Summit on Smart City Design Identifies Challenges, Opportunities and Funding Sources
Chicago, April 27-29, 2011
CHICAGO, April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 300 designers, architects, and mayors came together in Chicago for the largest ever city design summit, working together to produce the blueprint for the USA, which is smart investing and smart design for American cities. Celebrating the Mayors Institute of City Design (MICD) – a partnership between the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), and the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) – summit participants examined the power of arts and design to make cities more efficient while also honoring the design legacy of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
For 25 years, MICD has been the only organization that provides mayors an opportunity to learn how smart design can help to solve problems in communities to create more efficient cities. Smart design is a language of problem solving and through MICD, mayors learn to use smart design to creatively reduce costs through innovation in areas such as public transit, downtown development infrastructure and sustainability.
"While cities are forced to cut budgets in this crippled economy, many mayors see 'smart design' as a way to save money and potentially generate revenue," said USCM President Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.
During the two-day summit, mayors and design professionals came together to discuss the successes and lessons from MICD, as well as basic topics vital to the future of American cities. Participants examined design in relationship with struggling budgets and growing demands for transportation, economic development and other challenges. Following their discussions, the mayors presented their joint conclusions to a panel of federal officials, including NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Transportation Under Secretary Roy W. Kienitz.
Key recommendations from the mayors and summit participants include:
- Remove burdensome regulations that hinder transportation projects
- Fund existing transportation systems, not just new ones
- Expand national metropolitan policy
- Establish a national office of design excellence
- Consider a federal "creativity stimulus" that seeds entrepreneurship in design and city building
- Invent new procurement processes that promote creative innovation.
Of the recommendations, MICD partner AAF President and CEO Ron Bogle said, "The work we have done together over these few days will elevate national attention, activate the national discussion, and help formulate a national agenda on the role of design and the arts in stimulating transformation, vitality, and economic vigor in our cities," said Ronald Bogle, President and CEO of The American Architectural Foundation.
The highlight of the session was on its final day, April 29, where design professionals and scholars honored Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as the recipient of the Joseph P. Riley Award for Leadership in Urban Design. As Chicago's longest serving mayor, Daley is described by USCM's CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran as a "Mayor's Mayor."
Prior to Daley receiving the award, several mayors spoke of his contributions to the arts and design. USCM Past President and Charleston, SC Mayor Joe Riley, for whom the award is named, said, "Visionary leaders make great cities. Mayor Daley realizes that, and he took the role of chief urban designer for the city of Chicago to a new level in our country, if not the world."
USCM President Kautz said, "Mayor Daley is visionary in that he has truly looked at design in his city as an economic development tool."
As a past president of the USCM, Daley has worked closely with USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran over the years. "In the future when mayors, architects and people look back on cities that got it right when it comes to city design, Mayor Daley and his achievements will stand out as the 'gold standard' for mayors and others interested in urban design in the years ahead," Cochran said upon delivering the award.
Accepting the award just weeks before his 22-year tenure as mayor ends, Mayor Daley said, "I deeply appreciate this award. Realizing the value of the arts and [design] makes us better public servants. I thank mayors for their willingness to think outside the box and listen to designers and urban planners. [We know] artists will define what we do in the next decade."
During the summit, the NEA released a report that shows the economic impact of arts and design on cities. The report shows that performing arts organizations generated nearly $13.6 billion in revenues; Americans spent $14.5 billion on performing arts admissions, and on any given day, 1.5 million Americans attended arts performances, usually with family or friends.
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, who is a tireless advocate for the inclusion of arts and smart design in the creation of holistic communities, said, "For 25 years, the National Endowment for the Arts has been investing in complete communities and sustainable design through the Mayors' Institute on City Design. Mayors, designers, and artists have a shared responsibility for creating vibrant, livable communities throughout our country, and no one knows that better than Mayor Daley, who has made Chicago a global model for a vibrant, creative, sustainable city."
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,210 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. Find us on facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors
SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors