TEDx Philadelphia announced the lineup for its daylong 2014 conference, ‘The New Workshop of the World,’ which “brings together engaging voices from across the city … to examine Philly’s rich past and promising future as a hub of global innovation.”
On the long list of speakers is William Way Community Center Executive Director Christopher Bartlett, who tells me that his discussion will focus on Chinatown and the Gayborhood, talking about the value of cultural districts like these for cities, what it takes to invest in cultural enclaves, and the challenge in maintaining them. “I believe cultural districts make cities like Philadelphia stronger — and that it takes a political effort by a community to insure the strength and maintenance of its community and culture,” he says.
To make his point, he will examine the value of “community anchors” like the Gayborhood’s William Way and Chinatown’s Asian Arts Initiative; affordable housing units, like the newly opened John C. Anderson Apartments; and iconic community landmarks, like the rainbow flag street signs and the China Gate at 10th and Arch streets.
“Though the Gayborhood has moved geographically over the decades from West of Broad Street to East of Broad Street, and shows signs of heading towards South Philadelphia as a reflection of where some LGBT people live and socialize, it’s important nonetheless to map out the history and futures of the Gayborhood. We’ve learned a powerful lesson from Chinatown: when a community fights for the integrity of its neighborhood, even as it moves and adapts, the City as a whole benefits from an expression of that culture. A better Gayborhood leads to a better Philadelphia.”
Tedx Philadelphia takes place Friday, March 28th. More information, including speaker lineup and ticket links, can be found here.