Why All Cities Need Cultural Infrastructure Plans

The role of music in cities has expanded over the past few years. Cities are now recognising the need to think more seriously about music's role in what makes a place unique and work for all those who live, visit and do business in it. However, while music cities strategies have continued to raise awareness of the value and impact music has on communities, the infrastructure required to support them remains undervalued in how cities develop their planning, development and regeneration plans. Most cities release 10 and 20 year visions, but none have yet to reference the need to develop equitable cultural and music infrastructure to meet such visions and how music, as a part of civic society, impacts growth, sustainability, resilience and futureproofing. To change this, all cities need to develop cultural and music infrastructure plans, so they sit in unison with other planning and development plans and are assessed, measured and held accountable. Only a few cities in the world have done this (London, Amsterdam), and as a result we still see venues close and music not being included intentionally in cities growth plans. The solution is cities need to think of music and culture as infrastructure, and develop plans to measure them. But what is a music or culture infrastructure plan? How does it work? How can we ensure all cities, large and small, build them in to their growth strategies, so music and culture are seen infrastructurally, embedded in communities, rather than bolted on after planning changes are considered.

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photo of Allyson Esposito
Allyson Esposito

Northwest Arkansas Regional Arts Council

photo of Michael Hecht
Michael Hecht

Greater New Orleans Inc.

photo of Rachael Roe
Rachael Roe

Mayor of London

photo of Shain Shapiro
Shain Shapiro

Sound Diplomacy

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