I had the good fortune to be around Miami this past Saturday night as the city hosted Sleepless Night when the clocks were turned back for the end of daylight savings time. This is part of the international Nuit Blanche network of cities celebrating the arts and culture.
Of the more than 100 events in Miami Beach, one that attracted a very large crowd was the “vertical dancing” on the glass side of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, which houses the New World Symphony. It was performed by Project Bandaloop as “Bound(less)” with Dana Leong.
Aside from noting how cool this is, as I was watching, I thought how straightforward this was – instead of letting the side of a building just provide a skin for the occupants, this transformed the side of the building into a dance floor. (The other side of the building is a huge screen that lets people outside see and hear the concerts going on inside.)
It’s simple and, compared to lots of other civic events across the US, it is relatively inexpensive. All it takes is some imagination to create this kind of Wow! experience in your city.
I realize, of course, that not every city has the large pool of artists, dancers, musicians, etc. that can be found in Miami. So I’m not suggesting that every city imitate this particular event. But every city has the potential for interesting experiences, which can be discovered with a little imagination.
As the broadband-based video communications becomes more widespread and more of what we produce are intangible services and knowledge, there will be an increasing number of people who can make a living anywhere they choose to live. What a city might have done to attract tourists in the past, it will have to do to retain and attract residents.
Like SleepLess Night, give them a reason to be there.
© 2011 Norman Jacknis