At the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, we hold several intimate sessions a year, each with 7-8 mayors and another 7-8 design and development professionals.
At every session, we hammer through case studies that the mayors bring and respond with concrete ways to begin implementing their project. Often, the critique on their urban design case studies sounds something like this: “This design could be anywhere, what makes this place in your city special and unique?”
I often call this the “avoiding the autotune” suggestion. Autotune, being the new(ish) technology of the music industry where a performer’s voice can be digitized, making anyone’s voice sound similar to one another in song.
One way to “avoid the autotune” is to bring artists into the mix of the planning process.
Many of us have written that art, as an expression of our cultural identity, can be a great communicator in the design of the public realm and institutional amenities. Through storytelling, mural-painting, exhibitions, and more, we can foster the exchange of ideas on important projects in our community. Read the rest of this entry »