The New Urban™ Manifesto
There is a spirit sweeping the world, a movement unprecedented in all of human history. Consider these eye-opening facts that indicate we are at a tipping point in humanity’s evolution, a paradigm shift heralding the birth and emergence of a new digital generation upon the global stage:
According to the World Health Organization, “For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population lives in a city, and this proportion continues to grow… as of 2010, more than half of all people live in an urban area.” WHO goes on to note: “Urbanization, the demographic transition from rural to urban, is associated with shifts from an agriculture-based economy to mass industry, technology, and service.”
A startling statistic in a March 2013 United Nations report underscores this important point: Today, more people have access to cell phones than they do to flush toilets. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones, while only 4.5 billion have access to toilets. Given that Sir John Harrington invented a prototype of the flush toilet as far back as 1596, while mobile phones have only been commercially available for 30 years, these astonishing numbers reveal how rapidly new communications technologies are developing and outstripping conventional infrastructure.
If those are examples of the profound paradigm shift we’re living through on the grass roots level, on the other end of the hierarchical spectrum the first pope from the Western Hemisphere has been selected. Pope Francis of Argentina is the first South American pontiff in the age-old annals of the papacy.
On the national level the re-election of America’s first Black president marked a tectonic shift in demographics in terms of ethnicity, age, gender and sexual preference that revealed the shifting nature of the U.S. population. Now, the promise of a greater, wider inclusiveness in a country founded by mainly white men has been embraced by masses of nonwhites, females and individuals with different sexual orientations. Barack Obama swept the Latino and Asian vote, which includes many new citizens, as well as among longtime resident minority groups, such as African-Americans and Jews. Obama also resoundingly won the youth and gay vote.
And as Sandra Fluke — the young women whom shock jock Rush Limbaugh insulted on the air as a “slut” during his archaic diatribe against health insurance coverage for birth control — pointed out shortly after the 1012 election at the Los Angeles Green Festival:
“We just saw women pick the president of the United States. There was a 12 point difference in women’s preference… between Pres. Obama and that guy who ran who we don’t have to worry about any more.” Fluke went on to note “the record number of women elected to the House, over 80, and 20 women to the Senate.” (It’s also worth remembering that more people voted for Democrats in the House of Representatives, although the Republicans — who lost seats — managed to remain in the majority through gerrymandering.)
Factor into this combustible mix another essential ingredient, that today’s populace is arguably younger than ever: 43% of the world’s population is 25 and under. All of these facts taken together prove that our planet is changing, and being transformed rapidly by an emerging multi-cultural generation empowered by new media that links people up into an often unstoppable force. It is time to recognize this generational phenomenon, to provide it with a rallying cry and a name: The NEW URBAN. From advertisers to dictators, those who try to deny and ignore this growing global trend will be toppled, like the tyrants of Tunisia and Egypt. These despots’ guns and tanks were no match for this generation armed with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WikiLeaks, etc. Those incapable of thinking outside of the box will soon metaphorically be buried in an ideological box six feet under, as the stale stereotypes of yesterday fall by the wayside, replaced by a new social media-fuelled solidarity. As Bob Dylan sang in the early ’60s:
“Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.”
Beyond an Arab Spring, this is a clarion call for an URBAN SPRING, a new paradigm with the ethos of the new multi-culti, gender, youthful reality that breaks national barriers. These new URBAN MASSES are as inter-connected as they are diverse. United through social media and other means of mass communications, this global mass movement is upending the old order and ushering in a new world. URBAN ICON aims to amplify the voice of this planetary cause of socially conscious kindred spirits, from music to fashion to politics to multi-media and more. URBAN ICON is doing so by creating interactive entertainment and media experiences that promote the positive side of URBAN culture.
In John Steinbeck’s 1939 classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the visionary character Preacher Casy found “he just got a little piece of a great big soul” and realized “all men got one big soul ever-body’s a part of.” The Internet is a technological expression of this spiritual ideal of linking human beings up with one another. Facebook and Twitter connect people far and wide, whether they’re finding out about family and friends — or overthrowing tyrannical governments. These social media, along with other outlets such as YouTube, empower each individual with the ability to express him/herself to mass audiences. They are all technical extensions of what the transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson called the “Over-Soul.”
URBAN ICON is at the cutting edge of this transnational generational movement that is shaking the world as we have known it. A new breed with a new creed of socially conscious and environmentally aware, technically savvy people, free from narrow national boundaries. Through music, politics, fashion, volunteering and more they speak loud and clear about the issues they care about. Those who ignore the NEW URBAN — from sponsors to despots — do so at their own peril. 21st century URBAN men and women have nothing to lose but their pains, and have a planet to gain. URBANITES of the globe, unite!