Opinion: “Smart” cities must include the arts

Posted on: November 21, 2017

“Last week came news that one of Bill Gates investment companies paid eighty million dollars for a large tract of barren land near Tonopah Arizona, with a plan to develop a smart city complete with residences, schools, parks and commercial space—all with a high tech component,” writes Barry Hessenius in a Sunday (11/19) Barry’s Blog post. “Nowhere … was [there] any mention of the role of the arts. We are going to see more of these kinds of projects in the very near future—promulgated and supported by governments … and by private enterprise and the philanthropic community. And the arts absolutely must be at the tables where these projects are conceived, developed and implemented.… Before any plans are formalized—this is the time for us to begin to demand that the arts are, as a matter of course, included.… Local arts agencies … need to make a connection with the owners/planners of the smart cities projects…. We need to provide strong evidence of our value, and … make a case with media and the public that no city without an arts component in both the planning and execution is truly ‘smart’ in any sense of the word.”

Posted November 21, 2017