The Big Idea: Brooklyn Cultural District

What is the Brooklyn Cultural District?

Here in Downtown Brooklyn, nearly 70 arts organizations thrive, and much of the cultural activity is centered on the four-block stretch that surrounds the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). What is now called the Brooklyn Cultural District has historically served as the border between the historic Fort Greene brownstone neighborhood and the glittering towers of Downtown Brooklyn.

Conceived nearly four decades ago by Harvey Lichtenstein, then president of BAM, the original plan was to reanimate the once gleaming heart of Brooklyn’s premier cultural and entertainment center.

Today, that plan is coming to fruition in large and impactful ways.

If Brooklyn is culture, why do we need a district?

The City and State of New York have invested over $100 million to create world-class cultural venues, marquee public spaces, and state-of-the-art streetscape improvements. This investment was not intended to create culture from scratch, but instead builds upon the area’s rich history and the infrastructure of existing institutions.

The Brooklyn Cultural District will be home to nine independent arts venues and more than 2,000 new residential units, nearly 30% of which are designated as affordable. 300,000 square feet of office space is designed especially for emerging creative and technology firms, new restaurants, and shopping.

What all of this means is the Brooklyn Cultural District will be a destination for the entire borough – and a place where artists can live, create, and showcase their work.

The Brooklyn Cultural District is for creatives, by creatives.

But it is not just these impressive new developments that define the future of Brooklyn culture. This is the heart of an expansive cultural ecosystem that stretches the entirety of Downtown Brooklyn and into surrounding neighborhoods, creating a connection between formerly disparate communities. This cultural ecosystem plugs directly into the area’s rapidly growing innovation economy, serving as its creative inspiration while concurrently attracting artistry and intellect from all corners of the globe.

The Brooklyn Cultural District sends a clear signal of the immense value of culture to Downtown Brooklyn’s past, present, and future, and that its stakeholders are capable of thinking and executing big ideas.