The city performs as a stage for its citizens. It creates a home for traditional theatres and other site-specific venues inside its borders, but even more significantly, it becomes a site for place-making that activates the rich cultural history embedded in urban spaces. The ongoing expansion of metropolises such as Atlanta, Miami, Houston, and Dallas along major interstates and the increasing integration of cities into megaregions (such as Boston/New York/Washington DC or Charlotte/Raleigh-Durham/Atlanta/Birmingham) have deep implications for our cities’ historical fabric and cultural infrastructure. As natural sites, architecture, places, and historical grids are relentlessly reframed in the twenty-first century, core perceptions of urban definition are being challenged. These changes highlight the need to advocate for preserving the city as a public and meaningful place that can support and enhance the making of culture.
Sustaining cultural infrastructure is vital to a city’s performance as a stage for civic life and its citizens’ identities. The shape and history of places, streets, and buildings generate cultural value beyond consumption, counteracting the detrimental impacts of urban sprawl. To build and sustain performative infrastructure inside the postindustrial space of the emerging megaregions, it is necessary to provide new visions of urbanity, redefine urban space(s), and structure activities for new kinds of sites that can shape narratives and experiences of space in a placeless mediatized world. This blog is designed to foster interdisciplinary conversation about cultivating and curating cultural spaces inside the global city.