage can inspire because of past achievements. and. yet also pushing out those who gave a place an interesting flavour in the first place. what about cultural heritage? The triggers for creativity can be contradictory. and to connect the seemingly unconnected. which is the capacity to draw out individuals’ diverse talents. For example. and meld potential into a cohesive whole. open out the barriers between individuals. or in the context of teams or organizations. But. equally.

as a place’s culture is the residue deemed to be important after the ebb and flow of argument. This is why museums and galleries that encourage the audience to ask new questions and do more than just let the viewer admire are often more successful. our community. our cultures and even our worlds into a bigger human and natural history. the past and the present disengage from one another. In so doing they show us the routes that reconnect us to our roots. Confidence is key for creativity. By triggering imagination. Culture then becomes a defensive shield not open to change. for chance . often giving the city its identity. Heritage works best when we perceive ourselves to be part of its continual creation. immutable canon. our country. Contrast this with the failure of those who just present things as a given. galleries and libraries can provide confidence. our city. they go into their shell. it might mean heritage and tradition is drowning a vibrant emerging identity. to see the world in a new way or to experience things that require imagination to grasp. Culture inevitably involves a past. If the new generation perceives its role as only safeguarding a past to which it had no input. museums entice us to explore. so providing opportunities for testing out. They do this through storytelling. anchoring and creativity Museums. where we have come from and where we might be going. imagination and creativity. bridges and threads that can enrich our understanding. fashion and negotiation about what is valuable has passed. At their best these tell us who we are.Creative Cities for the World 401 Which side of the coin overrides the situation depends on circumstance. Culture when acknowledged – and this might also mean the ability to reject it – gives strength in moving forward. with stories that fit us. showing us connections. When cultures feel threatened or weak or when other cultures are superimposing themselves upon them. Cultural institutions. it is often a cultural facility or icons they refer to. When heritage and its interpretation are allowed to ossify. They engage their audiences in an act of cocreation and co-interpretation of the past. Museums and galleries confront us with some things that are familiar and comforting while at other times challenge us to look afresh. It becomes a backbone that can create the resilience that makes change and transformation easier. when you ask people to identify a city. Some museums also allow us to contribute our personal stories in an act of co-creation. Indeed.

for discovery and for inventing things afresh. And the physical elevations themselves spoke in a more grandiose style. museums and galleries are involved in an exchange of ideas where we as the visitors come to grips with displays. When we take an eagle’s eye view. discourse and debate. libraries and galleries become platforms for dialogue. with what could be and what others have thought. Yet good contemporary design has often helped museums to combine old structure with new ways of engaging an audience. such as Madame de Pompadour – Images of Mistress exhibition at the National Gallery in London or the Bodyworks exhibition. ideally real. or what those of others are. so we think about what we value and what our values are. at the crossroads of what has gone before. the object or artefact. often going back to a classical age with their Corinthian columns. the visitors. In these processes of creating. of imagining and reimagining and of discovery. is the catalyst. we see there is a special museumness about museums or a librariness about libraries. museums. which uses human body parts presented in a non-museum space.402 The Art of City-Making encounter. They are: . Again the best of the old and the new can communicate iconically so that we grasp the totality of what a cultural institution is about in an instant. Today we attempt to live in a more transparent and democratic age. In fact the cultural institutions communicate with every fibre of their being – not only their artefacts. lightweight steel or tented structures – or in the way audiences are invited in. more buildings reflect a greater lightness of touch in the materials they use – glass. What they feel like and look like sends out innumerable messages and their values are especially etched into their physical fabric as well as into their programming. In effect we converse either with ourselves or more publicly about what our culture is. There are thousands of examples. At their core. Thus our older museums often speak more to a former age – an age of deference where the expert told the inexpert what to know and how to know it and where you – the humble citizen – were to be elevated by the museum experience. Consequently. By placing us. but also their setting and the way they project to the outside world. questioning and anchoring identity. reflecting a different kind of confidence and attitude. revealing the multilayered textures that make up any society.

