GCDN and AEA in Montreal for GSEF

Adrian Ellis, Director of AEA Consulting and GCDN, and Jessica Ferey, Deputy Director of GCDN, were invited to speak at a panel hosted by the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal, in conjunction with the Global Social Economy Forum in Montreal.

The session, titled “Animation and Appropriation of Public Spaces,” included an overview of projects in public spaces from Quebec, Canada, and wider international perspectives. Following the presentation of case studies, panelists answered questions around the inspiration for these projects and the rising trend in placemaking around the world; how to evaluate the success of these projects, and what future trends might look like.

Presenters and panelists included:
Frédérique Corson, researcher, Event Design, UQAM
Lyndsay Daudier, Deputy Director for Development and Partnerships, Amplifier Montréal
Jessica Ferey, Deputy Director, Global Cultural Districts Network
Rami Bebawi, Architect, Kanva
Pascale Daigle, Programming Director, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Adrian Ellis, Director, AEA Consulting and Global Cultural Districts Network
Véronique Fournier, General Director, Center for Urban Ecology

GCDN Director, Adrian Ellis, on cultural districts in Brunswick Review

Culture Club
by Adrian Ellis | April 2016: Brunswick Review Issue 10

For a cultural center to work it’s not just the buildings that matter, says Adrian Ellis, it’s everything in between that really counts.

Cultural districts – quarters with a high density of art galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls – have become the anchors of a formidable swathe of urban development projects around the world from Rio to Montreal, Helsinki to Melbourne, Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi. Many more are in the pipeline.

These “top down” exercises often get bad press in the mistaken belief that the great cities they seek to emulate such as Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York and London were organic, slo-mo, naturally occurring phenomena that cannot and should not be manufactured. How nouveau riche to try…

This is, of course, to misunderstand, – often with a daft, sniffy hauteur – how those cities took their shape and character, which was through forceful top-down planning. Haussmann, Nash and Schinkel were planners and architects of ruthless self-confidence and with an almost totalitarian mandate, expunging the past and the present with barely a thought. In contrast, cultural districts are now usually planned, even in the least consultative of political cultures, with agonized attention (rhetorical or real) to community input and vigorous genuflections to history.

The committed capital expenditure in the pipeline for investment in cultural infrastructure over the next 10 to 20 years is staggering. Planners should not fixate on buildings themselves, but make sure they are designed for truly compelling programs and that between the buildings are vibrant, attractive public spaces for the communities they aspire to serve.

Read the full article here.

Global cultural leaders to convene in Jakarta, Indonesia for New Cities Summit, June 9 – 11

Leading figures from the worlds of arts, design and heritage will gather at the New Cities Summit in Jakarta on June 9 – 11, 2015 to discuss the transformative role of culture in the future city. Cultural conversations at the annual New Cities Summit are led by the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a federation of global centers of arts and culture initiated by the New Cities Foundation, Dallas Arts District and AEA Consulting.

The transformative role of well programmed and designed public spaces and the impact of cultural tourism on cities will be focal points of discussions at this year’s Summit. Panelists include leading German architect Ole Scheeren, Principal of Büro Ole Scheeren – the practice behind the new headquarters of China’s oldest auction house that is set to open in Beijing – and Alan Chong, Director of the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore. GCDN members and those interested in more focused cultural conversations will meet the day before the Summit, on June 8, to discuss cultural districts and the challenge of meeting diverse expectations and demands within communities.

For the full press release, click here.

GCDN heads to Jakarta this summer for New Cities Summit

New Cities Summit heads to Jakarta this summer: The international conference on cultural developments comes to Asia
by Gareth Harris | April 9, 2015: The Art Newspaper

“The theme of the three-day event, to be held in Ciputra Artpreneur, the arts venue on the top floor of the Ciputra World Jakarta Mall, is Seizing the Urban Moment: Cities at the Heart of Growth and Development. Speakers include Alan Chong, the director of the Asian Civilisations Museum and Peranakan Museum in Singapore, and sponsors include the Washington, DC-based International Finance Corporation.”

“The German architect Ole Scheeren, who has designed vast new headquarters for the China Guardian auction house, due to open in 2016, will participate in the panel discussion Animating our Public Spaces. The session is organised by the Global Cultural Districts Network, a partnership between the New Cities Foundation, the New York-based cultural consultancy firm AEA Consulting and representatives from the Dallas Arts District, which was founded at the New Cities Summit held two years ago in São Paulo.”

