REPOST: What makes a creative city?

A ‘beautiful’ city is almost always a perfect magnet for tourists, and consequently, a fertile ground to build and grow any business. Culture, in this case, plays an important role in revitalizing urban spaces and may even serve as the sole basis for establishing new architectural movements, artistic trends, and even business concepts. Read more on The Guardian:

Interior of Your Rainbow Panorama by Olafur Eliasson, a floating rainbow walkway on top of ARoS Aarhus art museum in Denmark. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon of OMA architecture practice are in conversation at the Manchester International festival, talking about the major contract they landed for the Manchester arts centre Factory: a hub for cultural activity and soon to be home of the Manchester festival. “We need to give more attention to the technology of buildings, robotics, new spatial management,” Koolhaas says. I feel the bristling of the humans in the room.

But he is on to something. Space is often wasted by use of repetition but with canny robotics, and snuggled pullies, you can enfold and stack space that was once elongated and create something new from it – in the case of the proposed Factory, a rationalised chaos of adjustable use and activity.

So what will the culture houses of the future look like, if we think outside the box? What uses will they need to fulfil? How will big ideas – like those for Factory – play out in real life? And what can cities do to encourage cultural experiments and investment?

Koolhaas and van Loon want a theatre with 60m of depth that extends out into and merges with the street. As an artistic director, I worry about the performance scale of a hanger space like this and how it will dwarf the humans on stage. I fret about sound bleeds too. But in the future, they offer, there will be invisible sound bubbles and a kind of aural architecture; sound might one day be stilled, collected and quarantined from itself. We have the technology – or at least we will.

At an investment of £110m, Factory is not a shy project. Like the city it is responding to and planning for, it implies a cultural confidence, a bit of a bolshie sense of taking it up to the big smoke of London. Manchester, once grubby, depressed and down, has been on the up and up for some time. The role of culture in this upswing is interesting to think about.

Culture has become a boom for numerous cities who have bought into the regeneration narrative led by urbanists such as Graeme Evans and Susan Carmichael – the idea that culture plays a leading role in revitalising community and urban spaces. Not long after Evans and Carmichael’s ideas were floated, cities – particularly smart cities, with a young vibe – began to enthusiastically embrace the thoughts of other gurus, such as Richard Florida’s concept of creative cities.

People who live in or visit these cities are not, Florida suggests, especially interested in dusty cultural institutions – high-profile art galleries, operas and such. They prefer to meander about in districts characterised by warehouses, and the hole-in-the-wall operations of nascent pop-up culture – cafes, start-up galleries – which themselves breed the next gen of outlets: bookshops, grassroots and recycle boutiques.

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Optical technology: tracing the significant milestones in the history of camera


Technology has made the impossible a reality and its constantly evolving and ever-changing nature have brought significant changes not only to our way of life but also to how we create new cultures. One particular example is the birth of one of the first products of optical technology, the camera, and how it has brought a magical curiosity and expanded the imagination of generations of people across the globe.

But where are we now in the optical technology timeline and what were the most important milestones that cameras have achieved before they became what they are today? As a key player in tech economics, how has the industry emerged as a major product loved by consumers?

During the 5th to 3th century B.C., both philosophers from two of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world, China and Greece, theorized the basic principles of optics and the camera. However, their vision of this tool was only limited to entertainment and expanding their knowledge of their environment. Little did they know that it would someday change the world as they knew it.



It was in the 19th Century when Louis Daguerre’s first ‘daguerreotype’ was introduced to the public, and his invention was an answer to the limitations of Joseph Niepce’s version of the camera obscura, a projection device that shows real-life imagery through the clever use of light and the absence of it.  Unlike today’s cameras, however, the daguerreotype needed thirty full minutes of light exposure.

Almost thirty years later when the very first American patent was issued in photography for a camera owned and developed by Alexander Wolcott and it was followed by William Henry Talbot’s ‘calotype’, a process that uses negative-positive photo processing that allowed multiple copies of a single shot.

