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Creative Placemaking gains a foothold nationally, must address critical needs to earn widespread adoption

Arts & Culture

The deliberate infusion of arts and culture as an integral part of community development has gained significant inroads nationally, but can still feel like swimming upstream for community leaders and practitioners aiming to make it a commonplace practice according to “Creative Placemaking and Expansion of Opportunity: Observations and Reflections” – a new white paper released by The Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture Program

Cover of Kresge white paper "Creative Placemaking and Expansion of Opportunity"

The paper identifies several critical needs to grow the field of Creative Placemaking, which Kresge defines as the integration of arts, culture and community-engaged design strategies into community development and urban planning.

Among those needs:

  • A clear understanding of the sources and consequences of urban inequality, including its historic roots.
  • Coming to grips with limiting practices that impede widespread adoption
  • Reframing the role of arts, culture and design in vulnerable communities.
  • Embracing cross-sectoral work that includes Creative Placemaking with patience and nimbleness.
  • Making visible new ways that artists, developers, planners and others work through Creative Placemaking.
  • Establishing rigorous and creative research and evaluation methods to assess and measure the impact of the work.

The paper was authored by Maria Rosario Jackson, PH.D., senior adviser to the foundation’s Arts & Culture team. It is the second in a series aiming to help illuminate the foundation’s approach to Creative Placemaking, share lessons learned, identify challenges and opportunities, and encourage conversations in the field.