'Cardiff must honour diversity of its people'.
ONE of the world's leading architects has said Cardiff must embrace the diversity of its citizens as "creators" rather than "consumers".
Architect Eric Kuhne, who has worked on projects in North America, Europe and the Middle East, told the Cardiff Convention conference yesterday cities should celebrate creation and innovation rather than simply be designed with the needs of consumers in mind.
Mr Kuhne said: "The 20th century treated citizens and cities as consumers selling products and services. That will be regarded as one of the dark ages of our civilisation.
"We need to treat our citizens not as consumers but as creators. We are not just dealing with those who manipulate wealth but those who create wealth."
He was referring to consumers as not just shoppers, but in a wider context to describe those who use a range of city services including those provided by local authorities as well as public services such as theatres.
The architect added: "There is no right way to experience a city, we each pick different routes when we take people around.
"A city has to honour the diversity of its citizens.
"Everywhere you go it's about creating not just meeting places but meaningful places. Buildings only endure if they tell stories."
Regeneration experts, architects and politicians addressed an invited audience at the Mercure Holland House hotel at the Cardiff Convention.
The group was then invited to a series of workshops at locations around the city including Cardiff Castle, County Hall and Cardiff Arms Park.
The convention also heard from Julian Stubbs, CEO of a Global Communications company Up There, Everywhere.
Mr Stubbs has been involved with the branding of the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, Beefeater and the city of Stockholm which is now marketed as the capital of Scandinavia.
He said: "It used to be that people followed jobs, now we are seeing a revolution taking place, money follows people."
Mr Stubbs is due to give a TED lecture in Greece in February next year.
He added: "Creativity of thought is the key thing, not budget.
"You have to have a long-term game plan. When you get a powerful brand it is like a magnet attracting investors."
Cardiff council leader Phil Bale said there was a need to create a city which would encourage highly skilled, well paid jobs and investment.
He said: "Cardiff has come a very long way in a very short period of time. In the last 20 years we have invested in cultural and sport facilities, attracting events which have put Cardiff on the world stage. Now we need to create a city that can further encourage highly skilled, well paid jobs and investment.
"Cardiff has recently been announced as the 10th member of the Core Cities group and it is now recognised that city regions will be economic drivers for both regional and UK economic growth.
"Over the next 10 years Cardiff is projected to be the fastest growing city - faster than London - and these economic benefits will not only be felt in Cardiff, but the wider region too.
"The perception of the city is very encouraging, looking at figures from the EU Urban Audit which assessed 79 major EU cities; Cardiff is No 1 in the UK for cultural venues, green spaces, sports facilities and overall satisfaction.
"We want to build on this success, continuing to deliver critical infrastructure that creates a sustainable and attractive city to live, work and play and the convention will be an excellent opportunity to learn and discuss best practice from speakers across the world on all aspects of city development.
"It is really important we set out our vision for livability not just for Cardiff but for Europe as well.
"People in Cardiff care a lot about this city.
"It is important we seriously explore a city deal for Cardiff with the UK Government."
Mr Bale also said there is much to gain from working together with cities such as Bristol.
The convention launched as the first images were published of a master plan for the regeneration of the land around Cardiff Central Railway Station, including the relocation of the BBC Wales headquarters.
Artist's impression of how |the Millennium Walkway at Central Square will look
Architect Eric Kuhne at the convention Architect Eric Kuhne at the convention HUW JOHN