The camera technology have undergone several changes and improvements over the decades, creating a promising future for a better, faster and more practical tool to capture life through the lens—and come 1978, the world stood still as they welcomed the very first point-and-shoot autofocus camera from Konica, one of the leading technology companies today. This event introduced a whole new definition of the camera and gave us a more focused view of what’s ahead.



Optical technology today has made significant and notable progress compared to its early and ancient counterparts and top camera companies have vowed to constantly evolve and provide the world with the latest and most innovative products that will continue to awe photography enthusiasts’ one click at a time.

REPOST: How To Shift Your Negative Company Culture

As a business owner, the dynamics of your people will largely affect numerous aspects of your company. Having a good workplace culture is extremely important, but achieving it can be a very tough process. Here are more insights from Forbes:


If you’re not dealing with a startup, chances are your company culture has been developing over many years. I hope that you have been paying close attention to the dynamics of your people — if you haven’t, you might find yourself in a bad situation. Leaders must nurture the workplace environment and pay as much attention to the atmosphere as they would to the interworkings of the corporate process, such as sales development, inventory control and customer service.

If you need to change the culture of your company or department, be ready for a tough road ahead. It isn’t easy to shift beliefs and change the way people have been operating — in some cases, for many years. A drastic change may be imminent due to a significant event that is happening to the company, i.e., bankruptcy, a PR nightmare, significant sales decline, etc.


Put Strong Leaders On The Front Line

The good news is this: If you have strong leaders, you can change the culture with the right amount of focus, energy and communication. Remember, the culture echoes your leadership team. The first thing you have to decide is if you have the right players in place. Chances are, if you have a poor company culture, you have to make changes within your leadership team immediately. If their team does not trust him or her, this leader will be ineffective and will not be able to gain agreement on the desired outcome.


Define Your Desired Culture

Once you determine you have the right players to facilitate this seismic shift, you must decide what your culture needs to be in order for you to succeed. What characteristics does your team need to have in order to survive the test of time? These characteristics will be the roadmap for decision-making and problem-solving. If your people do not embrace change and are content, it will be very difficult for you to get buy-in to the new vision.

You will have to identify the behaviors that are harming the culture and ensure they are restricted in the workplace. It can be as simple as a “no cursing” rule. Cursing in the workplace is demeaning and intimidating. If you have identified collaboration as a core value, cursing at one another is in direct conflict with the outcome you are trying to produce. Determine all the bad behaviors that are harmful to your environment and get rid of them. This may require you to dismiss certain individuals from your team altogether. If they are harmful to your environment, they need to go.

Biggest cultural phenomena dominating the online world

Certain cultural codes can have significant impact on a country’s economic activities. In fact, many products and services we consume are usually created in such a way that they will be seen as socially and ethically acceptable. At other times, however, it is innovation and novel ideas that dictate how new cultures should be made.

Thanks to the wonder of technology, we are now all connected in a way that when a particular event, an activity, or a trend makes it big even from a thousand miles away, it’s just a matter of seconds in order for people all over the globe to be a part of the cheering, virtual crowd. In turn, the power to reach billions of people in a matter of seconds contributed to a whole new way of life not just defined by one wave of influence but an overlapping cultural phenomena that continue to shape the world one click at a time. Here are the biggest cultural phenomena that are dominating and will continue to dominate the world over:

  1. The robust Korean Wave
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The spread of Korea’s finest pop cultural icons were introduced through the popularity of K-dramas. Known for its unpredictable plots and interesting twists, the country’s film and TV industry soared into global admiration. But the world hasn’t seen everything yet—not until the entire viewing public exploded with the phenomenal K-Pop fever that is sweeping every person, young and old, across continents, with their cool music and electrifying dance moves—the ‘Hallyu’ culture was born. In 2012, Korean rapper Psy broke Youtube records with his international hit single ‘Gangnam Style.’ Moreover, the Hallyu phenomenon as a whole is believed to have boosted South Korea’s tourism industry to a whole new level.


