Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

City on song … musicians in New Orleans.
© REUTERS/Brian Snyder

We take for granted what we use every day. Take clean water. For those lucky enough, we turn on the tap, and water comes out. Not only do we not realise that the simple act of turning on the tap is a privilege, but also by doing so we ignore the complex infrastructure that led to water coming out. From wells to filtration, desalination to distribution, dredging to waste management, an intricate system must function so we can take a drink.

When something is wedded into the fabric of everyday life, we ignore the systems that create, sustain and support it. The same cognitive dissonance is occurring with music and culture. When you hear a song that moves you, it’s about that moment with that song, not the recording, production and marketing functions that led to that moment happening. But without these systems and practices, those moments disappear; that tap runs dry. Music, like any other resource, is not infinite. If we do not teach, invest and support it, it disappears. Given music is our universal language – we all speak it – it must be better understood for its capabilities to support, sustain and improve communities around the world. This is happening in cities all over the world. It’s the merging of planning, resource management, resilience and intentionality around music, called music urbanism. Full story.

Shain Shapiro (World Economic Forum) / September 11, 2019

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