Friday, July 20, 2012

The Questionable Aspects of the Chicago Cultural Plan Draft

As a Chicagoan and proprietor of a blog with the word "culture" in its title, I (of course) have a very strong opinion on the proposed Chicago Cultural Plan.
When I looked up the phrase "cultural infrastructure" to see if it had any specific meaning outside of this plan, I found it can be defined as infrastructure that (surprise, surprise) supports cultural activities and industries, such as libraries and museums. However, if the plan is going to "Integrate culture across all City departments and agencies and within major infrastructure projects," (34), then doesn't that make just about anything in the city fair game for private "cultural" investment? And if private investment vehicles are designed to re-coup a profit, how many of these "cultural infrastructure" assets that they fund are going to end up resembling the Chicago Parking Meters deal?

While there are noble goals within the Chicago Cultural Plan draft, it's obvious that much of it is really a thinly-disguised economic plan to expand Chicago's cultural and tourist industries by any means possible. There's a lot in the plan draft that I like, and that I believe will vastly benefit Chicagoans of all stripes. However, as outlined above, there are several aspects to the plan that deserve far more scrutiny than has been given so far. An expanded Creative Class in Chicago would be great for some, but several of the means to accomplish this may not be so great for many Chicagoans.
Read more here

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