We bring to you a collection of reflections on the cultural challenges of our cities. The reason is obvious; in the midst of globalisation we see that it is the cities, where we can crystallise and combine our strength. We will continue the discussions on how to shape the future urban quality of life in our next Beyond the Obvious gathering. You will have a chance to meet most of the authors of this newsletter in Budapest. Together with urban innovators, practitioners and thinkers we will explore ways to strengthen the cultural sustainability of our cities.
What drives this global transformation is migration. European urban growth is also migration driven, making cities more diverse and vibrant places. Next to metropolises, our continent is culturally defined by the rich traditions of the mid and small cities. In the large cities the challenge is how to keep together an archipelago of different cultural identities. While in most smaller cities newcomers and locals are facing the cultural dilemma whether or not to become fully local with a civic pride. Can one preserve its own cultural identity? If a nationstate demands to adhere to a Leitkultur, can attachment to a city be an alternative?
Working across networks we all experience that cities have distinctive identities. Cities have different spirits that provide their residents emotional energy. Urban pride is a key feature of cultural identities today. Cities with a clear ethos can better resist homogenising tendencies of globalisation. It can be worrying when nations proclaim their timeless and organic ideals, but affirming a city’s particularity can be a sign of health.
None of this is new. Aristotle said already that “A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.” Plato added proudly “This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”
We can work on this together and we can nurture how the civic pride can be oriented towards the future. Hope you find the contributions in the Newsletter as a good resource.