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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 10:14:39
For all the continuing popularity of the suburbs and comfortable towns within commuting distance of the likes of New York and London for families looking for somewhere safe, convenient and offering easy access to the countryside, many cities are successfully reinventing themselves. Not least because of the growing belief in these environmentally-conscious times that city life – with its plentiful public transport, encouragement of cycling and denser housing – is in many ways “greener” than that in villages and small towns. Add to this the dynamism and excitement that results from having lots of people from different cultures and backgrounds thrown together and the attractions become clearer. Even the traditional balancing factors of high crime rates and poor transport are in many cases – such as New York and London – less of an issue than they were thanks to strong civic leadership and, it has to be said, the drive of citizens determined to improve their surroundings in ways that are not always apparent out of town.
This turnaround in attitudes owes much to the work of Charles Landry, a pioneer in developing the concept of the “creative city”. But, as he states, more and more cities call themselves creative when all they really mean is that they have a strong cultural and creative economy infrastructure as well as a large creative class. Urban creativity has far wider scope than this. “A creative city is a place where people feel they can fulfil themselves, there are opportunities. Things get done,” he says. “It is a place where people can express their diverse talents which are harnessed, exploited and promoted for the common good.”
Although Landry and his Comedia organisation have done extensive work around the world – in places as diverse as Glasgow and Bilbao – on helping cities make themselves more creative, it is clear that a lot of the things that make places attractive to the people that give a city its vibrancy and cultural strength cannot easily be planned.
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