For the full article, click here.

For more information about GCDN at the New Cities Summit, click here.

Quartier des spectacles earns praise from foreign urban planners

Quartier des spectacles earns praise from foreign urban planners
by Monique Muise | March 3, 2015 in Montreal Gazette

“The Quartier des spectacles has played host to many big-name acts and popular exhibitions in recent years, but it was the neighbourhood itself that took centre-stage last weekend as a group of more than 30 experts in urban planning and the arts converged in Montreal.

Travelling from as far away as New Zealand and Scotland, they were here to sample the city’s unique cultural offerings, and to visit the heart of our cultural scene during the Nuit Blanche celebrations. After two days of idea-sharing and touring organized by the Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles, two of the participants — Global Cultural Districts Network director Adrian Ellis and the City of Boston’s Arts and Culture director Julie Burros — agreed to speak to the Montreal Gazette about their experience, their impressions of the Quartier des spectacles and lessons learned.”

Read the full article here.

Montreal - Between Dallas and Edinburgh

Montreal – Between Dallas and Edinburgh (article in French)
Montréal, Entre Dallas et Edimbourg
By Mario Cloutier | February 27, 2015 in La Presse Canada

“Montréal est l’hôte, ces jours-ci, d’une rencontre importante des dirigeants de quartiers culturels du monde entier. Ils sont venus expérimenter la Nuit blanche en plein froid, mais ils ont aussi quelques conseils pour notre ville.

La présence des quartiers culturels dans les grandes villes du monde, y compris à Montréal, est une réalité économique importante, voire incontournable depuis quelques dizaines d’années.

« On y a investi 220 milliards de dollars américains dans les 15 dernières années, souligne Adrian Ellis. Il s’agit de fonds privés et publics. C’est donc un enjeu majeur non seulement pour les villes, mais pour les pays également. »”

Read the full article here.

GCDN featured on Radio Canada

An arts district: how does it work? (Interview in French)

Interview with Pierre Fortin, General Director of the Quartier des Spectacles.
On L’heure de Pointe Toronto, interviewed by Line Boily.

Pierre Fortin discusses the GCDN convening in Montreal in February 2015.

Click here for the interview.

Idea storm around cultural districts (article in French)

Tempête d’idées autour des quartiers culturels: Montréal recevra des représentants internationaux de centres urbains à vocation artistique

By Caroline Montpetit | February 24, 2015

“Une délégation de représentants de quartiers culturels d’un peu partout dans le monde sera à Montréal cette semaine pour partager des expertises en matière d’animation des espaces culturels et, éventuellement, développer des coproductions.

L’organisation du Partenariat du quartier des spectacles a en effet invité des représentants du Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), qui proviennent autant de différentes villes des États-Unis, de Dallas à New York, que d’Australie, de Chine, du Royaume-Uni et d’Écosse, de France et de Belgique.


Montréal entend y partager plus précisément l’expertise développée dans le cadre d’expériences spécifiques dans le cadre du Quartier des spectacles : l’installation de 21 balançoires, ou celle de luminothérapie, qui embrase la place des spectacles, explique Marie-Joëlle Corneau, des relations publiques du Partenariat. Le Partenariat espère aussi développer différentes collaborations entre villes.

Le GCDN est un « regroupement de centres urbains à vocation culturelle ou artistique ». Il s’agit d’une initiative conjointe du New Cities Foundation, du Dallas Arts District et de AEA Consulting, fondé en 2014, et dont Adrian Ellis est le directeur. Le regroupement s’est réuni pour une première fois l’an dernier à Dallas, et une autre rencontre est prévue en juin à Jakarta, en Indonésie.”

For the full article, click here.

Spain’s big, flashy museum complex: Taking on more than it can afford?

Spain’s big, flashy museum complex: Taking on more than it can afford?
by Ian Mount | February 9, 2015: Fortune.com

“According to the Global Cultural Districts Network, in the next 10 years some $250 billion will be spent on the development of new cultural districts around the globe. The problem is that, in a rush to recreate the “Guggenheim Effect” by building lavish cultural projects, many cities have failed to budget for the costs or to verify that they have the right attributes to become the next Bilbao.”

