How can a city demonstrate its cultural offerings to its citizens? Create urban beacons that act as visual indicators of local creative activity.
Sometimes it can be hard to demonstrate the breadth of cultural activity that's happening in a city—especially to naysayers who claim there's nothing going on. How can a city showcase its creativity in a way that makes citizens want to be a part of it? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities St. Louis, Brain Drain presented its idea for making St. Louis's assets more tangible. As they examined the challenge, Brain Drain realized that St. Louis already possessed rich cultural activity—the problem was making it apparent to locals and outsiders. They developed the idea of building a network of large, glowing pillars that would grow brighter depending on the frequency of nearby social media like Tweets, Foursquare check-ins, and Yelp reviews. Using a browser or an app, people would view visualizations that showed the information feeding each pillar, and the pillars themselves would act as beacons in the urban environment: providing lighting (and safety) at night, serving as a kind of public square, and providing free wifi hotspots throughout the city.
Challenge: Have an animated conversation with a young transplant or multi-generational loyalist and you will understand the passion people here have for St. Louis. But, too often, the message falls back on empty boosterism. Whatever the cause, we must understand it, admit it and fix it. How do we deepen the pool of diverse people who love St. Louis and are personally invested in its progress?
Brain Drain: Matt Strom, Tara Pham, Logan Alexander, Noah MacMillan, Zoë Scharf, Amanda Yates, Andrew Warshauer, Kuan Butts, Danielle Wallis, Christine Stavridis, Bennett Gale
For more information about this idea visit Brain Drain's website.
GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit good.is/ideasforcities