Juxtaposing the two creates dialogue. our awareness of climate change. performing music and drawing. places of possibility. pollution and the ways to overcome these problems would not be possible without science. and the creativity of cities Most of the literature on creativity concerns the arts and sciences. Perhaps most of all it is the outside-the-box. And arts create enjoyment. argument and at times even conflict. A static urban culture just focuses on what has been achieved in the past. Artists can be interpreters of reality. fears and prejudices. ecological balance. which is why so often in a world that speeds ahead of us we see museums as refuges or places of reflection. lateral thinking and use of imagination present in the arts that is the most valuable thing they can offer other disciplines like planning. our surroundings. places of inspiration. whose beauty has become a prison. letting us scour the resources of the past and memories to stimulate us to twist them to the contemporary condition. ideals and aspirations we have made for ourselves and continue to make. • • • • And when these things come together we know more about ourselves. Importantly a lively city needs both old arts and new arts. The arts help cities with their aesthetic focus and then challenge us to ask questions about ourselves as a city and our hopes. places of connection. especially if allied to other emphases. chemistry. The question is whether there is anything special about the categories of arts. Equally. The negotiation as to what is significant is the process of making a dynamic culture. physics? Science and technology are immensely important. to remind us of the visions. such as singing. dancing. what things work or don’t work and how things could be made better. and places of learning. leaders and visionaries. in relation to the development of the city. what is special about biology. such as a focus on local distinctiveness. so enabling understanding of our pasts and possible futures. like Florence.Creative Cities for the World 403 • places of anchorage. For example. This has happened to many beautiful places. engineering and social services. Arts and sciences. writing. acting. .

designer fashion.404 The Art of City-Making On closer examination. Its assumption and philosophy is that there is always more potential in a city than we imagine at first. a precondition for cities to foster inventiveness. It is possible to fund an innovation incubator out of public funds. In addition they focus on fostering the creative industries. Clearly artistic creativity has its own special form. art. film and video. as the creative city concept is all-embracing. too. a regard for tolerance. It implies. such as social. interactive leisure software. The creative city idea is all-embracing This is a pity. as has already been noted. Indeed it would be great if artistic thinking fused itself into how traffic engineers. publishing. This is fine as far as it goes. plan and act with imagination. this is not what the ‘creative city’ agenda should be exclusively concerned with – it is merely an important aspect. There is little work on the creativity of solving urban problems or urban development or on the creative approaches to thinking about science and technology. so giving people the sense that there is opportunity. television. However. radio. important as these are. It is possible to put the highway underground. architecture. . and software creation. The style and ethos of such a place is one where a ‘yes’ rather than a ‘no’ attitude is likely to prevail. such as advertising. planners and others thought about their city. It is a clarion call to encourage open-mindedness and imagination from whatever source. the performing arts. There is also a wealth of work on business creativity. crafts. and the artistic community has been astute in putting itself at the centre of that debate. public sector or bureaucratic creativity. This implies a massive opening out process and has a dramatic impact on a city’s organizational culture. music. It posits that conditions should be created in places for people to think. Creativity is legitimized in the arts and assumed to be a core attribute of what being an artist is about. design. A large proportion over the last decades have focused on artistic creativity (and this includes much of what is covered within the creative industries) and neglect most other forms. Think of all the books on creativity. most city strategies and plans that call themselves ‘creative’ are in fact only concerned with strengthening the arts and cultural fabric. It is possible to develop a passionate participatory culture.

traffic jams. scientists. I focus on this type of inventiveness because it is perhaps more significant than the creativity we usually focus on. then. Vitality and vibrancy help creativity. Who is the author of a city’s experience? A corporation headquartered far away that has decided a theme will work in your city. These resources might include an idea we have that reworks a tradition. social entrepreneurs or public servants in solving problems highlights the potential – and many of these activities are deemed to be dull. as most creativity is a response to local circumstance. This takes the emphasis away from a continual concern with the new. because you have the right demographics? ‘Authentic’ remains a difficult term. These. pollution and enhancing the visual environment. ordinary people can make the extraordinary happen. The principle that underlies so much creativity is giving power to those affected by what you do.Creative Cities for the World 405 The creative city idea claims that if conditions are right. Enemies of the creative city Being creative is a fragile affair. It asks instead what is unique. Information overload is another problem for being a creative . Too much can end up as noise and whirr and there is no chance for focus and reflection. business people. or a type of technology which themselves might be the basis of a new creative industry. it could be an old industrial sector. Creativity. such as textile or ceramics. special or different about a place. yet whatever its definitional vagaries it is more about controlling the creation of your experiences than the reverse. These other creatives harness opportunities and address seemingly intractable urban problems like homelessness. Great cities can provide opportunities for the breadth of human emotion. given the chance. authorship and local distinctiveness Underlying much of the creative city debate is local distinctiveness. It might include a tradition of learning expressed in a university. It requires seemingly contradictory conditions such as stimulation and calm. but only up to a point. Here a glance at the inventiveness of social workers. such as new music. The creativity debate itself emerged against the backdrop of reinvigorated globalization and the tendency towards homogeneity. are some of the main resources a city can use to project its identity and to position itself in the wider world. that can be reinvented anew. graphics or fashion trends.

