The story of New York City cannot
be told without understanding the role dynamic creative communities play in
defining the identity of particular neighborhoods. Yet these creative districts
rarely remain in place for more than a generation, as new residents, visitors,
uses, and development reshape their character over time.
Recognizing the value of these communities, elected officials and city planners worldwide attempt to capitalize on the arts and other creative professions to revitalize urban neighborhoods, spawning countless Arts Districts, architectural commissions, and performance-based programming. Yet despite this activity, few new planning and urban design tools or models have emerged to guide development and support the coexistence of a critical mass of creative production with other uses.
Drawing on the Design Trust’s study, Made in Midtown, which makes recommendations for revitalizing the Garment District that integrate policy initiatives, zoning, and urban design guidelines, this discussion will invite leading creative thinkers and practitioners to imagine future urban clusters of manufacturing and artistic industry. How will digital technology alter the benefits of proximity and exchange? Will the resurgence of demand for artisanal production in food find a counterpart in the production of objects? How should the physical fabric of the City express the identity of urban creative clusters, industries, and artistic practice.