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Found 22 results

  1. Even if i'm very intolerant of the PQ - and it's devastating consequences on the Quebec economy - this is why English Canada is half the battle. There's so much bullshit in this article I don't even know where to begin. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/06/conrad-black-as-quebec-decays-toronto-seizes-greatness/ The announcement this week of an effort spearheaded by art collector and impresario David Mirvish, international architect Frank Gehry and innovative developer Peter Kofman to provide Toronto with a novel vertical, arts-based downtown residential complex is potentially a big step in Toronto’s quest to vault itself into the front ranks of the world’s cities — where it has sometimes prematurely claimed to belong. Whether Canadians from other centres like it or not, Toronto is now and will remain the comparative metropolis of the country, having surged past Montreal after that city entered into a sustained suicide attempt based on separatist agitation and accompanying racial and cultural discrimination. Behind the pretenses to egalitarianism that dress up confiscatory Quebec tax laws and repressive language laws, the real driving ambition has been to push the non-French out of Quebec, buy up the real assets they cannot physically take with them, especially their mansions and office buildings in Montreal, and eliminate up to half the emphatically federalist votes in the province. Montreal’s loss has proven to be Toronto’s gain. Historically, almost all Quebec’s non-French (comprising about 20% of the provincial population) are anti-separatist; and about an equal number of Quebec federalists are authentic French-Canadians who have thrown in their lot with the pan-Canadian option, and are routinely reviled by their peppier Quebec nationalist compatriots as vendus, sell-outs. (In my recent debut as a co-host with Amanda Lang on her CBC news program, the only line of mine that was excised was to this effect — so squeamish does the CBC remain about calling Quebec nationalism what it is: outright racism, at least in the worst cases. Radio Canada, the French CBC, is a notorious infestation of separatists.) The principal bulwark of federalism in Quebec, and therefore in Canada, has been the English-Canadians, who have habitually voted Liberal, and have been shamefully neglected by the Liberal Parties of Canada and Quebec (the first now eviscerated and reduced to the unimaginably dubious expedient of elevating a leader whose sole qualification for high public office was surviving childbirth, and the second defeated and discredited, and now about half English, despite all its ingratitude). But 50 years of nationalist pressure in Quebec, uncompetitively high tax-rates on upper income groups and the endless redefinition of the use of English as a “privilege” that can be whittled down and compromised, have driven over 500,000 people out of Quebec, most of them to the Toronto area. These former Quebecers, and the comparative welcome that Toronto has given external immigration (unlike the Québécois, who are generally hostile to any non-French immigration and none too accommodating even to ostensibly francophone immigrants who don’t speak like Québécois and aren’t too preoccupied with Quebec nationalism), has made Toronto an unusually, almost uniquely multi-cultural city. In fact, Toronto is one of the few jurisdictions where multi-culturalism has not been a disaster. The Netherlands has just rolled back its former official deference to the non-Dutch, and required assimilation in the education system, a belated response to an Islamist influx that is threatening domestic tranquility and social coherence. For less defensible motives, Quebec is placing further strictures on the teaching of English in the state school system, a terrible disservice to the province, which despite its ululations of sufficiency, is a demographically dwindling repository of a not overly dynamic French fact outnumbered 50:1 by its English-speaking North American neighbours, and which by its addiction to transfer payments from English Canada has become a white-collar secular clerisy that contributes little economic added value to anything. Electricity, over-unionized base metals and forest products industries, and a scattering of high tech and financial services are all that generate any earned income for Quebec now. The migrations from Quebec and elsewhere have gradually, over 50 years, transformed Toronto from a tank town of low church Protestant bigotry and ugliness, and radical segmentation between the Catholic and Protestant sections of an almost monochromatic white city — where only hotels had liquor licences, and cinemas were not open on Sunday, and even on Saturday night, everything (which wasn’t much) shut down before 11 o’clock — to a serious metropolis by international standards. The forces of racial and cultural snobbery and intolerance have retreated into a few fetid clubs, where the denizens fester like despotic toads in their unregenerate hypocrisy. Greater Toronto has over 6 million people, the fifth metropolitan area in North America, and 160% of Greater Montreal, and about one fifth of the people who live there are non-whites, and over 30% speak a language other than English or French at home, the exactly opposite policy to the desperate and restrictive cultivation of French in Quebec. These trends will continue, and the rise of Toronto as an increasingly important metropolis of a steadily more important Canada is almost inevitable. This is why it is hazardous, as well as dishonest, for the NDP to paint itself into the Quebec corner, complaining of Albertan oil, and calling, in effect, for repeal of the Clarity Act, to facilitate the separation of Quebec by a bare yes majority on a trick question, and committing the federal government virtually to ban English among its employees in Quebec. It is a disgraceful policy of pandering, minority cultural oppression, and regional abrasion, completely unsuitable for the official, pan-Canadian opposition. It is as if Gilles Duceppe and his unlamented Bloc Québécois had held its majority of Quebec MPs but also elected 40 people in other provinces, mainly Ontario and British Columbia. Returning to this revolutionary plan for Toronto’s entertainment district, all three project leaders, David Mirvish, Frank Gehry and Peter Kofman, are, in their different fields, innovators and creators, and precisely what Toronto needs to translate economic boom and ethnic diversity and population growth into a distinctively great city. Toronto is recognized to be liveable by world standards, and relatively safe and prosperous. But as a great city, it lacks history, drama and flair. History, dramatic historic events, epochal personalities, and great cultural achievements and trends can’t just be confected. And drama is mainly violence: the French Revolution and Napoleonic and other wars in Paris; the Civil War and Blitz in London, the drastic changes of regime in Berlin, and the incomparable drama of Rome, as the imperial and ecclesiastical, and then reunited Italian capital. Even New York and Chicago have the tragic mystique that surrounds gang and gangster wars, revolutionary and Indian skirmishes, countless riots, earth-shaking financial upheavals, 9/11. Toronto obviously does not seek tumult and bloodshed to tart up its ambiance; so to be great, it must ensure that more of its growth comes in the form of brilliant architecture — the construction of iconic projects of the future. The Mirvish project consists of a trio of unusually interesting, 80-storey buildings. It will contrast well with the city’s existing skyscrapers. (Three of Toronto’s impressive bank office complexes, for instance, TD, CIBC and BMO, while fine plazas, are just knock-offs from Mies Van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, and Edward Durrell Stone.) Frank Gehry, who appeared to be descending into self-indulgent eccentricity with his proposed memorial in Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower that featured a statue of the victorious theatre commander and two-term president as a 14-year-old farm boy, has produced a beautiful design (though it would be better if the Princess of Wales Theatre could be preserved). Toronto must avoid the Canadian tradition of nit-picking the ambitious and original and, as it did when it built the new city hall, it must seize and promote this great and self-generated opportunity.
  2. (Courtesy of Urban Photo) Its an old article from 2008. Plus I found an another article about the grocery chain.
