Prof. C. Samuel Craig Predicts a Grim Future for Second Cities in the Cultural Hierarchy
By C. Samuel Craig
To survive, smaller and medium-sized cities will need to carve out a particular cultural niche that cannot be easily duplicated.
Despite his gloomy forecasts, Craig offers some hope for small metropolitan hubs: "To survive, smaller and medium-sized cities will need to carve out a particular cultural niche that cannot be easily duplicated. Good examples are South by Southwest in Austin, Texas; the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah."
Key insights from the paper include:
- Cities help foster development of a wide range of cultural products (i.e., film, television, music, opera, dance, fashion or art).
- By aggregating inputs (people, ideas and resources) in one geographic location, cities provide a fertile ground for cultural expression.
- Technology is facilitating the consumption of cultural products over increasingly dispersed geographies. Websites that specialize in particular forms of cultural expression, such as DeviantArt.com and Artspan.com, are accelerating this trend.
- The Metropolitan Opera simulcast of its performances worldwide can at the same time increase demand for live performances and cause opera lovers to forsake local productions.
- These trends reinforce the dominance of major cities while diminishing secondary cities.