Tweet Chat Recap: Creating the Cultural City

In a globalized world, culture helps cities affirm their identities – Global Cultural Districts Network, @GCDNet

On Wednesday, May 20, we teamed up with the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) to host a discussion on the role of culture in cities. Over the course of one hour, we invited a mix of thinkers, cultural leaders and urbanists from across the world to weigh in on this vital aspect of urban development.

Creating the Cultural City: Tweet Chat Highlights

Why is culture important in cities?

Culture enhances everyday life for citizens, providing inspiration, evasion, insight, challenge. @QDS_MTL

Also important to realise that cultures are contested, created and evolving all the time. It’s not merely a museum or an object. @unsungsongs

Culture not just an add-on to our lives or our cities -it is an expression of who we are, what we feel. @NickRKenyon

What are the challenges facing culture in cities? How can we tackle these?

Making sure that culture is of and for the whole of the city & that funding &focus is equally & morally distributed to serve all. @GCDNet

Challenges facing culture in cities? Elitism, rising living costs, lack of genuinely open fora for people to meet and debate. @makerversity

Like cities, culture is in flux – this is both the challenge and the inspiration. We are constantly evolving. @SharonAment

How can we ensure that culture is available to all citizens?

Public art and art in public spaces is a great way for everyone to enjoy art in cities. @GCDNet

Arts & culture orgs should act as citizen institutions in order to be gathering places cultivating diversity, connection, community. @deborahcullinan

Later opening hours? @V_and_A installed gas lighting in the 19th century to allow the ‘working classes’ to attend.  @roryhyde

 How can cities attract artists and foster a creative environment?

Cities can foster creative environments by giving more physical space to artists and artists-citizens to express themselves. @Artofchange21

More festivals,art venues and cultural events to perform and innovate with their arts. @WidyDen

Cities attract artists when they create opportunity for them to intervene in urban projects:

There’s a fixation on role of artists in cities. But what about a broader group of people creating, making, inventing, provoking. @makerversity

How can street art enhance public space?

Fine #artinthestreets makes citizens #think about #urbanlife, get mad about certain things and sometimes even act. @Alternativetlv

It’s interactive and authentic in its nature, encouraging an ongoing dialogue between artists, people +place.  @SharonAment

How can cultural districts balance the needs of both local communities and tourists?

If you make a space for locals it will naturally attract tourists who are after the real deal. @makerversity

There shouldn’t be “cultural districts” : authorities have to spread culture to every part of the city. @MarionWaller

Cultural districts are cities. Cities are cultural districts. If you separate them you lose something important.  @unsungsongs

Featured Guests Included:

  • Co-host – Global Cultural Districts Network, @GCDNet 
  • Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican Centre, @NickRKenyon@BarbicanCentre
  • Sharon Ament, Director, Museum of London, @SharonAment
  • Rory Hyde, Curator of Architecture and Urbanism, V&A Museum, @roryhyde
  • Alexandra Maier, Director, Marketing and Communications, Quartier des Spectacles, @QDS_MTL
  • Marcus Westbury, Founder/Creative Director, Renew Newcastle, @unsungsongs
  • Marion Waller, Lead Advisor, Reinventer Paris, @MarionWaller
  • Makerversity, London, @makerversity
  • Deborah Cullinan, CEO, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, @deborahcullinan
  • Widya Anggraini, Jakarta Community Manager,, @WidyDen
  • Alice Audouin, Founder, Art of Change 21, @Artofchange21
  • Alternative Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv, @Alternativetlv

Thank you!

Thanks to all of our featured guests, and to the many others that joined in on Twitter. We hope you’ll join us again for our next Tweet chat session. For a full view of the conversation, check out our post on Storify.

To find out more about the New Cities Summit, visit and follow #ncs2015 on Twitter.