“Perhaps more important, many cultural sites are built without honestly budgeting the costs to build and keep them open, says Adrian Ellis, the former executive director of Jazz at Lincoln Center who founded AEA Consulting, a cultural institution consulting firm. Ellis describes an institution’s cost structure as an iceberg, with the part above the water the capital expense and the larger part below the operating costs.”

“‘I am daily stunned at how often people take to an advanced stage their thinking and planning and even building of a museum without thinking about the long-term operating costs,” he says. “The success of Bilbao is, in part, that some wise person in the Basque administration was thinking about that at the time of planning.'”

Read the full article here.

Adrian Ellis speaks at City of Sydney's Design Excellence Talk

Adrian Ellis, Director of the Global Cultural Districts Network, spoke about Cultural Precinct Planning at the City of Sydney’s Design Excellence talk on September 2, 2014.

You can watch the video of the talk here.

Gina Fairley of ArtsHub writes about it here in an article entitled Cultural Precincts Battle for the Global Marketplace. (PDF version of the article is available here).


New Cities Summit 2014 e-book now available

The New Cities Summit 2014 e-book features detailed descriptions of summit sessions, photos, and links to videos. You can find a copy of the PDF here.

Sharjah Museums Department represents Sharjah at 3rd Annual New Cities Summit in Dallas, Texas USA - 6/22/14

Sharjah Museums Department represented the Emirate of Sharjah at the 3rd Annual New Cities Summit in Dallas, Texas whereDirector General Manal Ataya spoke on an experts’ panel entitled “Cultural Districts as Engines of Urban Transformation”, sharing best practices that have enabled Sharjah to seamlessly embrace its cultural institutions.

This panel was organized by the Global Cultural Districts Network as part of the arts and culture thread of the New Cities Summit.

Read the full article here.

New Cities Summit, Dallas: Urban Leaders and Thinkers from Across the World Call for Urban Re-imagination - 6/19/2014

Dallas, Texas, U.S. – June 19, 2014. On the closing day of the New Cities Summit in the Dallas Arts District, Texas, global urban leaders and thinkers will return to their respective cities equipped with new, practical ideas for positive urban transformation and a strengthened network of contacts for future knowledge sharing.

This year’s theme at the Summit, an annual high-level, cross-sector, global conversation on the future of cities, was Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis.

The Summit attracted a total of 820 participants from 51 countries for its third edition, and its first in the United States. Hundreds of other viewers watched a live-cast of the Summit on the website of  the city’s leading newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. Via social media, the Summit reached an even greater audience, with 3.8 million people reached through more than 1,300 media interactions from Summit participants.

Global Cultural Districts Network – First Discussions Held 

This year’s Summit also underscored the vital role that arts and culture play in the re-imagination of  cities. Dedicated sessions were curated by the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a federation of global centers of arts and culture fostering co-operation and knowledge-sharing  among those responsible for conceiving, funding, building, and operating cultural districts. On June 19, members of the GCDN met at the Dallas Museum of Art to develop strategy and future planning for the Network.

Read the full press release here.


New Cities Summit: Cultural districts are multiplying rapidly, all over the world - 6/18/14

Adrian Ellis, founder of AEA Consulting and director of the Global Cultural Districts Network, moderated a panel on “Cultural Districts as Engines of Urban Transformation” held on June 18, 2014 at the New Cities Summit in Dallas, TX.

Michael Granberry, of Dallas Morning News, writes about the topics covered in the panel in a blog post here.

New Cities Summit and the arts: It can make a difference, in Dallas, Berlin, even Detroit - 6/17/14

Blog post by Michael Granberry of Dallas Morning News summarizes the discussions from the “Cultural Capital” panel which took place during the New Cities Summit on June 17, 2014. Read more here.