  1. Hollywood’s Age of Superheroes
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We’re expecting a heroic and valiant generation that will finally save the actual world from its future damnation, thanks to the rise of the new superhero movies that have continued to dominate the industry.  The superhero era started in the early 2000s but it’s not yet showing any sign of weakness especially when we take a look at how the world wholeheartedly welcomed a female heroine, Diana as the Wonder Woman with open arms, hearts, and mind.


  1. Netflix and the new television
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According to industry experts, the Netflix culture has brought a new age of movie home viewing and it did not only change how the public consumes content but also how films and programs are made. In fact, it is believed that such video-on-demand streaming culture may eventually kill traditional TV and film, although not anytime soon. In addition, they have given millions of viewers the opportunity to participate, react, and demand for higher-quality shows and entertainment that they rightfully deserve—without the pressure from advertisers and similar outfits.

  1. The ubiquitous Selfie culture
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Driven largely—or perhaps, entirely—by social media and the widespread availability of mobile devices with good-quality cameras, taking selfies has become the norm for most users of social networking sites, particularly Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. It has become an acceptable behavior over the last few years, and has come a long way from being seen as an annoyingly narcissistic (and to some extent, psychologically damaging) activity into a commonplace way of creating personal content online.

REPOST: Spanish Siesta Culture Lets Entrepreneur Turn Naps Into Gold

Will bringing back the traditional Spanish ‘siesta’ culture to the large urban centers make workers more productive, driven, and efficient? Here is an article on Bloomberg for some interesting insights:


Siesta & Go Source: Siesta & Go


There’s little that’s more Spanish than the afternoon siesta.

As the mid-day sun goes up, businesses in small town Spain pull down their shutters for a traditional nap. In big urban centers, modern business trends have ended that habit, leaving many Spaniards who work long hours exhausted.

Now, Maria Estrella Jorro de Inza has found a way to bring back the siesta, making money while her countrymen nap. Bankers, lawyers and consultants catch up on their sleep at Siesta and Go — Madrid’s first nap-bar located in Azca, in the heart of the city’s financial district that’s home to firms like HSBC, Google and Deloitte. The concept is simple: for just 14 euros ($16) an hour, you get to unwind and take a power nap in a private bedroom before heading back to work.

“It’s funny that we’re known for the siesta, but we haven’t been professional about it,” said De Inza, the nap-bar’s 32-year-old founder. “We get a lot of men in suits who just want to relax and women wanting to take their heels off. Lunch break is the busiest time.”

Siesta & GoSource: Siesta & Go

Tokyo Connection

The idea is, of course, not original. De Inza came upon it while on a trip to Tokyo. The Japanese capital, famous for its short-stay options for space-starved citizens like “capsule hotels,” also has what are called nap cafes. The cafes offer clients the option of a short snooze during the day — a practice some Japanese claim has enormous health benefits.

It struck De Inza that the Japanese offer fit nicely with her own country’s traditions. The Spanish workday is often divided into blocks, with lunch breaks that can drag on for over two hours, meetings that run into the late afternoon and days that end late into the night. Spaniards racked up 1,695 hours at work last year, beating neighboring Germany and France, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Only Italy and Portugal pulled longer hours out of the main euro-area economies.

That’s left Spaniards who like to stay out late stuck in a form of permanent jet-lag, a feeling that hasn’t been helped by dictator Francisco Franco’s decision to the move the clock forward an hour in 1940 in line with allies Germany and Italy. The daily grind of Spaniards trails the sun, which often translates into late dinners and less sleep.


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The divide between high culture and popular culture

In the humanities, several debates have emerged focusing entirely on how people define and accept the different representations and subsets of culture in contemporary living. As a manifestation of the human intellectual achievements, a culture is expressed through different art forms, movements, economic systems, and even products for public consumption.


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However, the main focus of these discussions is addressed on the great divide between high culture and popular culture.  This idea springs from the concept that although high culture represents the best that has been thought and written in the world, it is on its way to extinction. In fact, many believe that it is already “lost” because of the emergence of the more recent popular culture.


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In definition, high culture resides on the lifestyle, literature, attitudes, and activities that set the refined elites and members of the ruling class apart from the generic, mass society. One particular example is how the privileged can enjoy specific forms of art like the opera while such access to this Renaissance art form is not available to the general public.  However, the sudden emergence of the popular culture has disrupted this reality, replacing the once dominant position of high culture with something that can be shared by the masses of the society—the pop culture.


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Popular culture encourages totally different consumption patterns, and believe in a more general type of literature and lifestyle. In fact, it lacks the sophistication of the high culture. Nonetheless, this humility makes it more attractive to the general public. One perfect example is the popularity of fast food chains over epicurean fine dining.


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The influence of the wide dissimilarities between these subcultures and how one is more favored than the other have effects that are not limited to the humanities and its philosophical debates but also to the society as a whole. Just like how ideas change histories, these positions can also affect social policies and contribute to the shaping of cultural institutions.

REPOST: How immigration gave rise to American pop culture

Immigration seemed to have accelerated the ubiquity of popular culture in America. New and diverse cultures gave way to dynamic communities and helped push boundaries in areas such as music, film, television, sports, and fashion. Here is an interesting article from Learn Liberty about this subject matter:



Looking back over the second half of the 20th century, among the observations one can make about American society is that our artistic and entertainment assumptions were increasingly dominated by pop culture as the decades passed. From the grand division of culture into high and low that solidified toward the end of the 1800s, the winner one hundred years later seems unquestionably to have been pop.


Pop culture as we know it began with the age of industrialization, which for America means the years after the Civil War. Two driving forces allowed popular culture to flourish: one from the supply side and the other from the demand side, both of which were made possible by the free and unregulated society of 19th-century America.


On the supply side, making possible the constant influx of new entertainment that constitutes pop culture were Industrial Age advances in communication and mass production. The sudden ubiquity of dime novels, Horatio Alger stories, nickelodeon parlors (early movie theaters), and professional baseball all depended on new means of technology and communication and the free market in which they emerged.


In terms of demand, these same years also saw the first massive immigration to the United States from Eastern and Southern Europe. Most immigrants then spoke a language other than English and brought cultural traditions and customs that set them apart from the bulk of those who were already here. How to transform this increasingly diverse population into a unified American people was not in the least bit clear.


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These are the other ways your favorite movies earn outside the box office

The quintessential gauge of measuring a film’s success has always been its box office performance. And indeed, many production houses earn the bulk of their income from screening their masterpieces in theatres all over the world. In 2016, the film industry collectively made a total of $38 billion globally, which is purely based on theatrical earnings. However, there are many other ways that films can actually bag additional income even when their run in cinemas has already ended. In fact, those that have underperformed during their initial release may still be able to recoup their production expenditure through other means.



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  1. Home video. A few weeks or months after a movie’s theatrical release, its home video version is made available in retail stores. DVDs, Blu-rays, and digital downloads are the second most important sources of income for film producers. The most profitable of which have amassed more than $100 million in home video sales, almost covering the whole film production budget itself. In addition, many films that did not perform well in cinemas have actually become profitable when their home video versions were released and eventually become cult classics.



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  1. TV and streaming services. Many analysts predict that the home video industry will soon die down and the rapid decline in DVD and Blu-ray sales in the past few years can well vouch for this claim. The deterioration is most attributed to the rise of streaming sites like Netflix as well as the growing demand for a TV broadcast. Film producers earn from this set-up through licensing agreements, wherein the streaming site or TV network pays the producers a specific fee for the rights to show their film on such platforms. They may also buy the film altogether. The system is most especially vibrant in Internet-based video-on-demand sites, where customers can conveniently watch their favorite film whenever and wherever they want. For indie film producers, this is a sure way to earn guaranteed profits.



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  1. Merchandizing. The likes of Star Wars, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and Toy Story are already gigantic blockbusters themselves, and yet they can still find many other ways to create more cash from their existing fan base, building a media franchise in the process. Such popular films can have other incarnations outside the big screen; these include t-shirts, video games, books, theme parks, and of course, toys. Children’s toys make up an industry worth about $22 billion, and the bulk of the sales has been driven or inspired by movie characters.



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  1. Brand partnerships. It is common for films to have sponsors, especially when they involve popular actors. Product placements within the movie or during the marketing stage can significantly help producers offset expenditure, thereby increasing their chances of generating profits. In some cases, it is these sponsors that actually shoulder the production budget.

Breezing through the day: The wonders of coffee naps

When talking about breakfasts and staying awake, coffee is definitely a staple. Some people just can’t greet the day with a smile unless they have their hot brew. Throughout the morning, it will provide them with the energy and spunk that they need.


However, things get a little sluggish once lunchtime arrives. The fatigue builds up and drowsiness kicks in by 1 PM. The workday is far from over, so they reach for another mug. That way, they’ll be able to finish all their tasks within the deadline. However, there is a way to improve performance even further. Just combine it with one of the greatest activities known to mankind, napping.


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One of the things that napping and coffee have in common is that they help the person feel alert and motivated to do what they need to do. Combine the two and a powerful tool emerges. Researchers were able to see a positive correlation between concentration and coffee naps. It seems that they were more effective as compared to just drinking coffee or just taking a nap.


People only truly feel the effect of coffee after a half an hour has passed because it stays in the stomach for approximately 20 to 30 minutes before being absorbed by the small intestine. During that window, the hardworking employee or student should take a nap. Upon waking up, they will feel refreshed from the nap and energized from the coffee. Breezing through the tasks which were scheduled for the day just becomes so much easier.


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Coffee is not just popular; it is ubiquitous. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs millions and delights several millions more. Latin America leads the world by total production, while the likes of Starbucks and McDonald’s (through McCafe) serve the bulk of espressos to tables. It is a major export commodity and a common financial item in many investment deals or even portfolios. Rich, aromatic, and potentially healthy, coffee is both an enjoyable power drink and a viable business.


The comeback of the 90s: Fashion trends which are here to stay

The 90s was a very significant period in the timeline of the world for it represented a sort of transition. It was then when people became more and more interested in technology, information, and the Internet. It was also a time when the youth became more assertive and started exploring new boundaries, which prompted an increase in creative rebellion. It showed in what they wore.


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In the 90s, grunge and minimalism were very in. With the passing of the decade, just like with any other time, the tastes of the people inevitably began to change. However nearly 20 years later, some trends from that time are starting to resurface.


One seemingly popular relic from the past comes in the form of crop tops and chokers. This movement was probably initiated when the likes of big stars such as Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid were spotted wearing these pieces albeit combined with a modern touch.


Denim is usually used for jeans, but jackets and even dresses made out of it are popping out one right after the other. After the 90s, hoop earrings looked very tacky, it seems that people are starting to develop a taste for it once more. On the hair and makeup side of things, dark berry lips and braided accents are becoming more and more common as well.



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However, the key to sporting 90s fashion pieces is not to copy them in their entirety from their origin. They need to be reworked and reintegrated into today’s culture. Combined with the feeling of having fun and enjoying one’s youth, the 90s trendsetter is already good to go.


The fashion industry is a huge business, but it is also something that requires constant innovation and updates. As per report, the global apparel market is valued at more than US$3 trillion dollars and accounts for 2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While not as lucrative as the oil industry or tech businesses, it is big enough to attract capitalists and serves as a good component to any one’s investment portfolio.