Too often there is a blandness and sameness masquerading as difference and excitement: 30. branded or otherwise earmarked for corporate use. airwaves. just because it appears funky. too. Being creative has a forward ring and it appears to be about the new and inventive. as fashion. It is hard to think of any area of urban space which isn’t in some way sponsored. as controversial for its own sake: attributes without substance.74 ad nauseum. a concept. Physical space. And business too is tripping over itself to attract creativity in the ‘war for talent’. sport. a third of the size of Amsterdam.000 McDonald’s with their 50 million customers daily. But should this be so? The creative impulse can be negative. as can a deep new insight about human personality. . as edgy. An imitative.73 5000 Wal-Marts with a total occupied retail space of over 50km2. but this is not what we see in most streets. The best cultured people seek to understand the present and are focused on the future too. Compare the visual landscape of cities today with 30 years ago. ‘Cultured’ appears to have an old-fashioned ring and backward look. Creative as a word. Is creativity positive? The word ‘creativity’ is imbued almost exclusively with positive connotations. about being on the pace – it seems to be glamorous. formulaic design might be called creative. cultural events and performances: all are on the advertiser’s easel. With so much creativity cities should be exciting. The purpose and goal of creativity is as important as the process of being creative. Speed is another problem. This need not be so. with its usual blast of unconnected information where one rarely comprehends a story in its completeness. The capacity to reflect is central to imagining and innovation. as a desirable state or aspiration has taken over from the word ‘cultured’. a fragmented clutter of out-of-context facts leads to confusion rather than clarity of thought and the hyper-mediated world does not help.406 The Art of City-Making city. Companies frequently claim how creative they are. Importantly. downtowns or neighbourhoods. These are also some of the superficial ways in which society ‘values’ creativity – as style. Ad-creep is everywhere. It can produce weapons that kill as well as medicines that cure. Being continuously fast works against reflection and things simply become a blur. both the trivial and the profound are equally called creative.

Creative Cities for the World 407 Creativity defined Creativity is applied imagination using intelligence and all kinds of mental attributes along the way in order to foster continuous learning. like New York. but it asks them to operate in a different way. choices and a pool of ideas. its organizations and its power structures. rather than the centre of it’. But what about landlocked cities around the world that feature as innovative hubs. This process of allowing divergent thinking to occur within the worlds of specialists and those who find this approach more natural generates multiple options. In the first. Legitimizing the use of imagination in the way the city operates generates an ideas bank of possibilities. This is not to put down the specialist. Where are the creative places? Many places considered creative. which narrows down possibilities from which innovations emerge once they have gone through the reality checker. not static. when someone tries hard to succeed but fails. It is dynamic. and it is concerned with the mindset predominant in a city. In complex urban problems. are port cities. . They remain hubs even in the age of air transit as they have maintained their status as communication nodal points. The creative city idea is an ongoing process and way of going about things. solutions are often discovered at the boundaries of what we know and when each specialist discipline works at its boundaries. It suggests that a culture of creativity should be embedded into the texture of how the city operates. London. Today many cities we consider interesting are city states like Hong Kong and Singapore. This implies a more open attitude to failure and distinguishing between competent and incompetent failure. The reason is that the shaft-like focus of a narrow discipline tends to reveal less and less and give less insight as we become clearer that things are inextricably interconnected. Hong Kong and Sydney. It is ‘thinking at the edge of one’s competence. like Munich. that is into its community members. Perhaps being a small nation allows a place to generate more impact. not an end result. It needs aligning to convergent thinking. as it is not concerned with a vast hinterland. there is substantial learning going on which creates the foundations for possible success in the future.