Speakers included:

Maxwell Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art; Co-Chairman, Global Cultural Districts Network
Catherine Cuellar, Executive Director, Dallas Arts District
Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, Director-General, National Museums in Berlin
Rip Rapson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Kresge Foundation
Huang Rui, Chinese Contemporary Artist and Founder, Stars Group & 798 Beijing Art District

The Role of Arts and Culture in Re-Imagining Cities - 5/13/2014

The Architect’s Newspaper is the media sponsor for the New Cities Summit in June, an international gathering about transforming cities. “The role of culture in cities is a major theme of NCS 2014, which spotlights the Dallas Arts District. The Global Cultural Districts Network, which formed at NCS 2013, will convene during the conference. Arts leaders slated to speak include Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America. Participants will also have access to local events coinciding with the conference, including the Dallas debut of Shen Wei Dance Arts on June 19 at Winspear Opera House.” Read more here.

Dallas Is Embracing Opportunities to Innovate - 4/29/2014

In a recent Huffington Post blog, Mayor Mike Rawlings discusses ways that Dallas is embracing opportunities to innovate, including how the Global Cultural Districts Network, headquartered in Dallas, will foster the growth of cultural districts worldwide: “With the New Cities Foundation, Dallas is eagerly embracing our future opportunities to innovate.

Chief among them is our newly formed Global Cultural Districts Network, headquartered in Dallas to continue the conversation among established cultural districts in Brooklyn, Berlin and Amsterdam with cultural districts under construction in Qatar and Hong Kong, among others, which represent $250 billion in projected investment over the next decade. GCDN creates a lasting organization to foster the growth of these districts, sharing best practices throughout the world, which we are uniquely situated to lead as a destination city for top creative professionals. The Dutch conductor of our Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap Van Zweden, is also the conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic in the under-construction West Kowloon Cultural District. The new Parisian music director of our Dallas Opera, Emmanuel Villaume, also conducts the Slovakian Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava. And we are also nurturing the next generation of performing artists at our public Dallas arts magnet high school, which will be sending five students to The Juilliard School this fall.” Read the full article here.

New Cities Summit Puts Spotlight on Dallas’ Thriving Art Scene - 4/10/2014

Screen shot 2014-04-10 at 12.01.28 PM
• New Cities Summit takes place on June 17-19 at Winspear Opera House, Dallas, bringing global leaders and thinkers to Dallas Arts District • Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a network of the world’s most important cultural districts, headquartered in Dallas, will convene during the New Cities Summit to set a strategy for the year ahead Dallas, Texas – April 10, 2014.

On June 17-19, global thought leaders will convene in the Dallas Arts District, for the New Cities Summit, the leading event on the future of the urban world. The Summit will shine a spotlight on the Dallas Arts District, which is the largest arts district in the U.S. and fast becoming one of the most important cultural hubs in the world. The event will also highlight the vibrant arts scene in neighboring Fort Worth. The role of culture in cities will be one of the key topics discussed in high profile panels, inspiring keynotes and interactive breakout sessions at the three-day New Cities Summit, which takes place at the Norman Foster-designed Winspear Opera House.

This year, the event’s theme is “Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis.” The cultural strands of the Summit will feature speakers including Karen Brooks Hopkins, President, Brooklyn Academy of Music; Rip Rapson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Kresge Foundation; Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America and Tarek Cherkaoui, Chief Strategy Officer, Qatar Museums Authority. Some of the cultural highlights taking place during the Summit include Shen Wei Dance Arts – a stand-out show by the legendary Chinese American choreographer at the Winspear Opera House, and the exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World at the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as a showcase of new acquisitions drawn exclusively from the DMA’s strong collection of contemporary art. Meanwhile, the Meadows Museum of Art will present one of the most significant collections of Spanish drawings, including works by Murillo, Goya and Alonso Cano, on loan from the Kunsthalle Hamburg. In addition, the Nasher Sculpture Center will host the first American Museum exhibition dedicated to German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi.

The New Cities Summit will be an important moment for the world’s urban leaders and thinkers to recognize the achievements of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region in promoting creativity across the visual and performing arts, and strengthening international ties. The event will also provide a platform for advancing the work of the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN). Launched at the 2013 New Cities Summit in São Paulo and headquartered in the Dallas Arts District, GCDN is a federation of global centers of arts and culture. Its mission is to foster co-operation and knowledge sharing among the world’s leading cultural districts.

Maxwell L. Anderson, co-Chairman, GCDN, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District Foundation and Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art, said: “The last generation has seen individual arts organizations making headway in their respective cities and countries. What we are out to determine is how the adjacency of multiple arts institutions can offer a more robust and sustainable menu of programs for their communities, entice cultural tourists to spend more than a night, and share knowledge about these artistic ecosystems in ways that can benefit us all.”

Adrian Ellis, Director, GCDN and Founder, AEA Consulting, said: “We are thrilled that so many people responsible for planning and running cultural districts are taking the opportunity to share best practices and discuss the challenges they face. A clear picture is emerging from our research of a strong common agenda: audience development; the relationship between serving the local community and tourists; the scope for sharing content and partnerships between districts; and common challenges and strategies for effective governance. It is a rich agenda.”

Access a brochure Dallas-Fort Worth during the Summit: http://bit.ly/1sF25zC

Full information on the Summit is available at www.newcitiessummit2014.org

International press contact:  Marina Bradbury
Communications & Media Relations Manager
New Cities Foundation
+33 6 17 79 17 72

Local press contact: Brunswick Group – Dallas
Roberta Thomson / Daniel Harrison
+1 214 254 3790

Brunswick Group – Paris
Maria Marques / Benoit Loiseau
+33 (0)1 53 96 83 83

GCDN Director Publishes Article in GIA Reader - Winter 2014

Adrian Ellis, Director of the GCDN, published an article in the latest issue of the Grantmakers in the Arts Reader (Vol 25, No 2, Winter 2014), “Success Looks Different Now: The International Significance of America’s Current Preoccupation with Placemaking.”

It reads, “Success Looks Different Now: Design and Cultural Vitality in Lower Manhattan is a fluently argued report published in June 2013 by the Architectural League of New York about cultural infrastructure needs in Lower Manhattan. It concludes that the city “is in the midst of a generational shift in the definition, experience, and location of cultural vitality” and that, as a result, new types of spaces are required to support cultural activities — more informal, more flexible, and more accessible than the larger cultural infrastructure projects that have tended to preoccupy politicians and policymakers around the world over the past few decades.”

“This rejection of the “icon as policy” alluded to in the title of the report was not its premise; the starting point was, on the contrary, that New York needs a big new theater complex on the waterfront, a stirring presence like the opera houses of Sydney, Oslo, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, or Cardiff, a proposition initially suggested by one of the authors of the report, Paula Deitz, in an article in the New York Sun in 2008. Following publication of that article, she and her collaborators secured a grant to explore the proposition and, in the process, unearthed the can of worms with which GIA readers are familiar: the unforgiving economics of big arts buildings; the systemic overoptimism that often informs their planning, most recently cataloged in the Harris School’s Set in Stone: Building America’s New Generation of Arts Facilities; the challenging trends in audience size and composition experienced by traditional art forms; the desire by younger audiences for greater interactivity and better hang spaces than are provided by the traditional performing arts venues; and the merits of spaces and cost structures that foster the colocation of production and consumption.”

To read the full article published on Grantmakers in the Arts’ website, click here.

The 2014 New Cities Summit in Dallas to Focus on “Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis” - Dec 2013

● 1,000 high-level participants from 40 countries invited to gather in Dallas, Texas to discuss the global urban future

● Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas: “It is time to re-imagine our cities and tell a new story about the places that define and shape who we are. We’re proud that Dallas will be the epicenter of these crucial, transformative discussions on our urban future.”

Dallas, Texas – December 9, 2013.

The New Cities Foundation today announced the theme for the New Cities Summit 2014: Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis. The New Cities Summit will gather 1,000 of the world’s most forward-thinking urban leaders, mayors, CEOs, architects, entrepreneurs, academics, thinkers, urban planners, scientists and artists for pragmatic, action-oriented discussions on the future of the urban world. The invitation-only event will take place on June 17 -19, 2014 in the Dallas Arts District, the cultural hub of one of North America’s fastest growing metro regions.

By 2050, cities will be home to 70% of the world’s population. Cities and metropolitan regions are increasingly becoming powerful economic and political actors in their own right. The New Cities Summit responds to this major phenomenon by calling upon city leaders and thinkers to shape ambitious and effective strategies that foster tangible change. The Summit speaker program will address “Re-imagining Cities” from multiple perspectives, offering practical examples, learnings and solutions from the many sectors that determine the future of cities, including governance, transport, education, healthcare, technology, finance, architecture, design and culture. An exciting mix of prizes, initiatives and special projects will be showcased at the event. These include the AppMyCity! Prize for the worlds’ best mobile application, and WhatWorks, a series of inspirational short-talks by urban innovators from a spectrum of sectors and global locations. Summit participants will also benefit from expert-led tours of the city of Dallas, gaining insight into key urban development projects.

