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Creative city: The art of city making

MAY . 20 2013

Peking University, May 20, 2013: "People often ask me what are the core values of creativity, but I would rather tell them what a huge loss we will suffer without creativity." said Professor Charles Landry at PKU, who coined the term "the creative city" in the late 1980s.


Invited by the PKU College of Engineering, Professor Landry shared his opinions on the creative city with PKU students on May 10.


Professor Charles Landry


Taking museums and old buildings as examples, he pointed out that creativity brings a new life to the traditions. "It can not only provide more job opportunities but also increase a nation's soft power," said Landry. "When speaking of making the creative city, we need to keep looking for new ideas and unleash the potential, resources and assets of a city."


Landry thinks cities can be divided into two kinds, version 1.0 and version 2.0. The former refers to the initial stage of city construction, when constructers mainly focus on hardware but ignore the residents and details. The majority of modern cities, lacking their own features, belong to this kind.


The primary concern of version 2.0, according to Landry, is the urban planning of the whole city. Constructers care more about details and the environment and emphasize uniqueness and characteristics. In this case, city development, no longer predatory, underlines the harmony among people, city and nature.


But constructing a version-2.0 city is also challenging. As people with different cultural backgrounds tend to live together in the process of globalization, how to build up the sense of city identity remains an inevitable problem.


"The solution is to build connections." In Landry’s opinion, in order to make a city work well, we should connect different centers of a city, connect different people, and enable residents to enjoy a free life there. In return, residents will promote the development of the city.


"The creative city is not made by the designers or planners alone, but it results from the joint effort of every individual in the city," remarked Landry. In this sense, the creative city, like the "community" proposed by philosopher Zygmunt Bauman, is a place where people trust each other, depend on each other, and jointly contribute to the city's development.



Written by: Zhang Chao
Edited by: Xu Xinyi
Source: College of Engineering