  3. We like winners. Whether it's the winning army of a war or the world's fastest 100 meter runner, we lavish attention and praise on the victors and relegate the losers to the dustbin of history. The same is true of travel - the most important travel cities like New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo are favored by visitors while lesser-known destinations are skipped, scratched from the itinerary or just plain ignored. The destinations we visit win our attention for good reason. They're typically the biggest cities - meaning they have the best restaurants, biggest museums and largest inventory of hotels. Yet when we travel to only the "most popular" or "biggest," we ignore a fundamental truth of travel. What we know about a place has as much to do with what we're told as it does with what we actually find once there. With that in mind, Gadling is bringing you a compilation of our favorite "second cities" - large urban areas that are among the biggest in their country but frequently overshadowed by more famous capitals. The following picks boast many of the same amenities that make their bigger rivals so famous - top notch cultural institutions, unique local charm, great cuisine and nightlife. How many have you visited? Take a look below: * Second City #1 - Osaka, Japan - travelers love to talk about Tokyo, but focusing exclusively on Tokyo does serious injustice to the city of Osaka. What Osaka lacks in population, it more than makes up for in its citizens' lust for life and sheer zaniness. Along the streets of Osaka's Dotonbori district you'll find a raucous party of eating and drinking that is virtually unmatched anywhere on earth. In addition to the city's famous Takoyaki octopus balls and grilled snow crab, Osaka also boasts cultural attractions like Osaka Castle and the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. * Second City #2 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Stockholm is unquestionably Sweden's capital and its largest city. But not nearly as many have been to Gothenburg, the country's second largest metropolis and home to Sweden's largest university. The large population of students means Gothenburg has a surprisingly fertile arts and culture scene, frequently rivaling its larger sibling Stockholm for an unassuming, fun experience - all at a fraction of the price. * Second City #3 - Krakow, Poland - Krakow has slowly become of one Poland's greatest tourist attractions in recent years, steadily easing out of the shadow of much larger Warsaw. Unlike Warsaw, which was leveled by bombing during World War II, Krakow retains much of its historical architecture - a unique feature that will have first time visitors in awe. * Second City #4 - Melbourne, Australia - neighboring Sydney might boast the Opera House and stunning harbor views, but Australian visitors ignore Melbourne at their peril. The city is packed to the brim with top-notch shopping, hidden laneways and world class events like the Australian Open tennis tournament. * Second City #5 - Wellington, New Zealand - Auckland might appear to dominate New Zealand's economic and cultural agenda, but in truth it's modest-sized Wellington that's really calling the shots. In addition to being New Zealand's capital city, Wellington has a world-class museum at Te Papa, killer food and what might be the best cocktails this side of the Pacific. * Second City #6 - Montreal, Canada - any visitor that's been to the capital of Canada's Quebec province can tell you: Montreal will give Toronto a run for its money any day of the week. In addition to hosting two fantastic music festivals each summer and bohemian nightlife, Montreal is also full of plenty of French colonial architecture and charm. * Second City #7 - Chicago, USA - a list of "second cities" would not be complete without Chicago, arguably the birthplace of the term and perennial competitor to bigger American cities like New York and Los Angeles. Make no mistake about it though: Chicago might be called the second city, but it has first-city amenities, including amazing museums, some of the best food in the U.S. and plenty of friendly residents. * Second City #8 - Salvador, Brazil - picturesque Rio de Janeiro and glitzy Sao Paulo may get all the attention in Brazil, but it's Salvador that's really stealing the show. The city's laid-back citizens, fantastic beaches and historic colonial architecture make it strong competitor for best place to visit in Brazil. Plus, if you want to go to Carnival, Salvador hosts some of the country's most authentic celebrations. * Second City #9 - Galway, Ireland - true, rowdy Dublin has the Guinness Factory and Book of Kells. But don't forget about Galway, a gem of a town along Ireland's wild and windy West Coast. Galway's position as home to many of the country's university students, rugged natural beauty and frequent festivals make it strong contender for Ireland's best-kept secret. * Second City #10 - Barcelona, Spain - if you're among the many travelers already raving about Barcelona's many charms, this pick comes as no surprise. Madrid might be the cultural and political head of Spain, but it is freewheeling Barcelona that is its heart. Between the picturesque city setting nestled between craggy foothills and the Mediterranean Sea, top-notch nightlife and shopping, warm climate or the burgeoning arts scene, there's a lot to love in Barcelona. Did we mention your favorite second city? Think we missed a hidden gem? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.
  4. Rafael Viñoly Architects inspired by cello in flexible performance space design For the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Rafael Viñoly Architects PC was tasked with providing a state-of-the-art home for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a flexible theater for multiple types of performances, and a major new public space for the city of Philadelphia. Sited along the Avenue of the Arts cultural corridor on Broad Street, the premises would further the revitalization of this primary north-south axis in the downtown area, as well. The resulting Kimmel Center treats the main program components as freestanding buildings on a vast indoor public plaza, Commonwealth Plaza, enclosed by a brick, steel, and concrete perimeter building and topped by an immense steel-and-glass barrel vault roof that floods the interior with natural light. The main symphony hall, the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall, applies the acoustic principles of a cello on a vast scale, creating a mahogany-wrapped music space shaped like the body of the instrument. A series of operable doors augment the naturally resonant shape by allowing sound to flow into reverberation chambers that occupy the 16 ft wide interstitial spaces between the Verizon Hall enclosure and its interior. A configurable acoustic canopy above the stage directs sound energy out to the audience while allowing the musicians to hear themselves clearly. The Perelman Theater, an intimate, flexible recital hall, can accommodate an audience of 650 for cultural performances and other events. Its turntable stage enables transformation from a conventional proscenium to a smaller stage with a concert shell and wraparound seating. A winter garden tops the theater and features striking views of the Kimmel Center interior and the city skyline. Commonwealth Plaza, a sheltered extension of the sidewalk, encourages the fabric of the city to flow into the complex where cafés, free performances, spectacular architecture, and the people who visit combine to create a dynamic civic experience. “I used to play the cello, and there is a very direct connection between playing the instrument and creating a space like Verizon Hall," says Rafael Viñoly. "When making music, the intellectual and emotional aspects of playing must be connected to the kinetic, muscular efforts involved. They’re the same thing. And the best architecture comes from knowing they’re the same.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10105
  5. All in the balance Prix' Art Museum creates art from the landscape with panoramic views Coop Himmelb(l)au has been commissioned for the Art Museum Strongoli in Calabria, the firm's third project in Italy. The museum is not only a cultural center but also understood as a generator for a future development of Calabria, a place for cultural entertainment and recreation. Situated on the top of the “Motta Grande” hill in front of the city, the Art Museum is visible from far away, it's steely form contrasting with the lush green hillside. The new museum houses not only flexible exhibition spaces, but also a small “multi-hall” and a panorama restaurant. The project is a composition of three main elements: the emblematic, coneshaped construction with the entrance is orientated towards the city,Its spiralling ramp which gives access to the exhibition zone makes it is also a spectacular event space, while the cantilevering restaurant at the opposite end of the building offers a panoramic terrace facing the sea in the east. Both public attractors are linked by a two storey exhibition volume. The exhibition areas are determined to be as flexible as possible, supported by underground service facilities accessed via two elevators. The multi-hall can be used as temporary exhibition space, lecture hall, auditorium and cinema or simply as an extension space of the foyer for public events. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11366
