Step out, look up and take a walk through a city – any city will do. Buildings, infrastructure and engineering collide with people and cultures, to create something amazing – laying out a complete story of social change, achievement, decline, and revival. Cities also blatantly illustrate the shock of the new – those radical changes in direction caused by outside forces, such as revolution, economy, war or pure, individual genius.

The creative industries have always embraced the opportunities afforded by change, and generations of designers have demonstrated in bricks, mortar, paint and plaster, reflecting the fashions, tastes and technologies of the time.

Symbols of the transfer of cultural capital from church to state, to marketplace and to commerce are silhouetted on the skyline. Take a walk around Tokyo today and the new tourist icons are the store designs of the global fashion brands – stamping their mark on our international psyche – and helping to position that place as a true fashion and architectural capital in one blow.

This is a great time, as our cities compete for international status, attract us back to live in them – and renew themselves for the 21st century.

Stuart Baron, D&B

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