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World’s Cultural Districts Unite, Thanks to Max Anderson, Mayor Rawlings

by Anne Bothwell 5 Jun 2013 3:44 PM

At a New Cities conference in Brazil, the pair announce a big conference for Dallas next year, and a new international consortium of cultural districts – to be overseen from Dallas.


Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Museum of Art Director Maxwell Anderson are in San Paulo, Brazil attending the New Cities Summit — and making some news.

The pair, along with John Rossant, chairman of the New Cities Foundation,   announced that the next New Cities Summit will take place within the Dallas Arts District on June 17-19, 2014. And a new group, the Global Cultural Districts Network, will be based in Dallas and lead by Anderson.  The Network will be a consortium of top leaders of the world’s cultural districts, old (London, New York, Berlin and Paris) and newer (Chicago’s Millennium Park, Beijing’s Olympic Green, Singapore’s Esplanade).

Over the next decade,  $250 billion will be invested to create cultural districts, according to a statement released to announce the conference and new group.  The network will share resources, best practices for funding and building such districts and for ensuring they are not just a series of buildings, but viable and important to their communities.

Release after the jump.

Today the City of Dallas and New Cities Foundation announced the formation of a new global consortium that will unite the leaders of the world’s major cultural districts to foster international collaboration and support the development of cultural infrastructure worldwide. Mayor Mike Rawlings has been appointed the Honorary President of the consortium, The Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN)Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art and Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, has been named its Founding Co-Chairman, along with John Rossant, Chairman of the New Cities Foundation.  




The announcement was made at the New Cities Summit, the leading global event on the future of urban planning, organized by its namesake foundation, currently ongoing in Sao Paulo. The 2014 Summit will take place in Dallas next June, and serve as the first major opportunity for GCDN members to convene to exchange ideas and discuss planning for the expansion of global cultural districts, including common challenges and innovative solutions. The GCDN, the first network of its kind, aims to support the vitality and competitiveness of 21st century cities.



Major Joint Initiatives Announced by New Cities Foundation and City of Dallas


·        Dallas to host New Cities Summit in June, 2014


·        New Cities Foundation, City of Dallas and AEA Consulting launch Global Cultural Districts Network, to be based in Dallas Arts District




São Paulo – June 5, 2013. The Honorable Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas, and John Rossant, Chairman of the Board of the New Cities Foundation, announced today that the New Cities Summit 2014 is to take place in Dallas, Texas on June 17-19, 2014. They also jointly announced that the Foundation, in partnership with the Dallas Arts District, one of the largest and most important cultural districts in the world, is launching in Dallas the Global Cultural Districts Network, an international consortium of similar centers. Both announcements were made during the New Cities Summit in São Paulo.




The New Cities Summit is the leading global event on the future of the urban world, organized by the New Cities Foundation. The New Cities Foundation’s Board of Trustees selected Dallas for its dynamism and forward-thinking approach to urban challenges.




Next year’s New Cities Summit, dedicated to the high-level exchange of dynamic ideas and innovative solutions for world cities, will take place within the Dallas Arts District. A cornerstone and catalyst for creative vitality in North Texas, the Dallas Arts District is home to the city’s foremost visual and performing arts institutions, whose range and depth make Dallas a destination for the arts that is unique in the United States – and the world. The District includes buildings by some of the world’s most visionary architects, including Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Renzo Piano. Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, is Chairman of the Dallas Arts District Foundation.




The Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a partnership among the New Cities Foundation, Dallas Arts District, and AEA Consulting, will be the first network of its kind. It will support cultural districts – both planned and existing – and their contribution to the vitality and competitiveness of 21st century cities. GCDN members will work together on a long-term basis on the management and future planning of cultural districts worldwide, allowing the top-level leaders of these districts to discuss common challenges, exchange ideas, and ensure that their ambitious projects will flourish.




Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas and Honorary President of the GCDN, said:  “Being selected as the host city of the next New Cities Summit is a great moment in the history of Dallas, and, as its Mayor, a great honor for me. I look forward to welcoming urban leaders and thinkers to Dallas in June 2014 to continue discussions on the future of cities. It is also a great honor to serve as Honorary President of the inaugural Global Cultural Districts Network, which will convene at the Summit next year. Art and culture are rapidly becoming an important part of the soul of our city. To be able to share and learn from similar successes in cities across the world, is a rare and wonderful opportunity that will further distinguish Dallas, foster a thriving culture of creativity and innovation, and position North Texas to become one of the world’s leading arts meccas.”




John Rossant, Chairman of the New Cities Foundation and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said:


“Dallas is a dynamic, exciting city with a ‘can-do’ attitude and the ideal location for our next Summit, and the first convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network. The Summit will strengthen our network of urban innovators, address new challenges and embrace new opportunities. We all recognize that cultural projects offer cities myriad opportunities – not only in terms of creativity and ideas, but also investment and wealth creation. Today, we are witnessing an unprecedented growth in the cultural landscape of cities, from Hong Kong to New York, São Paulo to Qatar. By teaming up with the Dallas Arts District and the pre-eminent strategic planners in the cultural sector, AEA Consulting, to launch the Global Cultural Districts Network, we aim to help those responsible for planning and leading cultural districts around the world.”




Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: “I am honored to serve as Founding Co-Chairman of the Global Cultural Districts Network to guide the development of an international forum for knowledge and resource sharing. The GCDN seeks to elevate the role of urban cultural districts worldwide. The implications for our collective impact is vast — estimated to be $US 250 billion in cultural infrastructure investment within the next decade — spurring cultural exchange, progressive urban planning, economic development, and travel and tourism. The Network’s new home in Dallas is further evidence of the forward thinking, entrepreneurial vision of our cultural and civic leaders in North Texas.”




The Global Cultural Districts Network is a high-level group of decision-makers involved in conceiving, planning, building, and directing urban cultural districts. Over 50 new cultural districts are being planned or recently constructed around the world. These include Beijing’s Olympic Green; Dallas Arts District; Chicago’s Millennium Park; Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District; Singapore’s Esplanade and Doha’s Cultural District. They join historic districts in cities such as London, New York, Berlin, and Paris, which have developed organically over time.  The GCDN aims to play a crucial role in ensuring that these districts thrive, and that, in turn, they enhance the cities in which they are based. It will provide a unique platform for the leaders of these districts to analyze and solve common challenges, collaborate on new ventures and evolve.




The GCDN project secretariat will be located in Dallas Arts District. The project will be led by Adrian Ellis, Director of AEA Consulting. The Board of Trustees of the Network held their first meeting today in São Paulo at the New Cities Summit.




About the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN)


The Network serves to foster cooperation and knowledge-sharing between those responsible for conceiving, funding, building, and operating cultural districts; and to help to ensure that these projects are vital assets for their communities, contributing to the vitality of 21st century cities. Over the next decade, some $US 250 billion will be invested in the creation of new cultural districts around the globe. A successful cultural district is not just one that is built, but one that, once built, thrives and, in thriving, animates the city or region that it serves. This holistic definition of success is central to the Network: success is not just getting an arts building or series of buildings out of the ground, it is about ensuring that they are viable and play a central role in their communities.




The Network will therefore provide the following services for its members:




·     Regular convening to share emerging best practices, hear expert panels, and discuss the place of cultural districts in urban policy, economic development, and related areas of public policy such as travel and tourism;


·     Original research on topics of common interest such as programming, audience development, cultural tourism, professional development, relevant rends in technology and creative industries strategies;


·     Regular summaries and circulation of secondary research and news of common interest;


·     Virtual forums for detailed sharing of information and discussion of opportunities and challenges;


·     Opportunities for establishing strategic partnerships for content, programming, skills training, and knowledge transfer.