  6. The Bilbao Effect: is 'starchitecture' all it’s cracked up to be? Every struggling post-industrial city has the same idea: hire a star architect (like Frank Gehry) to design a branch of a famous museum (like the Guggenheim), and watch your city blossom with culture. After all, it worked for Bilbao ... didn’t it? Tomasz Kacprzak, chairman of the city council of Łódź, the third-biggest city in Poland, was telling me about the time he met David Lynch. “We went to his house in California,” Kacprzak said. “He loves Łódź. He wants to build us a cultural centre.” (Lynch’s plan for a 90-acre site comprising a film studio, cinema, gallery, offices and bar in an abandoned power plant in Łódź – the city that also inspired the cult director’s film Inland Empire – is expected to open in 2016.) “Actually,” Kacprzak continued, “Lynch’s house is not great. The interior. It is not modern.” “Oh, no,” I said. “Retro? Nineties?” “No,” Kacprzak said. “Eighties. Gehry’s house was much nicer.” “You went to Frank Gehry’s house, too?” This was interesting. We were standing in the soaring atrium of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Gehry. Through the window, in the courtyard, you could make out the back of Jeff Koons’ huge, Edward Scissorhands-style plant sculpture, Puppy. “Yes,” Kacprzak said. “We asked for the Guggenheim in Łódź.” “You wanted Gehry to design a new museum?” “No,” Kacprzak said. “The same.” He swept his arm over the pine, glass and steel that curved above our heads. “You wanted him to build the exact same building?” “Yes,” Kacprzak said casually. “The same. But we would use it for a concert hall.” Much is made of the so-called ‘Bilbao effect’, the idea that attracting a world-class cultural institution – in Bilbao’s case, a branch of New York’s Guggenheim art museum – will put your city on the map, and in turn attract more investment, brands, tourism and cultural energy. This was the first time, however, that I’d heard someone say they wanted to copy Bilbao’s building exactly, swooping metal sheet for swooping metal sheet. “What did Gehry say?” I asked. “He said, ‘OK – but it will very expensive.’” Kacprzak shrugged. “We are a small city.” So, of course, was Bilbao 18 years ago when it rose to fame almost overnight. The fourth-largest city in Spain had lost its former glory as a manufacturing centre: its factories shuttered, its port decrepit. But after Spain joined the EU in 1986, Basque Country authorities embarked on an ambitious redevelopment programme for their biggest city. They drafted in expensive architects to design an airport (Santiago Calatrava), a metro system (Norman Foster), and a footbridge (Calatrava again), and in 1991 landed their biggest fish – the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, which decided to bring a new branch of the legendary Guggenheim Museum to the city, and hired star California architect Frank Gehry to build it. The building was an instant hit. Critics agreed Gehry’s deconstructed meringue of sweeping metal, which opened in 1997, was a work of “mercurial brilliance”. The collection inside, featuring art by Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko, Anselm Kiefer and Richard Serra, was world-class. The construction even came in on budget, at $89m. What’s more, Bilbao now had a landmark. Visitor spending in the city jumped, recouping the building cost within three years. Five years after construction, Bilbao estimated that its economic impact on the local economy was worth €168m, and poured an additional €27m into Basque government tax coffers – the equivalent of adding 4,415 jobs. More than one million people annually now visit the museum, which became the centrepiece of the Bilbao Art District: a cluster composed of the maritime museum, the fine arts museum and the Sala Rekalde art centre. In 2010, French designer Philippe Starck completed his renovation of a former wine cellar to create the Alhondiga culture and leisure centre (recently rebranded as Azkuna Zentroa). And Zaha Hadid has presented radical plans to redevelop the neglected Zorrozaurre peninsula and turn it into a high-tech residential and cultural island. A struggling city, decimated by the decline of its manufacturing base, had seemingly reinvented itself by – of all things – betting big on culture. Other post-industrial cities noticed. When I told Kacprzak’s story to Maria Fernandez Sabau, a cultural and museum consultant for cities around the world, she sighed. “Yes, many of my clients say the same thing: give us the Guggenheim,” she said. “Often the exact same building! But you can’t just copy it.” Don’t tell that to Abu Dhabi. Possibly in an attempt to buttress itself against the day the oil runs out, the city is building a museum complex called Saadiyat Island, which will feature branches of not just the Guggenheim (again) but the Louvre as well. In Hong Kong, the West Kowloon Cultural District will be home to M+, a new museum of Chinese contemporary art. There are plans for new cultural hubs centred on museums in Mecca, in Tirana, in Belo Horizonte and in Perth, Australia. It’s the same in the UK: Dundee has drafted in Kengo Kuma to build a new V&A Museum of Design, while Liverpool and Margate have welcomed the Tate Liverpool (designed by James Stirling) and the Turner Contemporary (David Chipperfield). Every city, it seems, wants to create the next Bilbao-Guggenheim-Gehry vortex. Praise for this model reached its zenith last month, as mayors, cultural attachés and city representatives descended on Bilbao for the UCLG Cities and Culture Conference. Walking the streets with Kacprzak from Łódź, I could see what the delegates liked so much. The city centre is clean. There are lots of expensive retail shops. “El Fosterito”, the glass-tube metro entrances designed by Foster, are slick and futuristic. And the people seem disproportionately well-off. Presiding over it all, like a monolith of gentrification, is the Guggenheim. Yet despite this icon of culture, the city seems strangely quiet. Where are the local galleries, the music, the graffiti, the skateboarders? Spain’s difficulties with youth unemployment are well-documented, but I expected more twentysomethings in what is regularly billed as a cultural capital. Does the Guggenheim actually encourage creativity in the city, as advertised, or is it a Disneylandish castle on the hill with a fancy name and an expensive entrance fee for tourists and the well-heeled? Is the Bilbao effect to spread culture, or just to spread money? “The Guggenheim put our city on the map, no question. But you also can’t get anything support here unless it’s top-down,” says Manu Gómez-Álvarez, an animated man of around 40 wearing earrings and a black hoodie, who is the driving force behind ZAWP, the Zorrozaurre Art Working Progress, a cultural group based on the Bilbao peninsula that Zaha Hadid proposes to completely redevelop. ZAWP is precisely the kind of cultural organisation that gets praised in megacities like London and New York. It’s a decentralised collective of young artists, theatre-makers, musicians and designers, with co-making spaces in the old industrial buildings of Zorrozaurre and a thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere in their colourful, funky headquarters – which also house a bar, a cafe, a gig space and a theatre. Gómez-Álvarez is leading a movement he calls Meanwhile, which aims to use the still-derelict buildings of the peninsula as temporary sites for plays, gigs, artistic interventions or even just cafes. Every proposal, at every turn, gets the same answer back from the authorities: no. “There’s no support for grassroots culture,” he says. “We waited 20 years before we got any funding from the government at all.” Last year, he says ZAWP finally received a grant – but they still don’t get a permanent home in the new Zorrozaurre, and will almost certainly have to move again. It’s hard to imagine: ZAWP’s premises are huge, stretching through half a dozen buildings and decorated in amazingly elaborate detail. And yet “we are nomads”, says Gómez-Álvarez. I asked Igor de Quadra, who runs Karraskan Bilbao – a network of more than a dozen theatre groups, venues and creative organisations – what he thought of the Guggenheim’s effect. He struggled to frame his words carefully. “It is fine for what it is,” he said at last, “but it gets a lot of attention from people who are just passing through. Events like this [uCLG forum] take up a lot of attention, but don’t leave much behind for Bilbao culture. Frankly, we don’t think about the Guggenheim.” The Guggenheim certainly doesn’t claim to be in the business of fostering local culture, nor would you expect it to. The museum has some Basque art and occasionally runs cultural workshops, but it’s an international art museum, rather incongruously plonked down in northern Spain. (Extreme Basque nationalists didn’t take kindly to its arrival: the week before it opened, ETA killed a police officer in a foiled attempt to bomb the museum.) There are, of course, Basque cultural organisations in the city, such as Harrobia Bilbao, a performing arts group established in a former church in the Otxarkoaga area in 2011, but their presence feels surprisingly marginal in a city that is supposed to be at the heart of Basque culture. “In English Canada, culture’s nice to have – in French Canada, it’s crucial,” says Simon Brault, head of the Arts Council of Canada, talking about a similar dynamic between French-speaking Quebec and the rest of the country. Brault helmed what you might call an “anti-Bilbao effect” – a completely different type of culture-led regeneration in another struggling post-industrial city, Montreal. Brault helped found an open, non-hierarchical cultural network called Culture Montreal, which rather than speaking only to the Guggenheims and cultural superstars of the city, was open to everyday Montrealers – bar owners, teachers, musicians. “An artist just in from Chile would be at the same table as the head of Cirque du Soleil,” he says. The aim wasn’t to secure funding for