Mayor Emanuel’s big idea for the arts—as laid out last spring in his transition plan—calls for the creation of “branded” cultural hubs around the city, starting with three neighborhood pilot programs. But last week a pair of civic planning experts told an audience at the Cultural Center, including members of the mayor’s team, that designated arts districts are a bad idea.

“We argue against even using the rubric,” said academic and consultant Ann Markusen, adding that the creation of such districts is “really problematic.”