Great Problems Great Minds Seminar Series: ‘Making Music Cities — Creative Economies in Urban Policy and Planning’

Join the Social Sciences Colloquium at the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Ola Johansson, a professor and chair in the Department of Geography at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, who will give a presentation on “Creative Economies in Urban Policy and Planning.” This seminar will take place on Wednesday, March 20, from 5–6:15 p.m. over Zoom.


Cities across the United States want a thriving local music scene. One reason is that creative economies are expected to have broad, positive impacts on urban development. The argument is that young, educated workers, as well as tourists, are looking for exciting, diverse, and cosmopolitan cities where they want to live or visit. An active music scene is part of that attraction. During the last few years, cities have increasingly commissioned formal music city plans, which act as comprehensive guides on how to achieve these goals. This presentation discusses an emerging “music city movement” and the challenges and opportunities that come with attempts at implementing it.


Ola Johansson is a professor and chair in the Department of Geography at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown whose research interests include the urban, cultural, environmental, and economic dimensions of popular music. He is the author of the books New Geographies of Music 1: Urban Policies, Live Music, and Careers in a Changing Industry (Palgrave Macmillan 2023) and Songs from Sweden: Shaping Pop Culture in a Globalized Music Industry (Palgrave Macmillan 2020), and the co-author of the books Sound, Society, and the Geography of Popular Music (Routledge, 2016) and multiple editions of World Regional Geography (Macmillan), as well as numerous international peer-reviewed articles. He has also been a guest scholar at Linnaeus University and the University of the Philippines. He earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in social and economic geography from Lund University and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Tennessee.

“Making Music Cities: Creative Economies in Urban Policy and Planning” is part of the Social Sciences Colloquium of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Associate Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at