The Future of Public Art in Five Phases – Next City

One notable feature of the post-2008 world was that economic austerity policies, once sadistically directed at Third World countries as part of their debt crises, came to be applied to the economies of the debt-ridden First World itself. It may be worth noting, then, that cultivating local tourist attractions, packaging local traditions, and selling handicrafts has long been the preferred development advice for Third World countries that lack industries competitive with more sophisticated foreign rivals.

If economic growth continues to be captured by the wealthiest layer of society, then the cities or regions that will continue to grow will be the ones that manage to transform themselves to cater to this layer. Yet because the spoils of this economy are so unevenly shared, and concentrated in a minority, growth must almost by definition be uneven and experienced by a minority of locations. It cannot be that metropolitan hubs like New York will suck up larger quantities of this attention at the same time that second- and third-tier cities all simultaneously transform themselves into vital sites of cultural tourism.