The New Cities Summit 2014 also provides a platform for the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a strategic network of leaders from the world’s most important cultural districts, from Hong Kong to Qatar. The GCDN was launched at the 2013 New Cities Summit and is headquartered in the Dallas Arts District. The Summit kicks off a week of discussions that will place Dallas at the very heart of global thought-leadership on the future of cities. Following the Summit, Dallas will be host the Annual Meeting of the US Conference of Mayors on June 20-23. The venue of the 2014 New Cities Summit in Dallas will be the Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District.

John Rossant, Founder and Chairman of the New Cities Foundation, said: “As cities develop, and as they increasingly compete and cooperate across borders, they need to deftly and strategically position and re-position themselves on local, national and global playing fields. For most, this means a difficult but necessary process of re-imagination and transformation. This calls for creativity, and it also calls for decisive action and common purpose. Dallas, with its can-do spirit and dynamic economy, is a fantastic backdrop for launching a new agenda for all cities globally. It’s time to re-imagine the cities we live in today, for the citizens of tomorrow.

Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas said: “It is time to re-imagine our cities and tell a new story about the places that define and shape who we are. Change is in the fiber of our dynamic city, making Dallas a great place to start this conversation. We’re proud that Dallas will be the epicenter of these crucial, transformative discussions on our urban future.”

Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: “The re-imagining of cities demands insight into the distinctive character of a place through its cultural heritage, creative industries, and built environment, and the 2014 Summit will stimulate fresh thinking about these facets of urban planning for cities around the globe.” The previous editions of the New Cities Summit took place in São Paulo, Brazil in 2013 and in Paris in 2012. The host city for the 2015 Summit will be announced in Dallas in June 2014.

More information coming soon at www.newcitiessummit2014.org

Contact: Marina Bradbury
Communications & Media Relations Manager
New Cities Foundation
+33 6 17 79 17 72

GCDN featured in ICOM news - Sept 2013

The GCDN was featured in the recent edition of the International Council of Museums’ News Magazine. The article describes the mission of the Network and quotes GCDN Director Adrian Ellis on the ways in which cultural districts around the world are alike: “There are clearly many differences between Seoul, São Paulo, Vancouver and Muscat – to take a random four – but there are many similarities too, in a world where ideas, people and capital are highly mobile.” To read the article, click here.

GCDN Director Publishes Art Newspaper Op-Ed on Cultural Districts - 7/1/14

1 July 2013 – Adrian Ellis, Director of the GCDN, published an op-ed in The Art Newspaper, “Successful cultural districts are powerful policy tools.”

It reads: “The characteristics of great cities like Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, London and New York can be plotted on many axes: their political might; the reach of their trading empires; the heft of their public institutions; the sophistication of their sewers. But few cities command the accolade “great” or even “liveable” without a significant cultural presence. Today, whether the question is “Where is the best place to bring up your family?”, “Where do knowledge workers congregate?” or “What attracts inward investment?”, “Cities with a rich cultural life” is the most common answer, alongside those with good public education, low crime rates and decent transport. (They are usually the same places.) “In this context “culture” usually means museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls and the things that animate those buildings—exhibitions, festivals and performances. Liveable cities also have compelling public spaces (agorae) and architecture that draws people to them. They encourage visitors and residents, young and old, to intermingle in ways that destratify, desegregate and generally democratise.”

To read the full article on The Art Newspaper website, click here.

Major Joint Initiatives Announced by New Cities Foundation and City of Dallas - 5/2/13
  • Dallas to host New Cities Summit in June, 2014
  • New Cities Foundation, City of Dallas, and AEA Consulting launch Global Cultural Districts Network, to be based in Dallas Arts District


São Paulo – June 5, 2013. The Honorable Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas, and John Rossant, Chairman of the Board of the New Cities Foundation, announced today that the New Cities Summit 2014 is to take place in Dallas, Texas on June 17-18, 2014. They also jointly announced that the Foundation, in partnership with the Dallas Arts District, one of the largest and most important cultural districts in the world, is launching in Dallas the Global Cultural Districts Network, an international consortium of similar centers. Both announcements were made during the New Cities Summit in São Paulo.