The environment does not stimulate inventiveness. Suburban creativity? Can the suburbs be creative? Suburbs are normally seen as dull. Los Angeles and the media industry. John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi for almost 20 years at ‘Mendips’. or Schwabing in Munich. is regarded as the ‘punk rock movie’. and Zurich and banking. Shanghai and Buenos Aires. New Jersey. All these places are attractors and to sustain their creative power they need economic. can be counted on the fingers of one hand. New York. yet increasingly the reality is different. Comprehensive creativity Very few places are comprehensively creative. 251 Menlove Avenue. It is the combination of these factors that drives their . Austin. a science park or a village within a city that has reputation for inventiveness. Madrid and Curitiba? Soon. but instead suits families bringing up children. technological. Liverpool. However. once a very creative place. Think of New York’s Greenwich Village. Instead it may be an inner city living area. Punk’s origin as an outgrowth of suburbia is well documented. a light industrial rim. while the suburban physical setting may be focused on comfort and convenience rather than being inspiring. and where the sheer weight of creatives dominates the urban scene in a sustained way.408 The Art of City-Making Berlin. currently. however. say. say 150 or 200 years. reactions to it often spark inventiveness. Mick Jagger in Dartford and Bruce Springsteen in Freehold. One example is the number of pop stars that were born in very ordinary places. cultural and even political status and pull. but every city can be more creative than it is. The city core may simply be a lifeless institutional zone. it is said. Over the next decades they may be joined by others such as Mumbai. Amsterdam and Tokyo. For example Milan and fashion. 50 to 100 years. those cities which can make the most of their airport hubs will become the exchange centres of the 21st century. Those with a global reputation over a long time period. Within cities we often think of city centres as cores of creativity. Indeed the film Suburbia in which Penelope Spheeris explored the world of alienated suburban teenagers. At a slightly lower level there are places strong in niches that can be sustained over periods of. deflating and boring. Stockholm and public infrastructure. London. They may include.

such as music or film.Creative Cities for the World 409 drawing power. even though a substantial museum and educational infrastructure helps in generating future innovative capacity. During the 1950s. or that of its alternative scene. whose resonance remains in the public imagination. City Lights was an important publisher of beat generation literature. whose embodiment was found in Haight Ashbury. The faddish nature of the media plays a significant role as to which cities we believe to be creative. then Prague and Budapest. Take San Francisco. today. too. This is the fashion roundabout and obscures a deeper assessment of the true nature of potential in any given city. then Helsinki and Ljubljana. The cultural scene appears in its media incarnation as exciting. are focused on the key drivers of future wealth creation. often built on the back of existing universities or cutting-edge companies. the tens of thousands of textile samples in the Victorian and Albert museum in London have for decades provided inspiration to young designers. At one moment Mumbai is the creative hub. the next it is Taipei that is suddenly creative. Its long drawn out creativity since the 1906 earthquake reached a certain apex in the summer of love of 1967. and can assess honestly and strategically their city’s relative positioning and potential assets in a broad-minded way. rather than its creative capacities in science. followed by Seoul or Buenos Aires or Accra and now Moscow. engineering or technology and other spheres where reputations take a longer time to evolve. For example. a public sector setting and organizations that think long term. research and business and their results appear less glamorous. possibly only for a short period. cities have creative bursts. In Europe Barcelona was the city for a long moment. the city became a magnet for counter-cultures in the second half of the 20th century. Long enjoying a bohemian reputation. These rely on infrastructure in education. San Francisco was the centre of hippie and other alternative culture. They need. yet it is fickle and is subject to fads and fashions. The ‘San Francisco sound’ emerged as an influential force in rock music. Today a city’s creativity is usually judged by its arts and cultural sector scene. To sustain their positions they need to attract or develop leading research institutes. Bursts of creativity Looking back through history. acting as a reinforcing agent to bring in talent and to generate talent endogenously. and cities move in and out of the news at a dizzying speed. associated with acts such as Jefferson Airplane .

gentrified area. ex-industrial warehouses are turning from hubs of invention to upscale apartments. creating innovations in lifestyles. new areas emerged. Haight Ashbury lives awkwardly with its memories and is now merely a souvenir boom and growth of the internet. In effect. The late 1960s brought a new wave of more radical lesbians and gays to the city. left-wing centre.410 The Art of City-Making and the Grateful Dead. The hippie shops sit oddly in an increasingly middle-class. when thousands of gay male soldiers spent time in the city. These movements shaped the world and pushed at the edge. its self-confidence dented. They blurred the boundaries between folk. although there is a danger of tourism taking from the city rather than giving any creative force crash hollowed out much of the industry that had grown up in SoMa (South of the Market). considered the first successful adaptive reuse of an industrial building in 1964. Already known as a gay mecca at the beginning of the 20th century. Without economic. Many of those funky. the city has immense drawing power and creative initiatives and projects still abound. attracted by its reputation as a radical. In spite of everything. Yet much of the creativity disappeared as the dot. Ebb and flow The San Francisco story is repeated a thousandfold elsewhere. this was reinforced during World War II. political or cultural centrality which retains endogenous talent and attracts external talent. its memories and its past. to Los Angeles and beyond. The creative impulses ebb and flow and depend on fortunate coinci- . True. Ghiardelli Square. During the 1980s and 1990s San Francisco became a major focal point in the North American – and international – punk. But in the 1980s the AIDS virus wreaked havoc on the gay male community. is now a tourist mecca with little creative energy. In the 1990s San Francisco was also a centre of the dot. but the new media epicentre has shifted elsewhere. it is difficult to maintain a global position of creative power. Castro inevitably declined. thrash metal and rave scenes. the internet pioneers made the area safe for the next wave of gentrifiers. products and services along the way. such as SoMa. rock and jazz and enhanced rock’s lyrical content. These were the prime movers of gay liberation and they made the Castro neighbourhood the gay mecca of the world. So the city increasingly resonates in its beauty. The remaining old and occasional new hippies look bereft of purpose.

which change over time. The media is also. This is because power battles can drown out the ability to innovate. which make it difficult for people to get on to the first ladder of opportunity. entertainment centres. perhaps. so linking to the city’s technological innovativeness. The existing mainstream will be powerful in whatever sphere and will tend to encourage a creativity it can nurture and control and that feels tried and tested. offered a naff Eastern European interpretation of Western rock ‘n’ roll. while the municipality is opening out. On the other hand. too attentive. They later extended their activities to films. but for creativity to build upon itself and become self-reinforcing it needs a milieu where people. On occasion. resources and encouragement can come together. so projecting a sense that Helsinki could just be what it wanted to be. At one moment the university may turn its back on its city. in such power centres some of the newest ideas will be found in the largest museums.000 people. Their initial joke. The joke from the outset was that they were ‘the worst rock ‘n’ roll band in the world’ who. restaurants and megastores. was self-effacing yet confident. economic and cultural power agglomerates in one place. too. There is always a lead and lag situation. Power and creativity When political. galleries. In another phase the roles may be reversed. an open institutional setting and various power brokers are in good alignment. with their striking unicorn hairstyles and long pointed shoes. a set of individuals may burst through. universities and company headquarters. Playing on the irony of Finland’s past Russian connection. sponsored by Nokia. but it is rarer for all aspects of openness to come together so that the city feels full of possibility. as can high property prices. Usually cities are open in parts and closed in others. or else the business sector is neutral and little concerned about the strategic future of the city. setting the tone for the city. reaching far beyond their area of expertise. it can act as an incapacitator and a means of reducing potential for certain kinds of creativity. shopping centres. . Individual acts of creativity naturally occur without propitious situations. they performed with the Red Army Choir in the famous Total Balalaika Show in Helsinki’s Senate Square in 1993 in a breakthrough concert in front of 70. while increasingly unfunny as they themselves recognized. endangering the fragile equilibrium of innovation. as did the zany group Leningrad Cowboys for Helsinki.Creative Cities for the World 411 dences of circumstance where creative individuals.

