APA Co-sponsored Conference

Cultural Landscapes/Cultural Towns

4th International Symposium on Timeless Design Principles

New Harmony, Indiana
November 12-14, 2008

The 4th International Symposium on timeless design principles will focus on the qualities that define communities as authentic cultural towns that are deeply rooted in the arts and arts education. They respect their history while recognizing the need to deal with the problems that face any town in the 21st century.

Visit the website at www.newharmonysymposium.com.

Presenters will address such topics as:

  • Town planning and growth Design guidelines
  • Cultural tourism
  • Planning challenges for cultural towns


Pre-registration ends on October 31, 2008, at 12:00 p.m. CT.

Registration includes Wednesday dinner, Thursday breakfast, lunch and dinner and Friday breakfast and lunch.

Register Online

Symposium History

The first symposium was held in August 2005. During the event, residents of New Harmony and symposium participants participated in a community design charrette. The outcome of the charette: The community clearly saw itself as a cultural landscape.

The New Harmony Artists' Guild, primary sponsor of the symposium, was asked to identify "sister communities." The Guild and the Center for Community & Environmental Design at Purdue University have been identifying "cultural towns" in America. That list includes more than 120 communities identified as places actively involved in community building in creative ways which resist the homogenization of America by the forces of bigness, greed, and speed.

Four key qualities have been used to identify a community as a cultural town:

  • Cultural towns are genuine and authentic places that are deeply rooted in the arts and arts education which identify, create, and develop unique qualities of community.
  • Arts institutions, however organized, are 25 percent or more of the total town population.
  • A core group of "public entrepreneurs" are actively involved in community building as intensely as private entrepreneurs are in corporation building. These public entrepreneurs, whether lay citizen, artist, musician, restaurateur, architect, landscape architect, historian or community planner, are engaged in community building and are creating with beauty and responsibility. Community cannot be unique, genuine, and authentic without the work of these creative individuals and the individuals will not thrive without contributing responsibly to the community.
  • Cultural towns are located in a somewhat isolated cultural landscape which isolates the town from typical rapid suburban growth. Respecting the past, living the present, and visioning the future uniquely, cultural towns look forward and back simultaneously. As a result, they become destinations to be experienced.

Supporters of the symposium include:

  • American Planning Association
  • Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation
  • New Harmony Artists' Guild
  • University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony Foundation