The Resilience of Culture

Cultural institutions and heritage sites may contribute to a city’s social cohesion and attract investment.

Read Time: 1 minute

March 22, 2019, 2:00 PM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


Medellin

Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

A study from the World Bank suggests that preserving a city’s history can have a major impact on how that city recovers from traumas. "Investing in cultural institutions, spaces, and heritage can help build bridges between sparring communities in post-conflict urban areas and make disaster recovery quick, sustainable, and more effective," writes Tanvi Misra. By building on and preserving key cultural institutions, cities give citizens a way to cope with and grow from traumatic experiences.

The city of Medellin, Colombia, the site of great violence and upheaval during the Pablo Escobar era, provides a model of a resilient city, Misra argues. The city implemented a plan that included building libraries, and art space, along with other more obvious necessities. "The key is to balance the basic needs—shelter, food, and healthcare—with the effort to promote artistic expression that helps urban communities process trauma and communicate and document their experiences," Misra reports. The report emphasizes the idea that finding the right projects and making large impacts requires officials to work with community members to create a shared understanding about the most important aspects of local culture.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 in CityLab

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest per-capita in the country.

34 minutes ago - Urban Milwaukee

Crosswalk with pedestrians in front of four-story red brick buildings in New Haven, Connecticut

Opinion: Connecticut Vision Zero Bill A Step in the Right Direction

The proposed legislation could energize efforts to eliminate fatal crashes and fix the structural flaws that make roads inherently more dangerous.

1 hour ago - CT News Junkie

View of Tacoma, Washington with Mount Rainier in background

Tacoma Developing New Housing Policy

The city’s Home in Tacoma plan is designed to address the region’s growth and rising housing prices, but faces local backlash over density and affordability concerns.

February 2 - The Urbanist