massive projects, but to put culture at the heart of the city’s regeneration. It was controversial at first. “The cultural groups thought it was a distraction and that what the culture sector needed was more money,” he said. “But within a year, we got what cultural groups had been asking for for 20 years: a seat at the table.” Rather than championing culture only for an elite group of professionals – and asking for money just for the huge institutions – Culture Montreal was better received by city and provincial governments, says Brault. Their goals were less arrogant: to increase cultural access for Montrealers, and to include culture as part of the solution to any civic problems. They achieved this, Brault says, by making everyone feel as though culture was a daily part of everyone’s life, not something for a sophisticated few. “There is definitely room for starchitects, but it’s always better to tap into local culture rather than buy it from outside. You can’t do culture in a city without involving citizens,” he said. So, which is the better way for cities – bottom-up cultural movements or big-ticket splashes? “Of course, there will always be top-down decisions,” Brault said. “The key is to look for a middle ground.” Hadid’s billion-pound redevelopment of Zorrozaurre will be a test for that middle ground in Bilbao. Will its 6,000 new houses, two new technology centres and park genuinely engage with local culture, or will it simply be a flashy area for rich Spaniards looking for a waterfront property? The Bilbao effect might be famous, but it’s here that it could be truly tested. Those cities around the globe hoping a brand-name museum will save them should be watching carefully. “The Guggenheim Bilbao was a rare occurrence,” says museum consultant Maria Fernandez Sabau. “There was an incredible confluence of amazing, talented people. You had a museum that was hungry to expand, available land for cheap, a government with money, an architect itching to make a statement, and a city that desperately needed a new reason to exist. You can’t just buy that.” http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/30/bilbao-effect-gehry-guggenheim-history-cities-50-buildings?CMP=twt_gu
  7. MONTREAL, June 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The head office of Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B) now boasts a new address at 1800 McGill College Avenue. Astral-one of Canada's largest media companies-also shares its name with this office building that has been part of Montréalers' lives since 1989 and now becomes Maison Astral. Over 400 of the 2,800 Astral employees will occupy many of the building's floors, including Corporate Department employees, as well as a large portion of its French-television team and Sales Department employees. "Our company was founded in Montréal nearly 50 years ago and we take great pride in helping to make our city one of the country's economic and cultural drivers. Today, we are delighted to occupy a choice location at the heart of Montréal's business and cultural district," declared Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astral. Maison Astral is a 30-storey office building with a breathtaking view of the Mount Royal that overlooks Montréal's most strategic hub at the corner of McGill College Avenue and de Maisonneuve Boulevard. ----------------------------------------------- They have already installed their hideous new logo
  8. Let us decide its own cultural priorities, Charest says Quebec premier calls for reversal of arts funding cuts KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 8 hours ago (The Gazette)
  9. Yo Malek, Dans un fil sur les Musées Canadiens sur Skyscrapercity(section Canada), tu as posté un article qui viens du Globe and Mail. le dernier paragraphe parle de la crainte de voir Montréal dépassée par Toronto comme la capitale de Culture au Canada. j'ai peut être un blanc de mémoir, mais, est ce que quelqu'un ici sait de quoi ils parlent? Plusieurs MILLIARDS de $ de la part du Gouv. Provincial dans la culture??? avez vous des exemples? Merci les filles!
  10. With Festival Season Underway, Montreal Reflects on 10-Year Cultural Plan BY GREG SCRUGGS | JUNE 17, 2016 Summery electronic beats floated through the air alongside fragrant cheese and the occasional whiff of marijuana. Picnic blankets laden with pâté and baguettes commingled with flowing bottles of beer and wine. Families parked strollers, millennials lounged near their bikes, and techno tourists went gaga for Swedish DJ and producer Peder Mannerfelt. The occasion for such a languid Saturday afternoon earlier this month in downtown Montreal was MUTEK, a festival dedicated to electronic music and digital arts that held its 17th edition this year. Its free programming at the Parterre, a simple plaza easily converted into a performing arts venue, is just a small sampling of the festival overload that takes hold every summer in the city’s Quartier des Spectacles, a downtown cultural district that hosts most of the outdoor fêtes. Even as the 40,000 MUTEK attendees, roughly half from outside the metropolitan area, fluttered among a handful of the Quartier’s sleek venues, workers were busy maneuvering lighting trusses and erecting stages on downtown streets to accommodate the 500,000 that came for Les FrancoFolies, a French-language music festival that wraps up Friday, and the 2.5 million expected for the Montreal Jazz Festival, which starts June 26. Montreal is North America’s undisputed festival capital, with 200 annual medium- to large-size events downtown that generate over 1,000 festival days, according to the city’s Bureau of Cinema, Festivals, and Events. “For the size of Montreal, that’s pretty astounding,” says the bureau’s director, Daniel Bissonnette. The metro area of 4 million has a comparatively low GDP per capita, he points out, but through a combination of dedicated cultural infrastructure and savvy marketing, it punches well above its weight. Cities have come knocking at his door to ask what’s in Montreal’s secret sauce, he says, most recently Los Angeles. At the end of June, Bissonnette will travel to Kraków, Poland, for a meeting of a nascent, as-yet-unnamed international network of festival cities that also includes the likes of Adelaide, Barcelona, Berlin and Edinburgh. But as the city’s international festival acclaim grows, it must also continue to nurture the local cultural community, whose public arts funding is in limbo as the provincial government plans to cut back while the federal government has pledged to increase support. Plus, next year concludes the scope of the city’s 10-year cultural plan and the city council is poised to adopt a new strategy. While it’s still early for any concrete details, the bustling summer scene downtown offers some clues as to what the future might hold. The square-kilometer patch of the eastern edge of downtown Montreal demarcated as the Quartier des Spectacles was once the city’s red light district and a popular cheap housing option for artists. But it was also the home to the symphony and opera halls, a clutch of theaters and music venues, and the Museum of Contemporary Art — now MUTEK’s annual home base. First proposed in 2002, the Quartier des Spectacles came together over the last decade through a series of demolitions, rehabs and new constructions. The artists living there were, by and large, kicked out — whether by eviction or escalating housing costs as new condos came into the neighborhood. Some affordable live-work space was built in the Mile End neighborhood in exchange for the loss, but the artistic community who created the cachet for the neighborhood to become the Quartier des Spectacles was not compensated directly. While some of Montreal’s infamous strip clubs remain, it’s hardly the red light district it used to be — though red illumination on many of the Quartier’s sidewalks pay homage to its seedier days. And new construction continues apace, from outdoor spots like the Parterre and the Place des Festivals to new anchors like a fresh home for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and next year’s planned arrival of the National Film Board of Canada. The result has been a resurgence in downtown living by a more well-heeled crowd attracted to the city’s cultural offerings, which mirrors trends across North America. But while cities like Philadelphia have managed at best an Avenue of the Arts, Montreal has taken over a whole neighborhood and it continues to grow. “The Quartier des Spectacles is not a finished thing,” notes MUTEK Director Alain Mongeau. Chantal Fontaine opened a bistro two years ago in the heart of the quarter along Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which is pedestrianized during the summer festival months. “The golden age of the red light district passed a long time ago,” she says, dismissing any nostalgia for the neighborhood’s previous incarnation. Also an accomplished comedienne, Fontaine lives three blocks away and notes that she can walk out the front door of her condo at 7:45 p.m. to make an 8 o’clock show. She envisions the Quartier as the city’s answer to Broadway in New York and hopes that the city’s new cultural strategy will reflect that ambition. “International renown, that Montreal becomes an incubator of shows that tour the world,” she says. “We must value our local culture abroad, we have the talent for that.” MUTEK, meanwhile, is already doing that and downtown is essential to its identity. “If we moved to another neighborhood we’d have to remap the whole discourse of the festival,” Mongeau says. “We feel like we’re contributing to the brand of the city.” Blending culture and commerce doesn’t sit well with everyone however. “Western society is pushing us to be entrepreneur artists,” laments Ghislain Poirier, a DJ/producer and a fixture on Montreal’s music scene who has played at MUTEK in past years. In 2010, he wrote an open letter to the mayor complaining that the city was kowtowing to new condo dwellers’ noise complaints and shutting down music clubs — the very venues that made the neighborhood appealing for real estate developers in the first place. That issue has since quieted down, with Bissonnette pointing out new building codes requiring triple-pane windows, policies governing the timing of outdoor amplified sound during festivals, and municipal noise inspectors who will come to a complainant’s home to objectively measure interior sound. “That’s the price you pay to have the excitement downtown,” he says. “A park far away from downtown? That’s not how Montreal works.” Nevertheless, Poirier is convinced that the cultural geography of the city has changed as a result. “Downtown is more for performing, it’s not a place of creation,” he says. “Before it was lofts and artists. Now it’s venues and festivals, mass culture and Hollywood big events.” At the same time, such bookings are valuable and Poirier looks forward to the fat paycheck from festival gigs in the Quartier des Spectacles, which help him pay Montreal’s still affordable, but nevertheless rising, cost of living. While the trend of displaced artists is hardly unique to Montreal, the phenomenon of cultural gentrification is atypical — newer, fancier forms of culture displacing older, scruffier types. As the city prepares to plan ahead for the next 10 years, it may be time to put on the brakes, Poirier says. “There are almost too many events. We’re coming to a saturation point.” https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/montreal-festivals-10-year-cultural-plan
  11. MONTREAL - Montreal must be the bad-news capital of Canada. That’s the impression I got from an email I received last Saturday from Jean-François Dumas, the president of a Montreal-based media-monitoring service, Influence Communication. Dumas was responding to my column in Saturday’s Gazette. In the column, I speculated that negative publicity outside Quebec about the Pastagate affair may be a factor in what so far has been a disappointing summer tourist season in Montreal. “Pastagate” refers to the furor last February over the unsuccessful attempt by Quebec’s French-language-protection agency to force a Montreal restaurant to add French translations to the Italian names of dishes on its menu. As I mentioned in my column, Dumas’s firm reported less than a week after the story broke that Pastagate had become the subject of 350 articles in 14 countries as far away as Australia, and many more articles in Canada. Dumas’s firm started monitoring media coverage in 2000, And he said in his email that for the first several years, it found that Quebec received “softball” (bonbon) coverage in the international media. Most of it, 58 per cent, was about either Quebec’s culture or its tourist attractions. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “It was even said often that Montreal was an ‘incubator for cultural products and ideas.’ “The only criticism addressed to Quebec concerned its exploitation and exportation of asbestos to developing countries.” That began to change early last year, during the disruptive and sometimes violent student protests against the former Liberal government’s university-fee increases. In the last 18 months, said Dumas, a series of events had “considerably changed” Quebec’s image in the foreign media. “In fact, one might even say that Quebec has become one big news story” in itself — and a mostly negative one. Dumas listed a “Top 15” of the Quebec stories that received the most coverage in international media since the beginning of 2012 (see accompanying list). Except for the papal candidacy of Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, most of the stories were negative. (Pastagate ranked No. 11). And most of them were linked to Montreal. If that doesn’t make Montreal the bad-news capital of Canada, I don’t know what is. I can’t think of another Canadian city that has produced nearly as many big, negative news stories in the same period. The mayor of Toronto is alleged to have smoked crack? Pfft. The actual arrest of Montreal’s mayor only made it to No. 8 on Dumas’s list. A police raid at Montreal city hall just cracked the list at No. 15. In a demonstration of the media version of Gresham’s law in economics, the bad coverage of Montreal has driven out the good. Dumas noted that in the past 18 months, Quebec’s cultural and tourist attractions have lost 65 per cent of their share of international media coverage. And, he concluded, the damage to the images of Quebec in general and Montreal in particular is not good for their economies. “If one accepts that a city, a province or a country is a bit like a brand in foreign media, and that the interest of others helps generate tourism, immigration and investments, I believe that we should seriously question ourselves about the state of our collective assets.” Montreal hoteliers might agree. The latest figures obtained from the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal show that last month, compared with July 2011, the number of nightly room occupations in its 77 member hotels in the metropolitan region was down by 40,000. Top 15 Quebec news stories by volume of international media coverage since January 2012 (Source: Influence Communication) 1. Lac-Mégantic disaster 2. Magnotta case 3. Student protests 4. Helicopter jailbreak 5. Charbonneau inquiry and corruption 6. Quebec papal candidate 7. Metropolis shooting 8. Arrest of Montreal mayor Applebaum 9. Gatineau shooting 10. Explosion at fireworks factory 11. Pastagate 12. Turban in soccer 13. Resignation of Montreal mayor Tremblay 14. Shafia “honour” killing trial 15. Police raid at Montreal city hall [email protected] Twitter: MacphersonGaz © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  12. Urban design: we are falling behind Montreal seems to be lacking ambition when it comes to architectural statements By Luca L. Barone June 26, 2012 Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4Z0new In 2009, New York City converted an old elevated railroad on the west side of Manhattan into a park of ingenious design. The High Line is a triumph of civic engagement and urban planning. The park’s brilliant designers, the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, recently unveiled exciting plans for the High Line’s final section. Why is my own city, so rich in history and creativity, lacking similarly enchanting public spaces, and treading water when it ought to be steaming forward? A city as difficult to govern as New York has accomplished this extraordinary feat, while Montreal seems stuck with meagre ambitions and unimaginative leadership – not to mention the blight of festering corruption. Parsimonious rather than provident, we end up with oppressive mediocrity in our built environment. Too much of that environment is neither inspiring nor graceful. To quote Samuel Butler: O God, O Montreal! This is not a question of green space; Montreal is full of parks. The High Line embodies an innovative approach to the adaptive reuse of urban structures that integrates environmental and economic sustainability, historic preservation, and creativity in design. It is an approach to urban planning that is not yet evident in our city. Montreal exhibits some of the best and worst aspects of Europe and North America. Neither genuinely French, nor British, nor American, our city is a fascinating hybrid with an eclectic beauty made up of unusual juxtapositions drawn from both the Old and New Worlds. Yet we inhabit a purgatory somewhere between Houston and Paris, afflicted by car-fuelled urban sprawl along with imported European architectural inhumanities like the brutalism of Place Bonaventure. We need to regain our lost cosmopolitan ambition, that sense of limitless opportunity combined with cultural sophistication that makes things happen that has not been seen in Montreal since the glory days of Expo 67, the opening of our pioneering métro, and the 1976 Summer Olympics. The High Line’s greatest lesson for us should be how profoundly constructive the convergence of proactive civic participation, business and excellent design can be. By adopting the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement, a comprehensive urban planning scheme that emphasizes transit-oriented development, the Montreal Metropolitan Community has taken a step in the right direction. It has wisely heeded Harvard economist Edward Glaeser’s advice to increase population density around transit hubs. But builders and architects need the liberty to be bold. Development in Montreal is in a negative recursive loop: a byzantine bureaucracy imposes its banal tastes on those taking the financial risk on real-estate ventures, while many developers lack the aesthetic judgment or the civic pride to take on the challenge of building something of lasting architectural value. New York’s Standard Hotel was built suspended over the High Line on massive piers – an unconventional ensemble that has created a remarkably attractive, unique sense of place. Had such an idea been proposed for Montreal, would it ever have seen the light of day? That kind of audacity would probably have been ignored by developers indifferent to innovative design, or buried under the weight of municipal red tape. Encouraging local talent and participating in international cultural life are both important. Montreal fails on both counts. Little of note has been built in Montreal for decades, with the exception of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s IBM building at 1250 René Lévesque Blvd. – and that was in 1992. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square, I.M. Pei’s Place Ville Marie, Pier Luigi Nervi’s Tour de la Bourse – these are all buildings from the past that garnered the city positive attention and allowed Montreal to participate in a broader international cultural life. Peter Zumthor, Steven Holl, SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano – none of these leading contemporary architects are now on their way to Montreal. Montreal may never be New York or Paris, or build projects on the same scale as these global centres, but it was once closer to being a world city than it is today. Size is not the issue; another sinkhole of public funds like the Olympic Stadium would do us no good. We need civic competence, wise economic policy, and architectural excellence. Surely all are within our reach. One upcoming project stands out as a chance for Montreal to redeem itself. The rebuilding of the Champlain Bridge is an epochal opportunity to create an impressive monument for today’s Montreal. People marvelled at the Victoria Bridge when it was completed in 1859. In the early 21st century, we can again dazzle the world, with an elegant new Champlain Bridge built to exacting international standards. Mayor Gérald Tremblay has already said the federal government should devote one per cent of the project’s total budget to finding an innovative design for the bridge, just as the provincial government has set aside one per cent of the Turcot Interchange’s reconstruction budget to generating new ideas. Ottawa should hold an international competition judged by a jury of global experts to choose an outstanding design for the new Champlain Bridge. All Montrealers should support this initiative to ensure that we end up with a work of public infrastructure that is worthy of our city. Let’s do great things together again. Luca L. Barone of St. Léonard is a McGill University law student and a developer. He studied at New York’s Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. CORRECTION: An Opinion column in Tuesday’s Gazette, headlined “Urban design: we are falling behind,” which made mention of New York City’s High Line park, failed to mention one of the two firms that were partners in the design of that park. The designers were landscape-architecture firm James Corner Field Operations and architectural firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4dmlEb
  13. Despite its abundance of culture, attendance is low. It’s hard to imagine that cosmopolitan Montreal, with its feted music scene, mountains of arts funding, work-to-live inclination and literary sensibility, would place anywhere but at the very top of a list of Canada’s Most Cultured Cities. An even bigger surprise is to find it near the bottom. True, cultural opportunities abound in Montreal. There’s the world-class Montreal Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Métropolitain, L’Opéra de Montréal, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, a half-dozen music festivals, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Pop Montreal, and no fewer than a dozen museums. “But the index isn’t about whether something exists,” says Paul Cappon, president and chief executive of the Canadian Council on Learning. “It’s about whether people actually use it.” And when you crunch the numbers, looking at how many Montrealers actually went to the ballet, for instance, or visited the McCord Museum of Canadian History last year, the locals look a lot more like rubes than the cultural leaders many in the rest of Canada imagine them to be. Only one in four Montrealers visited a museum last year, compared with nearly half of all Victoria residents. More Winnipeggers Scores:http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/05/20/smart-cities-2010-canadas-most-cultured-cities/ Source:http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/05/20/why-does-montreal-rank-so-poorly/
  14. Montreal’s economic development lags behind that of other Canadian cities and it needs greater political and economic powers to turn around its sagging fortunes, says a new study. It’s time to realize that Montreal is a motor of the Quebec economy that contributes more than it gets back, said BMO President L. Jacques Ménard, the chancellor of Concordia University. He unveiled the 162-page study by BMO Financial Group, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, on Tuesday. “Montreal finances more than half of the public spending across Quebec, even, in fact, the Colisée,” said Ménard, referring to controversial plans to build a new arena in Quebec City. Yet Canada’s second-biggest city has no more powers than small towns like Ste-Adèle or Mascouche, Ménard said. Forced to rely on property taxes to finance repairs to its crumbling infrastructure, Montreal needs to be recognized and promoted as Quebec’s metropolis, he said. “We have to get away from the unfortunate idea, I think, that wrongly presents the development of Montreal as being antithetical to that of the regions,” he said. With slow population growth, stagnating personal income and sagging economic growth, Montreal has lost 20 per cent of its major head offices in 20 years, the report noted. A comparison with five other Canadian cities shows that Montreal’s GDP grew by only 37 per cent over the past 15 years, compared to 59 per cent on average for Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver. Montreal’s population only grew by 16 per cent compared to 33 per cent for the other cities. Unemployment remains at about 8.5 per cent in Montreal compared to 6.3 per cent in the other cities. And Montrealers’ disposable income has risen by only 51 per cent in 15 years, compared to 87 per cent for residents of the other five cities. “It has to do with the lack of us trying to create a milieu where ideas, people and technology conjugate to create innovation and to contribute to what you could call the new economy,” Ménard said. “One has to try and imagine what is Montreal going to look like 10 years from now? What are the new things we’re going to be doing and exporting that we’re not doing today?” he asked. For solutions, the report looked to seven world cities that have successfully regenerated their economies after going through periods of decline. They are Boston, Manchester, Melbourne, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle. Researchers identified strategies all of the successful cities used to become more competitive in the global economy, Ménard said. They included strong municipal leadership, support from higher levels of government, centres of excellence that acted as catalysts for growth, improved quality of life and transportation, a focus on human capital at universities and colleges, and development of a strong identity or brand for the city. With its effervescent cultural scene, cultural diversity, cheap rents and key industries like aerospace, technology and medical research, Montreal has enormous potential to thrive, the report said. Ménard said one way to achieve that potential is to unleash the talent and expertise concentrated in its five universities (including the Longueuil campus of the Université de Sherbrooke) instead of treating institutions of higher learning simply as service centres. “Montreal is a revolving door,” he said, noting the city loses as many residents as it gains. Even though the city has a huge student population, it retains few graduates because most leave in search of better opportunities, the report found. Corruption scandals and the divisive debate over the charter of values also make the city a less attractive and welcoming place, it said. Researchers interviewed more than 50 community leaders from a variety of fields, including cultural industries, education, finance, industry, health, community organizations, politics and technology to delve into challenges facing the city. Ménard emphasized the initiative is non-partisan and said it was only a coincidence that the report, which was 18 months in the making, is coming out just before a provincial election campaign. Premier Pauline Marois is expected to call an election in the coming days or weeks. “They say coincidences can be lucky. If the revitalization of Montreal is part of the debate in the coming weeks, I think it will be good for Quebec,” he said. Ménard said Montreal is sorely neglected by other levels of government. “When you look at the Champlain Bridge, the Turcot Interchange, the state of our roads, I don’t think they would have tolerated that in Ottawa, or in Quebec City, or even in Toronto,” he said. He said he hopes Montreal will be front and centre in the coming election campaign. “If they mention the word Montreal more than 100 times, I’m going to break out the champagne because it doesn’t happen very often,” he said. Ménard said he hopes to rally citizens from all walks of life to join the effort to revitalize the city. A public meeting is planned for June 13 at the Palais des Congrès and will include people from business, higher education, social agencies, the arts and youth organizations. Mayor Denis Coderre said he fully support the initiative and will do all he can to achieve the dream of putting Montreal back on the road to prosperity. “I’m inspired today,” he said. [email protected] You can download the report, in French, here: http://www.bmo.com/ci/files/Creer_un_nouvel_elan_a_Montreal.pdf « PREVIOUS 1 2 View as one page NEXT » © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  15. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Empress+Theatre+will+house+movie+theatre+commercial+offices/7199253/story.html#ixzz25hrcSoJI Nice to see that this landmark will be saved. I will for sure go check it out, when it is all renovated.
