Smart Cities – Ho-hum; Let’s Step it Up with Art and Culture Based Climate Action

Even if global greenhouse gas emissions were cut to required levels to keep temperature rise below 2°C this century, the cost between 2010 and 2050 of adapting to an approximately 2°C warmer world by 2050 is in the range of $75 billion to $100 billion a year, according to a recent World Bank report.  Making cities smarter so these financial goals can achieved is essential but ensuring redevelopment and adaptation plans are sustainable requires incorporating various types of intelligence.  In the face of significant pending funding gaps we need visionaries and artists to come forth and bring onto the stage all they can to paint the town green!

New and additional financing options will be required for adaptation measures to succeed and the cities that learn how to engage their citizens will achieve these goals more efficiently and economically.  Those that don’t, well, chances are high they will continue with the same ho-hum approaches used to date to make smart cities.

“For all the talk about smart cities a lot of dumb stuff happens in cities,” says Klaus Philipsen.  “Chicago can’t get a grip on police violence, Flint poisons its citizens with municipal water, Washington DC’s Metro subway is befallen by a series of mishaps and Baltimore can’t count its primary votes so that the State has to de-certify the election results…”

Thinking is good, feeling is essential, but action engages citizens and raises awareness while also creating new climate raising tools.  Smart cities are seeing green artists come alive and push the parameters of what it means to be artistic.  A rising tide of these artists are acting in support of the public good and municipalities that learn to leverage art and culture as a technology for change will find themselves designing and building burgeoning epicenters to only further artistic and cultural energy.  Action like this will not only raising intelligence but also capital as it enables citizens to participate in the process of setting goals, establishing policies, and empowering municipalities to meet their climate change adaption ambitions.

Urban dwellers for the most part don’t currently see what it means to be a smart city.  Providing interactive based responses through data collection means but then also exhibiting it in an artful way will activate intelligence and raise municipal goals beyond touting what the best or the healthiest city is.  In fact, municipalities that pause, reset, and stop looking to make the Human Development Index (HDI) list will take their focus where it needs to be: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  There are 17 SDGs and all the 193 countries represented at the United Nations have agreed to try and achieve them.  Thankfully we are no seeing innovative cities are following this momentum and in particular one goal – Goal 11 –  specifically aims to build cities that are “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”  This level of sustainability comes when art, community, and the spirit of climate action is kept alive in a city plan but not in the traditional sense, a whole new level of engagement through the promotion of art and culture is required to achieve climate action.

  • SAMPLES OF ART, CULTURAL & INITIATIVE “TECHNOLOGIES”
    • The Gates – 7,503 “gates” along 23 miles of paths in Central Park, NYC.
    • Stone River – 128 ton sculpture at Stanford University made from salvaged  buildings toppled in the 1906 & 1989 San Francisco earthquakes
    • The Mining Project – aerial photography of impacted sites in the United States transformed by water reclamation, logging, military tests, and mining
    • Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts – the intersection of environmental balance, social equity, economic stability, and cultural infrastructure
    • Project Save Our Surf – collaborations with non-profit organizations to educate and raise awareness about ocean pollution
    • World of Threads Festival – art installations questioning the notions of sustainability and vulnerability
    • Agricultural Compositions –  turning fields of human waste and pollution into colorful landscapes
    • Alliance of Artists Communities – exploring organizational sustainability and applying it to artist residencies
    • Pathway to Paris – a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, innovators bound together in fighting for climate justice
  • ABBREVIATED IMPLEMENTATION STEPS
    • Establish alignment of municipal protocols with the SDGs
    • Create multiple intelligent based city policies – holistic based endeavors
    • Establish artistic residency programs and event-based climate education goals
    • Engage citizens in educational and experiential arts and cultural practices
    • Engage private and public sector companies for sponsorships
    • Build neighborhood based spin-off programs to localize experience
    • Demonstrate to the world what has worked and not
    • Start again, improve, and keep targets on 2050 SDGs
  • KEY STAKEHOLDERS
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public & Private Foundation Donors
    • EcoArt and Environmental Artists
    • Citizens
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4 thoughts on “Smart Cities – Ho-hum; Let’s Step it Up with Art and Culture Based Climate Action

  1. It is fascinating what some people can do with garbage and plastic waste. The art collective Luzinterruptus has a history of tackling political and social issues in Europe. The “Labyrinth of Plastic Waste” is but one example. “We were looking to demonstrate, in a poetic manner, the amount of plastic waste that is consumed daily,” Luzinterruptus explained in a statement. “In addition to focusing attention on the big business of bottling water, which leads to very serious problems in developing countries, whose citizens have watched as their aquifers have been privatized with impunity for the exclusive enrichment of large business owners and ruling classes without scruples.”

    UNI: AV2698

    Liked by 1 person

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