Each year, the Global Cultural Districts Network curates cultural conversations relevant to the Summit’s overall theme,
focusing discussions on the role of cultural centers and cultural districts in transforming the urban landscape.

The GCDN convened in Jakarta in June 2015, with a pre-conference dedicated to discussions about cultural districts around the globe, and curated several sessions focused on arts and culture in cities within the larger context of the Summit.

If you are interested in learning more about GCDN, please contact info@gcdn.net 


June 8-11, 2015

GCDN Pre-Conference – June 8, 2015

Cultural Districts: Why all this activity?

Introduced by Adrian Ellis, Director, Global Cultural Districts Network

Many cities have turned to the creation of cultural districts as a way to assert their identities and compete in an ever globalized world. AEA Consulting has identified that some $US250 billion has been committed to investment in arts districts around the world in the next fifteen years. These projects are difficult to get right and expensive to get wrong. What can we learn from successful districts and what challenges remain for those still in their planning phases? This session will review the current building boom of cultural districts and discuss those common issues faced by planners and leaders of cultural districts.

Finding the balance: Cultural districts within their communities.
Moderator: Catherine Cuellar, Chief Executive Officer, Dallas Arts District
Panelists:Marina Guo, Director of International Programs at the School of Creative Studies, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Eric Lefebvre, Director of Strategic Development, Quartier des Spectacles
Carroll Joynes, Senior Fellow, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Cultural districts, like many of the cultural institutions located in them, are rhetorically inclusive, providing a place that appeals alike to tourists and to the local community. Here, aspirations for high-end residential and commercial real estate go hand in hand with outreach to disadvantaged communities; cultural consumption thrives alongside cultural production (where low or subsidized rents are a necessity). Are there effective strategies that help to ensure that this complex balance is maintained? What are they? And what powers are required to implement them and make them function effectively?

Questions? Email info@gcdn.net

Cultural Conversations at the New Cities Summit


Animating Our Public Spaces

June 9
Informal public performance, street festivals, intelligent lighting, and large scale public art works … these often ‘light touches’ make a critical difference to the character of public spaces and the emotional resonance they have for visitors and locals alike, how people move and gather. What are the lessons to be learned from the successful animation and humanization of our public spaces through intelligent design and programming? What curatorial strategies are effective and why? What makes people want to hang out?  What is the contribution of new technologies to responsive animation? How to we design our pubic spaces with sensitivity to these potentialities?

Moderator: Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art; Co-Chair, GCDN; Chair, Dallas Arts District

Theresa Famularo, Founder & Director, Cre8ion, Australia
Leslie Koch, President, Trust for Governors Island, New York
Gianluca Racana, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects
Marcus Westbury, Founder/Creative Director, Renew Newcastle, Australia

Veni, Vidi, Vici – Cultural Tourism in the Century of Cities

June 10
Cultural tourism has become a lynchpin in the economic life of our cities and we compete to make the most compelling ‘offer’ to mobile, often fickle visitors, grounded on the historical and contemporary cultural assets, festivals and art fairs. What does success look like? How to we manage the risks and exposures that dependence on a fickle international clientele creates? How much is enough? How do we balance the needs of the local population and those of the visitor? What do those tourists really want?

Moderator: Alan Chong, Director, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore


Marina Guo, Head of Arts Management, School of Creative Studies, Shanghai Theatre Academy; Vice Director, John Howkins Research Center on Creative Economy
Purba Hutapea, Executive Director, Tourism and Culture Office, City of Jakarta
Joe Sidek, Director, George Town Festival, Malaysia
JT Singh, JT Singh Labs, Shanghai

Discover the Full Summit Speaker Program here.


 Read more about last year’s cultural thread here.

Follow the conversation on Twitter: @newcitiesfound @GCDNet #ncs2015

Jakarta Skyline © Daniel Cheong