Monday, March 28, 2011

015: The Memphis Manifesto

Re-posted from Detroit Lives!


Lately, there’s a lot of talk circulating about the value of creative industry in Detroit– that is, economic activity associated with more brain power and less physical power. Creative industries include advertising, architecture, design, fashion and film to name just a few. The Detroit Creative Corridor Center has taken on a role locally to cultivate that industry as an attraction/retention tool. Richard Florida, renowned “Creative Class” guru would tell you that “human creativity is the ultimate economic resource” creating opportunities in places like Detroit that minimize the effect of largely having been an industrial city in the past. Trouble is, it’s not just a switch you can flip, there are many factors that go in to creating that environment. Enter Memphis, one city we can take notes from in assisting with that process.

In 2003, leaders and creatives convened in Memphis to establish a roadmap of how their city could attract and retain creative talent so as to create more economic activity around them. What resulted from those meetings was the Memphis Manifesto, something that Detroiter’s can look at and take a few lessons from as we push forward in similar capacities. In many ways, efforts like the Detroit Declaration have taken steps such as these addressing the notion of cultivating creativity, improving quality of place and embracing diversity. The Memphis Manifesto takes it one step further, drilling down just a little bit more as to how we can actually “cultivate creativity” in Detroit and the factors that influence that goal. Have a look at the principles created in Memphis and think about the ways that we can piggyback those actions in our efforts here.
The Creative 100 are dedicated to helping communities realize the full potential of creative ideas by encouraging these principles:

1) Cultivate and reward creativity. Everyone is part of the value chain of creativity. Creativity can happen at anytime, anywhere, and it’s happening in your community right now. Pay attention.

2) Invest in the creative ecosystem. The creative ecosystem can include arts and culture, nightlife, the music scene, restaurants, artists and designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, affordable spaces, lively neighborhoods, spirituality, education, density, public spaces and third places.

3) Embrace diversity. It gives birth to creativity, innovation and positive economic impact. People of different backgrounds and experiences contribute a diversity of ideas, expressions, talents and perspectives that enrich communities. This is how ideas flourish and build vital communities.

4) Nurture the creatives. Support the connectors. Collaborate to compete in a new way and get everyone in the game.

5) Value risk-taking. Convert a “no” climate into a “yes” climate. Invest in opportunity-making, not just problem-solving. Tap into the creative talent, technology and energy for your community. Challenge conventional wisdom.

6) Be authentic. Identify the value you add and focus on those assets where you can be unique. Dare to be different, not simply the look-alike of another community. Resist monoculture and homogeneity. Every community can be the right community.

7) Invest in and build on quality of place. While inherited features such as climate, natural resources and population are important, other critical features such as arts and culture, open and green spaces, vibrant downtowns, and centers of learning can be built and strengthened. This will make communities more competitive than ever because it will create more opportunities than ever for ideas to have an impact.

8 ) Remove barriers to creativity, such as mediocrity, intolerance, disconnectedness, sprawl, poverty, bad schools, exclusivity, and social and environmental degradation.

9) Take responsibility for change in your community. Improvise. Make things happen. Development is a “do it yourself” enterprise.

Ensure that every person, especially children, has the right to creativity. The highest quality lifelong education is critical to developing and retaining creative individuals as a resource for communities.
We accept the responsibility to be the stewards of creativity in our communities. We understand the ideas and principles in this document may be adapted to reflect our community’s unique needs and assets.
The undersigned commit to our communities and each other that we will go back to our communities to infuse these ideas into our social lives and public policies and share the accomplishments with each other so that we all can move forward and succeed together in a more creative existence.

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