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Scenic Route guide provides 8 ways artists contribute to equity-driven transportation projects

Arts & Culture

Smart Growth America and Transportation for America have unveiled a newly updated guide for transportation planners, public works agencies and local elected officials who are on the front lines of advancing transportation projects and want to collaborate with artists.

The new Scenic Route guide provides eight common approaches used in exemplary transportation projects that intentionally engage artists and creatives. The guide summarizes the ways artists most often contribute to these projects to help ensure local residents see themselves in new infrastructure developments, and to help introduce visitors to the culture and history of the neighborhoods they’re passing through.

“The Scenic Route website was originally created to introduce the transportation sector to the idea of working with artists to solve mobility and equity challenges,” said Ben Stone, director of Arts & Culture at Smart Growth America and its program Transportation for America.

Stone leads the organization’s broad efforts to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture and creative placemaking into neighborhood revitalization, equitable development and transportation planning.

“Now that this interdisciplinary practice is far more established, and after having led our own arts and transportation practice for more than five years, Smart Growth America has launched a new version of the Scenic Route with a renewed focus on equitable outcomes and some lessons for those who already have experience working with artists, while still retaining an entry point for those just beginning the work,” Stone added.

Since 2016, SGA has led and supported arts and culture work by training, funding and researching on-the-ground transportation improvements with a focus on creativity and equity. The new website also profiles SGA’s five-plus years of work in this arena and offers real-world examples of how arts and culture are being utilized to build better transportation projects through a better process.

The Scenic Route guide also offers dozens of case studies illustrating arts, culture and transportation collaborations in action where readers can search the projects by location, mode or approach.

This project received funding support from Kresge’s Arts and Culture Program and the National Endowment for the Arts to showcase how creative placemaking harnesses the power of arts and culture to allow for more genuine public engagement.

Upcoming webinar:

Join Smart Growth America, Transportation for America and the National Endowment for the Arts for a webinar on May 10 from 3-4 p.m. EST to hear from industry experts on why this guide matters and how you can use it in your community. Register today.

Featured speakers:

  • Jen Hughes, Design and Creative Placemaking Director at the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Jason Foster, President and COO for Destination Crenshaw
  • Mikey Goralnik, Community Design and Development Planner at Mariposa County Planning Department
  • Cara Goger, Executive Director for Mariposa County Arts Council
  • Ben Stone, Director of Arts & Culture at Transportation for America

Learn more about Smart Growth America’s projects by visiting