Kansas City (pop. 464,000) lies on the western edge of Missouri. Founding place for the creation of the Swing Era and the heritage of the historic urban community of 18th and Vine District, the once segregated area that housed such musicians as Count Basie and Charlie Parker. The district is an important urban renaissance revolving around the 100-year history of Jazz and one of the most important investments the city has made to urban revitalization. Kansas City is home to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of the most respected music conservatories in the country emphasizing jazz internationally. 60% of all art and culture organisations in the region are located in Kansas City.
With more than 200 music events occurring year-round, Kansas City boasts a rich and diverse cultural offering, notably through the Kauffman Centre for the Performing Art which uses live music in all genres surrounding entertainment, education and more. The Neighbourhood Tourist Development Fund programme provides support to non-profit organisations to help promote Kansas City's diverse neighbourhoods through cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and recreational activities. US$2 million per year is given to local, small festivals, concerts, surrounding neighbourhoods and ethnic festivals.
Kansas City's Creative Cities Strategy will leverage jazz heritage as a driver of sustainable community development. Building on research already completed by the University of Missouri- Kansas City Urban Planning department, this project will develop a strategy for sustainable development that includes a city-adopted policy that meets the needs of musicians, creative sector workers, and the African-American community while rebuilding the centre around cultural heritage preservation strategies.
As a Creative City of Music, Kansas City envisages:
- promoting Jazz heritage as a driver for sustainable development through city-adopted policies for neighbourhoods, with jazz music being the principal component;
- developing a cultural district plan according to the universal values carried by the Mutual Musicians Foundation, honouring and valorising the historic and existing culture of the 18th and Vine Historic District, as well as the Wendell Phillips neighbourhood;
- implementing the Jazz Corridor, which identifies all aspects of Jazz for the national and international creative consumer for entertainment, education, historic preservation and businesses purposes;
- setting an economic development plan in the city's urban core and cultural tourism sites which will include a strong international component and connect to countries with an interest in jazz and Black American Music; and
- engaging other Creative Cities in the Voyage of the Drums Jazz Festival, aimed to foster inter-cultural understanding, tolerance and mutual respect through jazz music.