successful and wealthy people. Crucially. capital cities have the greatest capacity to insert themselves into global arenas. resources and organizations. most obviously initially through political structures like embassies. . Once a tipping point is reached whereby a city gets its dominant position. but if international recognition is important. These in turn attract the most aspiring. The first contemporary art galleries in the sense we understand them today were in Lodz in Poland and later Hannover in Germany. the agglomeration of resources. When allied to the city’s economic and foreign policy it is a potent mix. which makes it difficult for other cities to break in. Once launched. Nationally and regionally they may be significant.75 many historically innovative cities. rather than in Warsaw or Berlin. Inchon and Gwangju. The difficulty for the smaller. The point is that every city can be more creative than it currently is and the task for the city wanting to be creative is to identify. promote. upstart city is inserting itself into international circuits and meeting the aspirations for their creatives once initial success has been achieved. especially in smaller countries. Memphis and Glasgow. Furthermore. Smaller cities can try out things a central city may find unimportant. harness. such as Los Angeles (at least initially). Away from the spotlight Yet being away from the spotlight can have its advantages. where the core city might have 25 per cent of the population. the core city will find it difficult to operate in every sphere. This makes it doubly difficult for Busan. this tends to escalate. as Peter Hall points out. let alone Jeonju or Pyeongtaek. something unique yet internationally recognized or a strong niche area is vital. Seoul. trade missions and other representative structures. has just over 20 per cent of South Korea’s population and to a large extent determines the global identity of the nation. nurtured their talents and experiments away from the central hub. Indeed. Daegu. attract and sustain talent and to mobilize ideas. thereby sucking in the talent from surrounding areas and draining the identity and potential of those places. nurture. for example. to insert themselves into international circuits and gain recognition.412 The Art of City-Making because the power brokers and the ambitious will feel it is their right to have them there. talent and power accelerates and reaches a critical mass.

which is why nearby San Francisco is so important as a playground to stimulate the senses. There may be a few superleaders. They acknowledge that a creative place needs many leaders. It is a mindset that holds back at first. listens. It understands the flow of human personality. Creative cities. Soft creativity Soft creativity is perhaps the next wave to think about. if there are unique local transport schemes such as the dolmus in Turkey. For instance. reflects and examines. the physical environment they have created out of Silicon Valley is quite unappealing and soulless. psychology and nature. should have an ethical purpose that guides and directs the mass of energies present in most places. For example. It bends like the reed and moves with the wind and is not rigid like the rod. Fundamentalism does not help develop the imagination because everything has already been imagined. They take measured risks and push boundaries. the city would support it and make it easier to work within existing habits rather than subcontract care to private companies. Places can develop creative initiatives without such a framework. however. They know where they are going and have a vision that in broad terms is agreed by key players. but their essential role is to pave the way for others to achieve things and to trade their power for influence.Creative Cities for the World 413 Qualities of creative places Creative places are able to overcome many obstacles as resilience is one of their key qualities. The ethical code is more likely to be based on secular principles which guarantee freedom of enquiry and tolerance and where the state and religion are separated. but I would not call places like that ‘creative cities’. to grow economically but to focus on sustainability. a cross between a taxi and a bus operating on fixed routes. It is the tai chi of creativity. . if there is a tradition of care for the elderly such as that in Mediterranean countries. It does not see technology as the knee-jerk solution to any intractable problem. Equally. These ethical goals might be to both generate wealth and reduce inequalities. It tries to find solutions that go with the grain of a local culture and its attitudes. or to focus on local distinctiveness. in my definition. It is an imagination that works with culture’s and nature’s resources and not against them. This implies bending the market to public good objectives. you would not superimpose another system on this national institution. Silicon Valley has intense creativity in a series of narrow engineering-based fields and this has transformed how the world works.