The New Cities Summit is the leading global event on the future of the urban world, organized by the New Cities Foundation. The New Cities Foundation’s Board of Trustees selected Dallas for its dynamism and forward-thinking approach to urban challenges. Next year’s New Cities Summit, dedicated to the high-level exchange of dynamic ideas and innovative solutions for world cities, will take place within the Dallas Arts District. A cornerstone and catalyst for creative vitality in North Texas, the Dallas Arts District is home to the city’s foremost visual and performing arts institutions, whose range and depth make Dallas a destination for the arts that is unique in the United States – and the world. The District includes buildings by some of the world’s most visionary architects, including Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Renzo Piano.

Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, is Chairman of the Dallas Arts District Foundation. The Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a partnership among the New Cities Foundation, Dallas Arts District, and AEA Consulting, will be the first network of its kind. It will support cultural districts – both planned and existing – and their contribution to the vitality and competitiveness of 21st century cities. GCDN members will work together on a long-term basis on the management and future planning of cultural districts worldwide, allowing the top-level leaders of these districts to discuss common challenges, exchange ideas, and ensure that their ambitious projects will flourish.

Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas and Honorary President of the GCDN, said: “Being selected as the host city of the next New Cities Summit is a great moment in the history of Dallas, and, as its Mayor, a great honor for me. I look forward to welcoming urban leaders and thinkers to Dallas in June 2014 to continue discussions on the future of cities. It is also a great honor to serve as Honorary President of the inaugural Global Cultural Districts Network, which will convene at the Summit next year. Art and culture are rapidly becoming an important part of the soul of our city. To be able to share and learn from similar successes in cities across the world, is a rare and wonderful opportunity that will further distinguish Dallas, foster a thriving culture of creativity and innovation, and position North Texas to become one of the world’s leading arts meccas.”

John Rossant, Chairman of the New Cities Foundation and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: “Dallas is a dynamic, exciting city with a ‘can-do’ attitude and the ideal location for our next Summit, and the first convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network. The Summit will strengthen our network of urban innovators, address new challenges and embrace new opportunities. We all recognize that cultural projects offer cities myriad opportunities – not only in terms of creativity and ideas, but also investment and wealth creation. Today, we are witnessing an unprecedented growth in the cultural landscape of cities, from Hong Kong to New York, São Paulo to Qatar. By teaming up with the Dallas Arts District and the pre-eminent strategic planners in the cultural sector, AEA Consulting, to launch the Global Cultural Districts Network, we aim to help those responsible for planning and leading cultural districts around the world.”

Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: I am honored to serve as Founding Co-Chairman of the Global Cultural Districts Network to guide the development of an international forum for knowledge and resource sharing. GCDN seeks to elevate the role of urban cultural districts worldwide. The implications for our collective impact is vast — estimated to be $US 250 billion in cultural infrastructure investment within the next decade — spurring cultural exchange, progressive urban planning, economic development, and travel and tourism. The Network’s new home in Dallas is further evidence of the forward thinking, entrepreneurial vision of our cultural and civic leaders in North Texas.”

The Global Cultural Districts Network is a high-level group of decision-makers involved in conceiving, planning, building, and directing urban cultural districts. Over 50 new cultural districts are being planned or recently constructed around the world.  These include Beijing’s Olympic Green; Dallas Arts District; Chicago’s Millennium Park; Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District; Singapore’s Esplanade and Doha’s Cultural District. They join historic districts in cities such as London, New York, Berlin, and Paris, which have developed organically over time.

The GCDN aims to play a crucial role in ensuring that these districts thrive, and that, in turn, they enhance the cities in which they are based. It will provide a unique platform for the leaders of these districts to analyze and solve common challenges, collaborate on new ventures and evolve. The GCDN project secretariat will be located in Dallas Arts District. The project will be led by Adrian Ellis, Director of AEA Consulting. The Board of Trustees of the Network held their first meeting today in São Paulo at the New Cities Summit.

International press contact: Marina Bradbury
Communications & Media Relations Manager
New Cities Foundation
+33 6 17 79 17 72