Arlington's Artisphere, cultural planning and Arlington's identity
Trans-Europe Halles network.
The Post has an article, "Artisphere: 'Doomed from the start'," about the Rosslyn cultural center, Artisphere, which faces closure as Arlington County deals with budget problems.
To be honest, there isn't much for me to say or add, as the Post article is excellent in covering the issues around the story:
-- Rosslyn isn't particularly well-situated for a cultural facility as it isn't a night-time and weekend destination
-- it was unrealistic to expect the space to be revenue positive
-- that it should have been positioned as a cultural anchor contributing to the redefinition of Rosslyn as more than a center for office buildings and hotels
-- as well as to further Arlington's redefintion as a "city" as opposed to an "urban county."
Arlington has taken financial blows over the past couple years, between the Silver Line repositioning Greater Tysons in Fairfax County as transit-connected but a lower cost location for commercial space and the unwillingness of Congress to approve higher priced leases for federal agencies, which means that the National Science Foundation, an anchor of the county's science-technology sector, is moving to Alexandria to lower cost space.
-- "The state of Arlington County Virginia's commercial real estate market: 2012 and the future"
-- "Short term vs. long term thinking: transit, the Washington Examiner, Fairfax/ Loudoun Counties vs. DC"
-- "Silver line reshaping commercial office market in Fairfax County"
Not to mention reactions to the County's capital budgeting processes and projects--the "$1 million bus shelter," a proposed swimming facility in Crystal City, "the streetcar"--by the citizenry, culminating in the election of less growth oriented members of the County Board.
Not just economic timing, but also a failure to recognize that it was probably too early to put a facility like Artisphere together in Rosslyn, given that the reshaping of the commercial district is in early stages, and hasn't reached velocity.
-- "Art, culture districts and revitalization"
In any case, it's another example of all communities needing more robust cultural planning and new models--one model being the cultural complexes that are present in many European cities. The Trans-Europe Halles network of 56 cultural centers across Europe are a good place to start.
Examples I am particularly impressed with include Helsinki's Cable Factory, La Friche in Marseille, and the Center for the Book in Aix-en-Provence (not a member of TEH).