ARTS IN CITIES

Most of us view the city entirely as an urban conglomeration and the resulting infrastructure that are meant to make our lives bearable, more so town planners who mainly plan for the automobile look at our plans grand highways, shopping malls with 1000 car parking lots, we focus less on art galleries, museums and the people especially artists. I believe artists are the most disenchanted lot in the urban space of the African Cities.
If we look at our cities we see no expression of art in any form our streets are plain, we lack the plazas, monuments, we go to the extent of tearing down buildings that would otherwise serve as proof of our past heritage look at Kisumu for example and many emerging towns a like the cradle of these towns am sure is non-existent, They have been stripped off all the buildings that would serve as reminder of their histories and heritage, who will stand up for architectural conservation in our emerging cities, will the thirst of businessmen and women deny us even a small portion of our past and heritage…will the future generations stare blankly when told ‘’well this is Ogada or Odera street and it is where Kisumu city as you know it started from” and all they will be seeing are buildings hardly 10 years old.
We as planners need to bring art back to our cities, nothing talks more about a society than art, lets develop our inner cities with artists in mind from musicians ,poets ,painters , sculptures even we can create a little legal area for Graffiti artists. This will give our cities life and remove in our minds the thought of “Hustling hard in the concrete jungle”. Let us bring open spaces to life, pedestrianize our inner cities, recreate plazas and do more historical preservation and conservation of our architectural landmarks, am yet to see an art gallery or museum in Kisumu and East Africa in its entirety that can act as the main attraction to our cities as Tate is to London or Louvre is to Paris. This is because we forgot artists and went for businesses and corporations.
How can art be incorporated into our cities, we can do carnivals, festivals among many other things but making our inner cities more pedestrian friendly is the real deal lets strip our CBD’s all those air polluters and bring in trams, cyclists and more so encourage walking. Planners should incorporate components that will appeal the art community all forms of art need to feel at home in our cities. Lets uphold the spirit of participation as neo-planning is about having the people onboard, planners are no longer know it all professionals, Let’s bring art back to our cities because its it art in its various forms that acted as the cradle of urbanism, look at Michael Angelo’s, Bernini’s and Leonardo da Vinci’s great painters and sculptures they were and they brought a lot to urban planning from Monuments to plazas.

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