  16. April 7, 2009 By MELENA RYZIK Apologies to residents of the Lower East Side; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and other hipster-centric neighborhoods. You are not as cool as you think, at least according to a new study that seeks to measure what it calls “the geography of buzz.” The research, presented in late March at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, locates hot spots based on the frequency and draw of cultural happenings: film and television screenings, concerts, fashion shows, gallery and theater openings. The buzziest areas in New York, it finds, are around Lincoln and Rockefeller Centers, and down Broadway from Times Square into SoHo. In Los Angeles the cool stuff happens in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, along the Sunset Strip, not in trendy Silver Lake or Echo Park. The aim of the study, called “The Geography of Buzz,” said Elizabeth Currid, one of its authors, was “to be able to quantify and understand, visually and spatially, how this creative cultural scene really worked.” To find out, Ms. Currid, an assistant professor in the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and her co-author, Sarah Williams, the director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, mined thousands of photographs from Getty Images that chronicled flashy parties and smaller affairs on both coasts for a year, beginning in March 2006. It was not a culturally comprehensive data set, the researchers admit, but a wide-ranging one. And because the photos were for sale, they had to be of events that people found inherently interesting, “a good proxy for ‘buzz-worthy’ social contexts,” they write. You had to be there, but where exactly was there? And why was it there? The answers were both obvious and not, a Möbius strip connecting infrastructure (Broadway shows need Broadway theaters, after all), media (photographers need to cover Broadway openings) and the bandwagon nature of popular culture. Buzz, as marketers eagerly attest, feeds on itself, even, apparently, at the building level. A related exhibition opens on Tuesday at Studio-X in the West Village, just south of Houston Street, an area not quite buzzy enough to rank. The study follows in the wake of urban theorists like Richard Florida (Ms. Currid calls him a mentor), who have emphasized the importance of the creative class to civic development. “We had social scientists, economists, geographers all talk about it being so important,” Ms. Currid said. “It matters in the fashion industry, it matters in high tech. The places that produce these cultural innovations matter. We have sort of this idea — ‘Oh, Bungalow 8 matters,’ but what do we even mean by that?” Ms. Currid became interested in assessing social scenes when doing research for her 2007 book, “The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art & Music Drive New York City.” For the buzz project, snapshots from more than 6,000 events — 300,000 photos in all — were categorized according to event type, controlled for overly celebrity-driven occasions and geo-tagged at the street level, an unusually detailed drilling down, Ms. Williams said. (Socioeconomic data typically follow ZIP codes or broad census tracts.) The researchers quickly found clusters around celebrated locations: the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held, for example, or Times Square. “Certain places do become iconic, and they become the branded spaces to do that stuff,” Ms. Currid said. “It’s hard to start a new opera house or a new theater district if you already have a Carnegie Hall or a Lincoln Center.” The allure trickled down to the blocks nearby, Ms. Currid said, pointing to the nightclub district in West Chelsea, which started with Bungalow 8. “Why wouldn’t they want to be near the places that already were the places to be?” she asked. “It makes a lot of economic and social sense.” New York Los Angeles That the buzzy locales weren’t associated with the artistic underground was a quirk of the data set — there were not enough events in Brooklyn to be statistically significant — and of timing. “If we took a snapshot two years from now, the Lower East Side would become a much larger place in how we understand New York,” Ms. Currid said. But mostly the data helped show the continued dominance of the mainstream news media as a cultural gatekeeper, and the never-ending cycle of buzz in the creative world. “There’s an economy of scale,” Ms. Currid said. “The media goes to places where they know they can take pictures that sell. And the people in these fields show up because the media is there.” Distribution to a far-flung audience helps cement an area’s reputation as a Very Important Place. “We argue that those not conventionally involved in city development (paparazzi, marketers, media) have unintentionally played a significant role in the establishment of buzz and desirability hubs within a city,” Ms. Williams and Ms. Currid write in the study. Whether their research can be used to manufacture interest — hold your party at a certain space, and boom, buzz! — or help city planners harness social convergence to create artist-friendly neighborhoods remains to be seen. (Ms. Currid and Ms. Williams next hope to map economic indicators like real-estate values against their cultural buzz-o-meter.) For Ms. Williams the geo-tagging represents a new wave of information that can be culled from sites like Flickr and Twitter. “We’re going to see more research that’s using these types of finer-grained data sets, what I call data shadows, the traces that we leave behind as we go through the city,” she said. “They’re going to be important in uncovering what makes cities so dynamic.” Ms. Currid added: “People talk about the end of place and how everything is really digital. In fact, buzz is created in places, and this data tells us how this happens.” But even after their explicit study of where to find buzz, Ms. Currid and Ms. Williams did not come away with a better understanding of how to define it. Rather, like pornography, you know it when you see it. “As vague a term as ‘buzz’ is, it’s so socially and economically important for cultural goods,” Ms. Currid said. “Artists become hot because so many people show up for their gallery opening, people want to wear designers because X celebrity is wearing them, people want to go to movies because lots of people are going to them and talking about them. Even though it’s like, ‘What the heck does that mean?,’ it means something.” Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company Privacy Policy Search Corrections RSS First Look Help Contact Us Work for Us Site Map http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/arts/design/07buzz.html?ref=arts
  17. More Quebecers see immigrants as threat: poll By Marian Scott, The GazetteMay 22, 2009 6:59 Protesters demonstrate outside Palais des congrès during the Bouchard-Taylor hearings on reasonable accommodation in November 2007. Protesters demonstrate outside Palais des congrès during the Bouchard-Taylor hearings on reasonable accommodation in November 2007. Photograph by: John Kenney, Gazette file photo One year after a provincial report on the accommodation of cultural minorities, a majority of Quebecers still say newcomers should give up their cultural traditions and become more like everybody else, according to a new poll. Quebecers’ attitudes toward immigrants have hardened slightly since 2007, when the Bouchard-Taylor commission started hearings across Quebec on the “reasonable accommodation” of cultural communities. The survey by Léger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies found that 40 per cent of francophones view non-Christian immigrants as a threat to Quebec society, compared with 32 per cent in 2007. Thirty-two per cent of non-francophones said non-Christian immigrants threaten Quebec society, compared with 34 per cent in 2007. “If you look at opinions at the start of the Bouchard-Taylor commission and 18 months later, basically, they haven’t changed,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the non-profit research institute. “If the hearings were designed to change attitudes, that has not occurred,” he added. Headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor, the $3.7-million commission held hearings across Quebec on how far society should go to accommodate religious and cultural minorities. It received 900 briefs and heard from 3,423 participants in 22 regional forums. Its report, made public one year ago Friday, made 37 recommendations, including abolishing prayers at municipal council meetings; increasing funding for community organizations that work with immigrants and initiatives to promote tolerance; providing language interpreters in health care; encouraging employers to allow time off for religious holidays; studying how to hire more minorities in the public service; and attracting immigrants to remote regions. Rachad Antonius, a professor of sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, said it’s no surprise the commission failed to change Quebecers’ attitudes toward minorities. “Focusing on cultural differences is the wrong approach,” Antonius said. Cultural communities need to achieve economic equality by having access to education, social services and job opportunities, he said. “If there is greater economic integration, that is what is going to change things,” he said. The poll reveals persistent differences between younger and older Quebecers and between francophones and non-francophones on cultural and religious diversity. For example, 56 per cent of respondents age 18 to 24 said Muslim girls should be allowed to wear hijabs in public schools, while only 30 per cent of those 55 and over approved of head scarves in school. Sixty-three per cent of non-francophones said head scarves should be permitted in school compared with 32 per cent of French-speaking respondents. Only 25 per cent of francophones said Quebec society should try harder to accept minority groups’ customs and traditions while 74 per cent of non-francophones said it should make more of an effort to do so. The poll also found Quebecers split on an ethics and religion course introduced last year in schools across the province. A coalition of parents and Loyola High School, a private Catholic institution, are challenging the nondenominational course, which they say infringes parents’ rights to instill religious values in their children. Half of francophones said the course was a good thing while 78 per cent of non-francophones gave it a thumbs up. When asked their opinion of different religious groups, 88 per cent of French-speakers viewed Catholics favourably, 60 per cent viewed Jews favourably – down 12 percentage points from 2007 – and 40 per cent had a favourable opinion of Muslims (compared with 57 per cent in 2007). Among non-francophones, 92 per cent viewed Catholics with favour, 77 per cent had a positive opinion of Jews and 65 a good opinion of Muslims. A national poll published this month by Maclean’s Magazine also revealed that many Canadians are biased against religious minorities, particularly in Quebec. The survey by Angus Reid Strategies reported that 68 per cent of Quebecers view Islam negatively while 52 per cent of Canadians as a whole have a low opinion of the religion. It found that 36 per cent of Quebecers view Judaism unfavourably, compared with 59 per cent of Ontarians. The Léger Marketing survey of 1,003 Quebecers was conducted by online questionnaire May 13-16. Results are considered accurate within 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  18. Au moins on va se consoler en jouant au Monopoly! National governments may shape the broad outlines of globalization, but where does it really play out? Where are globalization’s successes and failures most acute? Where else but the places where most of humanity now chooses to live and work—cities. The world’s biggest, most interconnected cities help set global agendas, weather transnational dangers, and serve as the hubs of global integration. They are the engines of growth for their countries and the gateways to the resources of their regions. In many ways, the story of globalization is the story of urbanization. But what makes a “global city”? The term itself conjures a command center for the cognoscenti. It means power, sophistication, wealth, and influence. To call a global city your own suggests that the ideas and values of your metropolis shape the world. And, to a large extent, that’s true. The cities that host the biggest capital markets, elite universities, most diverse and well-educated populations, wealthiest multinationals, and most powerful international organizations are connected to the rest of the world like nowhere else. But, more than anything, the cities that rise to the top of the list are those that continue to forge global links despite intensely complex economic environments. They are the ones making urbanization work to their advantage by providing the vast opportunities of global integration to their people; measuring cities’ international presence captures the most accurate picture of the way the world works. So, Foreign Policy teamed up with A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs to create the Global Cities Index, a uniquely comprehensive ranking of the ways in which cities are integrating with the rest of the world. In constructing this index of the world’s most global cities, we have collected and analyzed a broad array of data, as well as tapped the brainpower of such renowned cities experts as Saskia Sassen, Witold Rybczynski, Janet Abu-Lughod, and Peter Taylor. Specifically, the Global Cities Index ranks cities’ metro areas according to 24 metrics across five dimensions. The first is business activity: including the value of its capital markets, the number of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered there, and the volume of the goods that pass through the city. The second dimension measures human capital, or how well the city acts as a magnet for diverse groups of people and talent. This includes the size of a city’s immigrant population, the number of international schools, and the percentage of residents with university degrees. The third dimension is information exchange—how well news and information is dispersed about and to the rest of the world. The number of international news bureaus, the amount of international news in the leading local papers, and the number of broadband subscribers round out that dimension. The final two areas of analysis are unusual for most rankings of globalized cities or states. The fourth is cultural experience, or the level of diverse attractions for international residents and travelers. That includes everything from how many major sporting events a city hosts to the number of performing arts venues it boasts. The final dimension— political engagement—measures the degree to which a city influences global policymaking and dialogue. How? By examining the number of embassies and consulates, major think tanks, international organizations, sister city relationships, and political conferences a city hosts. We learned long ago that globalization is much more than the simple lowering of market barriers and economic walls. And because the Global Cities Index pulls in these measures of cultural, social, and policy indicators, it offers a more complete picture of a city’s global standing—not simply economic or financial ties. The 60 cities included in this first Global Cities Index run the gamut of the modern urban experience. There’s thriving, wealthy London, with its firmly entrenched global networks built on the city’s history as capital of an empire. But there are also Chongqing, Dhaka, and Lagos, cities whose recent surges tell us a great deal about the direction globalization is heading and whose experiences offer lessons to other aspiring global cities. The cities we highlight are world leaders in important areas such as finance, policymaking, and culture. A few are megacities in the developing world whose demand for resources means they must nurture close ties with their neighbors and provide services to large numbers of immigrants. Some are gateways to their region. Others host important international institutions. In other words, they represent a broad cross section of the world’s centers of commerce, culture, and communication. THE WINNER’S CIRCLE So, which city topped them all? If anything, the results prove there is no such thing as a perfect global city; no city dominated all dimensions of the index. However, a few came close. New York emerged as the No. 1 global city this year, followed by London, Paris, and Tokyo. The Big Apple beat out other global powerhouses largely on the back of its financial markets, through the networks of its multinationals, and by the strength of its diverse creative class. Overall runner-up London won the cultural dimension by a mile, with Paris and New York trailing far behind. Perhaps surprisingly for a city known more for museums than modems, third-ranked Paris led the world in the information exchange category. No. 4 Tokyo ranked highly thanks to its strong showing in business. And, though it finished 11th overall, Washington easily beat out New York, Brussels, and Paris as the leader in global policy. Although the winners may be the usual suspects, they have plenty of new competition on their heels. Buoyed by their strong financial links, Hong Kong and Singapore finished at fifth and seventh, respectively. Chicago’s strong human-capital performance sent it into the eighth spot. What’s more, several strong performers are emerging from formerly closed societies: Beijing (No. 12), Moscow (19), Shanghai (20), and Dubai (27). The new, sometimes abbreviated, often state-led, paths to global dominance these cities are treading threaten the old formulas that London, New York, and Los Angeles (No. 6) followed to reach their high spots. As diverse as they are, the most successful global cities have several things in common: As New York proves, global cities are those that excel across multiple dimensions. Even Shanghai’s staggering, decades-long double-digit annual economic growth alone can’t make it global. The city also must determine how to use that wealth to influence policy, attract the brightest young minds, and accurately portray the rest of the world to its citizens. Global cities continuously adapt to changing circumstances. London may be the city hardest hit by the global credit crunch, but chances are that it will leverage its abundant global financial ties to bounce back. Singapore, San Francisco (15), and Mexico City (25) will no doubt be taking notes. As the world readjusts to the fits and starts of a volatile global economy, as well as other transnational problems such as climate change, human trafficking, and fuel shortages, the Global Cities Index will track the way cities maneuver as their populations grow and the world shrinks. Although we can’t predict next year’s winner, the odds are good that New York will have to fight to stay on top. How to Be a Global City There is no single correct path a city should tread to become global. But how should cities that want to boost their international profile go about it? They could follow any of the tried-and-true models that came before them. Just look at the various ways some of this year’s 60 global cities manage to use urbanization and globalization to their advantage. Open Cities What they look like: Large cities with a free press, open markets, easy access to information and technology, low barriers to foreign trade and investment, and loads of cultural opportunities. They often rely on a heavy service industry and are outward looking, rather than focused on domestic affairs. Who they are: New York (#1), London (#2), Paris (#3) Lifestyle Centers What they look like: Laid-back cities that enjoy a high quality of life and focus on having fun. They attract worldly people and offer cultural experiences to spare. Who they are: Los Angeles (#6), Toronto (#10) Regional Gateways What they look like: Efficient economic powerhouses with favorable incentives for businesses and easy access to the natural resources of their region. They attract smart, well-trained people from around the world, and they often must reinvent themselves to remain competitive. Who they are: Hong Kong (#5), Singapore (#7), Chicago (#8) National Leaders What they look like: Large cities that shape the collective identity of their countries. They usually have homogenous populations, and their new urban policies tend to evoke a shared history. They do well in international business, but not because they’re necessarily globally connected; in these places, foreign firms can find something no other city offers. Who they are: Tokyo (#4), Seoul (#9), Beijing (#12) Policy Hubs What they look like: Cities with outsized influence on national and international policy debates. Their think tanks, international organizations, and political institutions shape policies that affect all people, and they tend to be full of diplomats and journalists from somewhere else. Who they are: Washington (#11), Brussels (#13) Platform Cities What they look like: Large hubs in typically small countries that attract huge amounts of investment through their strategic locations and international connections. Firms don’t set up shop in these cities to invest in the local economy; they move there so they can reach important foreign financial markets without dealing with the region’s political headaches. Who they are: Amsterdam (#23), Dubai (#27), Copenhagen (#36) http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4509&print=1