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Creative Placemaking in America

Full resource: Creative Placemaking

Date published: 2010
Source: The Mayors' Institute on City Design
Authors: Anne Markusen and Anne Gadwa

Summary: In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.

This white paper summarizes two decades of creative American Placemaking. It draws on original economic research and case studies of path-breaking initiatives in large and small cities, metropolitan to rural, as well as published accounts. The case studies stretch from Providence, Rhode Island, to Los Angeles, California, and from Arnaudville, Louisiana, and Fond du Lac, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington. Each reveals a distinctive strategy that succeeded when initiators built partnerships across sectors, missions, and levels of government, leveraging funds from diverse sources and programs.

While the paper as a whole does have an urban focus, three of the case studies feature rural communities that have adapted creative placemaking strategies:

  • Art – A Rural Community’s Newest Crop (Arnaudville, Louisiana) 
  • Chasing Artists, Not Smokestacks (Paducah, Kentucky Artist Relocation Program)
  • Art as Healing (Fond du Lac Reservation, Minnesota).

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