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Metropolis: Burning Man Theme 2010–what can the world learn from Black Rock City?

September 18, 2009
2010 Burning Man theme: Metropolis posterCities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.
— Jane Jacobs
As we untangle ourselves from the branches of this year’s Burning Man theme of Evolution, we find ourselves thrown headfirst into a METROPOLIS, the 2010 Art Theme for Burning Man. According to the Burning Man organization:
Tumult and change, churning cycles of invention and destruction – these forces generate the pulse of urban life. Great cities are organic, spontaneous, heterogeneous, and untidy hubs of social interaction. In 2010, we will inspect the daily course of city life and the future prospect of civilization .
Minutes after the Man met his firey demise, the art theme for 2010 was published on the Burning Man website (we’re crafty like that). The theme for this coming year is “Metropolis: The Life of Cities.” This theme is particularly befitting Burning Man, since we are in the unique position (one could say it’s an urban planner’s wet dream) to be able to create and dismantle a thriving metropolis every year, and to make adjustments that will cultivate community and culture, while supporting essential civic services. Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey writes about it here:

And of course what would a Metropolis be without KIDS? Burning Man org assures us that Kids will take a central position in Black Rock City this year. I look forward to see how this manifests itself–whether children and families will be more involved in the planning. I do know that Burning Man org members have been busy spawning a new generation of Burners!

In his statement, Harvey quotes James Howard Kunstler:

We ought to know how to assemble a human habitat of high quality that … gives children and old people equal access to society’s civic institutions, that produces safe neighborhoods for the well-off and the less well-off, that promotes a sense of belonging to community, that honors what is beautiful, and which does not destroy its rural and agricultural surroundings. This habitat comes down to us from history in the form of villages, towns and cities.

Wonder HOW the Metropolis of Black Rock City has been designed, and how it’s evolved over the years?  City Designer, Rod Garrett describes that process here: For an explanation of the impetus for, and design of the Center Camp Cafe structure, Black Rock City’s main community gathering space go here:
Did you see the Time Magazine interview with Larry this year? He discusses 5 Things Cities Can Learn from Burning Man in this video and there’s footage of this year’s Burn:
Start getting your lights ready because it will be a dark year: in 2010, the full moon is Tuesday August 24. That means, not much of a moon–and what we have will be up late!
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