ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR ONE
I have always found it fascinating to see how, when global tourists’ preferences, expectations and minds change the voice, values, and identity of a city can change as well (and with it its investments, marketing and policy). The city of Maastricht is definitely no exception, and I have experienced the change of a cities ‘mind’ first hand, including the rebranding of the marketing of tourists’ communications. Tourism has made its way to the top of the policy agenda, unfortunately as a standalone (trend) phenomenon separated from its own and unique urban context and ecosystem. When did we lost sight of the fundamental dimensions, values and strengths of a city, and gave such a power to a (relatively) small element of the overall purpose and meaning of a city, to let it determine and even alter (most of) its DNA? Alarm bells have been going off for quite a while now, for those who were listening, with warnings like “touristification and disneyization” (Bryman, 2004) but are at an all time high since the last two years. Cities are responding, but I can’t help but wonder: to what, and most importantly, do they know why? Or are they just merely reacting to the loudest voice of the next trend?
It’s time to identify, nurture, strengthen and sustain the DNA of a city and all who are connected, to mobilise ideas, minds and organisations for a destination that embraces live, work and play time. Now, and in the future.
CALLING ALL CURIOUS + CREATIVEThis is a first call - without any specific expectations or promises - to initiate a dialogue and encourage open-mindedness and imagination implying an impact on today’s (still) unique and creative culture of Maastricht. Addressing not only creative minds, artists and those involved in the creative and leisure industry, but all who want to connect the dots and contribute, whether as a scientist, entrepreneur, cook, student or citizen. Creativity is not only about having ideas (and talking about it) but also the capacity and perseverance to implement them.
And you ask "What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if WE fly?