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Arts, Culture, and Quality of Life in Global Cities

Urban spaces have become a crucible for the transformations of the global era. The Committee on Global Thought’s research on cities focuses on identifying these new formations, describing their impact on the global and local scale, and developing innovative strategies for improving urban life.

This project, led by Vishakha N. Desai, centers on measuring and augmenting the impact of Arts, Culture and Quality of Life in Global Cities. There is a growing consensus among civic leaders that the presence of arts and cultural institutions and networks is vital to the health of any global city, old or new. But it is less apparent how to build and sustain robust cultural infrastructure.

A multi-disciplinary, trans-national conference, Arts, Culture and Quality of Life in Global Cities, convened in December 2013 with the dual objectives of 1) exploring the broader questions around the role of arts and culture in cities from a global perspective using New York as a case study and 2) highlighting the experience of New York City over the last twelve years under the Bloomberg administration to focus on past challenges and successes in the context of developing a blueprint for future city development. This event was organized in collaboration with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Ford Foundation. The report of the conference can be viewed below. Having trouble viewing the report? You can also view it by clicking here.

Arts and Culture in Global Cities: Dec. 2013 Report

Following the success of this conference, further events were conducted in partnership with the Columbia Global Centers in Rio de Janeiro (Jun. 24, 2014), New Delhi (Dec. 10, 2014), and Istanbul (Oct. 12, 2015).

On Oct. 12, 2015, the Committee on Global Thought and Columbia Global Centers | Turkey, Istanbul convened the fourth in a series of roundtable discussions supported by the Ford Foundation, aiming to reflect on the contribution of arts and culture to global cities. After New York, Rio and New Delhi, Istanbul offered another important vantage point to assess the key issues affecting the ways in which the arts relate to the vitality of cities.

Participants in the Istanbul meeting included leading figures active in shaping Istanbul’s cultural scene – curators, scholars and representatives of arts institutions and civil society organizations.  The following is a synopsis of the main points that surfaced throughout the discussion, summarized without direct attribution.

Arts and Culture in Global Cities: Oct. 12, 2015 Briefing Note 

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Arts and Culture in Global Cities

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Senior Advisor for Global AffairsSenior Research Scholar in Global Studies
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