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Improving access to services, empowering residents is goal of inaugural Arts, Culture and Transportation fellows

Arts & Culture

Integrating resident-driven arts and cultural practices into cities’ transportation systems can help empower residents, improve access to services and ensure that the needs of traditionally under-resourced communities are met.

That’s the philosophy behind Smart Growth America’s (SGA) first class of Arts, Culture and Transportation (ACT) fellows, funded by Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program. The 11 fellows include artists, urban planners, arts administrators and transportation advocates from across the country. They represent “…some of the country’s most innovative organizations and agencies, and I look forward to …. providing an opportunity for them to learn from one another, as well as learn from each of them,” said Ben Stone, SGA’s director of arts & culture.

Since 2008 SGA’s Transportation for America (T4A) initiative has worked to shift the lens of transportation planning away from its historic focus on traffic flow and congestion relief to also consider advancing resident health, housing affordability, education, employment and human service access. Previous Kresge support for SGA and T4A has leveraged Creative Placemaking to bring together residents, elevate the importance of local culture and input in planning decisions and test new approaches to transportation planning.

Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program defines Creative Placemaking as the intentional integration of arts, culture and community-engaged design into comprehensive planning and development.

“The fellowship is a part of our support for SGA’s work to cultivate new leaders and scale promising practices across the United States,” said Seth Beattie, a program officer with the foundation’s Arts & Culture team. “We can’t wait to see what this extraordinary group will generate when they’re given the time and space to cultivate ways that make transportation practices more equitable by working cooperatively and creatively with residents.”

See the full list of fellows here.