Date: 21.10, Saturday, 16.00

Place: Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, 5 Bernardyńska St.

Co-organiser: EPR Architects

Mark Davy founded Futurecity in 2007 as a culture and placemaking consultancy and a platform for the culture-driven development of our urban centres. He is a passionate leader driven by a commitment to cultural excellence in our cities. His commercial and intellectual knowledge place him at the forefront of the debate about the changing role and purpose of modern cities.

As Futurecity extends its impact globally, Mark is a regular speaker at cities around the world, from thought leadership events such as the TEDx, GLA symposia, Smart City and Future of Cities talks to industry workshops, international art fairs and urban development conferences.

In Australia, Mark has set up a new office promoting Futurecity’s UK placemaking experience to a growing property market of developers, urban regeneration agencies and city authorities in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities. He has achieved a series of high profile project wins including the visioning work for the Australian Technology Park in Sydney and contribution to a new Sydney Opera House precinct masterplan.

Rise of the Creative District

Mark Davy of leading placemaking agency Futurecity sets out why culture is playing an increasingly important role in the creation of city quarters, and what the property industry, planning authorities and the arts need to do to react.

Successful places, in spite of all their individual particularities, have a common ‘taste’; a similar atmosphere. At Futurecity we would describe this as ‘seductive urbanism’, meaning urban space as playful, lucid, varied, beautiful, pleasurable, rewarding and surprising. We believe that whilst culture is the key to unlocking former industrial landscapes and suburban edge city sites, it is still regarded by developers, architects, planners and politicians as ‘magic dust’, something to be sprinkled on a new development or city quarter, using an approach that has changed little in 30 years.

We are seeing the use of ‘culture as catalyst’ for well designed inclusive public space, promotion of health and wellbeing, community cohesion and local socio-economic development. In Cambridge, artist Ryan Gander leads a team for the new public park in the Cambridge Biomedical Centre; in St James’ Market, Studio Swine have designed the street furniture; and on the Greenwich Peninsula, artist Conrad Shawcross RA has reimagined the power station supplying heat and light to new community.

The market is waking up to the power of the arts and the benefits that culture led property development and regeneration can bring. The High Line in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago and King’s Cross in London each provide measurable evidence that culture can be a critical ingredient when planning a modern city. Futurecity has led the idea of the ‘Rise of the Creative District’ and our ideas and strategies will soon be visible on forgotten and neglected industrial sites across London at White City, Greenwich Peninsula, Nine Elms on the Southbank, Barking Riverside and elsewhere.