and organizational capacity. innovativeness. the business environment. social. competitiveness.414 The Art of City-Making Indicators of creativity We live in an age of measurement. Creativity is an input to innovation and makes innovations more likely to happen. This would enable communities of people or interests to flexibly develop ideas or products that in a proprietary world are guarded. redistribute and modify the source code for a piece of software. diversity. A place cannot be innovative without first being creative. cultural and environmental spheres. making things work in reality. security. These include critical mass. Vitality is measured by assessing a range of factors across the economic. exploratory. linkage and synergy. It has strong unpredictability. identity and distinctiveness. accessibility. This is why the ‘creative commons’ and open-source movements79 argue there should be flexible copyright licences for creative works or access to source codes in software to allow for multiple developments.78 These include the percentage of patent registrations developed in a city – insisting on copyrights and intellectual property or registering too many minor patents. The idea behind ‘open source’ is that when programmers can read. which leads to their viability. if not sufficient indicators. though. the software evolves. because people improve it. Therefore it is better to assess the characteristics and preconditions that allow places in principle to be creative. considering. The intent is to avoid the problems current copyright laws create for sharing information. civil society and public space.76 The openness indicators were reviewed in Chapter 5. The central features of creative places are their openness and their vitality. These are necessary. Importantly. yet being creative is often about bending rules. Creativity is a divergent. Traditional indicators of innovative strength may in fact hinder creativity.77 The creative commons and open source We need to be watchful of merging indicators of innovativeness and creativity. can reduce options and possibilities for others. It may be a chimera to look for the sufficient conditions. doing things differently or rethinking possibilities. including assessments of the institutional framework. for example in a technological field. opening out process and innovation results from a process of closing down and narrowing in. Creative commons licences allow copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others. innovations need the tenacity and spark of the initial creative work. adapt it and .

in which only a few programmers can see the source. When taken seriously it is a challenge to existing organizational structures. Intellectual property rights prolong innovators’ monopolies. Because sole ownership of an innovation bestows monopoly power. the capacity to see parts and the whole simultaneously. But unlike monopolies in standard economic theory. The creative city notion is about a journey of becoming. Companies that show more evidence of innovation post better financial performance results and have higher share prices. power configurations and habitual ways of doing things. Countries that show more evidence of innovation are richer and grow faster. This develops software much faster than the conventional closed models and methods. not a fixed state of affairs. Overuse. now there is the view that they slow things down. Cities tend to restrict its meaning. But: In a knowledge-based economy. I supply this section with some trepidation. Below I describe a possible agenda for getting the creative show on the road. So high patent counts do not necessarily mean a high level of innovation. Their monopolies reward their investment in innovation. for they last only until another innovator makes yesterday’s innovation obsolete. the primary competition is competition to innovate first. chewed up and thrown out until the next big slogan comes along. innovation-based monopolies are temporary. The creativity of the creative city is about lateral and horizontal thinking. since much . Where next? The creative city has now become a catch-all phrase in danger of losing its bite and obliterating the reasons why the idea emerged in the first place. not competition to cut prices as standard economics posits.Creative Cities for the World 415 fix bugs.80 In the past economists have assumed that intellectual property rights encourage more innovation by increasing economic rewards. hype and the tendency for cities to adopt the term without thinking through its real consequences could mean that the notion becomes hollowed out. the economic laws of perfect competition do not govern innovators.

Undertake a creativity and obstacles audit to: • describe the nature and extent of creative activity within public. research organizations. • assess honestly the obstacles to developing creativity in the region. wholly or partially. regard the following as a proposal upon which you can ponder and. As such. The recent focus on creativity has been on the arts and the technocratic. arising from being able to use and mobilize creativity and extract value from knowledge. Clarify what creativity means for the city by: • coming to a consensus on what creativity is. Possible first steps To get a creative platform going requires a group of influential partners in the city to recognize its importance. institutions and individuals already operate in the region.416 The Art of City-Making of this book has talked about breaking away from bureaucratic procedure and challenging outdated modes of thinking. Creativity is both generic – a way of . • summarizing its importance to the main city players. specific courses within an educational establishment or an initiative undertaken by an individual. A preliminary audit with those partners would discover that a number of creative initiatives. private and not-for-profit entities in the city region. Its essence is a multifaceted resourcefulness. accept or reject. leading to a focus on IT-driven innovations and business clusters. The crucial recognition of today’s movement is that evolving a creative economy also requires a social and organizational creativity that enables imagination to occur and which should imbue the whole system. this might be established companies. • identify potential sources of future creative action. creativity then becomes a general problem-solving and opportunity-creating capacity. and • identifying some role models from other places to act as inspiration. and • spell out the shift from natural advantage (arising from access to more plentiful and cheap natural resources and labour)