BAGUIO CITY -- To improve Baguio's image as a “Creative City”, millennials need to cultivate a culture of creativity, Dean Mary Anne Alabanza-Akers of Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning in the United States said here Thursday.

Akers, the Baguio-born daughter of the city’s urban planner Architect Joseph Alabanza, said Baguio City’s designation as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative City, is just the beginning of something better for the country’s summer capital.

The recognition does not end there. “It is more, this is a great jumpstart,” she said.

Becoming a creative city, Akers said, is meant to enhance the already existing creative and artistic nature of the young people of Baguio, which will result in their sustainability and bring on higher economic returns.

Ethnic diversity, market, strawberries and vegetables, art festivals, universities, the trees and its environment are some of the factors that contributed to Baguio’s inclusion in the list of UNESCO’s Creative Cities.

Akers said being a creative city requires inputs from millennials.

Everyone needs to be open to certain ideas and be included in processes, she said, adding that art needs to be valued for its own sake and to lift the human spirit. 

Millennials are innovative and take advantage of technological advancement to relate to what is happening around them, according to Akers.

She also encouraged the youth to travel to other places and gain more knowledge that will further enhance their creative and cultural sensitive nature.

When asked what is lacking in Baguio, she said more resources are needed to meet everyone’s requirements but with the UNESCO designation, those resources are expected to come more easily.

“Like in America, international resources like Google, Amazon and so on, they look for places where there are millennials so if we can tap one of those big companies, they can help us keep our brand,” Akers said.

In a separate interview Thursday, Rep. Marquez Go agreed with Akers, saying that good management and encouraging the public and various institutions and involving the youth to be more creative would be the most effective way to promote Baguio as a UNESCO Creative City. 

“We just have to work together to ensure a creative capital. What we have can be optimized, we need to have teamwork, pursue the same direction and at the same time optimize the utilization of resources,” he added. 

He also suggested holding a summit to discuss and execute programs in line with Baguio’s designation as a Creative City. (PNA)