The full Board of Trustees includes:


·  Maxwell Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art and Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN


·  Karen Brooks Hopkins, President, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York


·  Professor Michael Eissenhauer, General Director, National Museums in Berlin


·  Carolein Gehrels, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor responsible for Economic Affairs, Art & Culture


·  Michael Lynch, Chief Executive of West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong


·   Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas and Honorary President of the GCDN


·  Deedie Rose, Dallas Museum of Art Trustee and Immediate Past Chair


·  John Rossant, Chairman of the New Cities Foundation and Co-Chairman of the GCDN


The GCDN is led by Adrian Ellis, Director of AEA Consulting.






About the City of Dallas


The City of Dallas employs approximately 13,000 and has an annual budget of nearly $US 3 billion. As the ninth-largest city and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation, Dallas covers approximately 343 square miles and has a population of 1,223,229. The ultra-modern and sophisticated city attracts worldwide travelers, making the area the number one visitor and leisure destination in Texas. Dallas boasts the largest urban arts district in the nation and has more than 13 entertainment districts.  It is the ideal place to discover the latest, greatest, and most innovative partnerships and attractions.   




About the Dallas Arts District


Dallas Arts District was created in 2009 as a nonprofit organization that advocates for the 68-acre Dallas Arts District and stimulates the economic and cultural life of the region. The Dallas Arts District is funded by grants, voluntary membership dues, sponsorships, donations, and operational support from Downtown Dallas, Inc. For more information on memberships and sponsorships, please visit




About the New Cities Foundation


The New Cities Foundation is a leading global platform for innovation and high-level exchange on the future of the urban world. Working to create more dynamic, sustainable, just and creative cities with a special focus on rapidly urbanizing regions, the Foundation fosters urban innovations and new partnerships among government, business, the research community and civil society.




The New Cities Foundation hosts a number of leadership events on cities including its flagship event, the New Cities Summit, and other leadership events worldwide. The New Cities Summit is an invitation-only event gathering up to 1,000 high-level urban leaders and thinkers each year. This year’s New Cities Summit takes place in São Paulo, Brazil from June 4 – 6, 2013 around the theme “The Human City”.




The Foundation’s research wing, the Urban (co)LAB, manages a number of applied urban research projects including NCF Task Forces and thought leadership activities. On May 8, 2013, The New Cities Foundation launched the first results from a major Task Force on E-health in Rio de Janeiro. In December 2012, the Foundation launched findings of a Task Force on Connected Commuting in San Jose, California.




An independent, non-profit organization, the New Cities Foundation was created in 2010 and is financed by its corporate members. Overall, its members include some of the most forward-thinking companies, universities, cities and city organizations around the world. The New Cities Foundation’s founding members are Cisco, Ericsson and GE. The Foundation is based in Geneva with offices in Paris, New York and Rio de Janeiro.




For more information about the New Cities Foundation, please


For more information about the New Cities Summit 2013:








About AEA Consulting


AEA Consulting is regarded as one of the world’s leading cultural consulting firms. With over two decades of experience, AEA has assisted clients in the cultural sector internationally, helping them to define, plan and achieve their long-term goals. Specialists in facilities, operational and strategic planning, AEA collaborates with public and private cultural organizations and their funders in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, and Australia to help them realize the contribution that culture can make to communities. AEA works with its clients from the initial conceptual planning of a project through feasibility studies and detailed planning to implementation and start up, advising and supporting all aspects of the process.




AEA was founded by Adrian Ellis in 1990 in London, and has been based in New York since 1998. AEA’s work stands on two foundations: a strong analytical approach, and a close understanding of and empathy for the goals of stakeholders in the cultural sphere. Its multi-national consulting team members have backgrounds in cultural and heritage organizations, finance, the art market, and government. They bring a deep understanding of a wide range of cultural environments and issues, and the ability to share and apply knowledge of cultural practices and developments internationally.




For more information about AEA Consulting, please visit: