The 2015 Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange offered insights into the latest thinking and research in how arts and culture help address community and economic development issues. The gathering was held on June 26 at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration in Newark, NJ.

Agenda

Presentations

Definitions of Creative Placemaking (A PKLR)
Julie Hawkins, Drexel University

The emergence and popularity of the term “Creative Placemaking” warrants attention to the term itself and to terms associated with it in scholarship and practice. This PechaKucha Literature Review (PKLR, or “pickler,” for short) examines the definitions of Creative Placemaking and other associated terms as they are presented in academic and grey literature, seeking to understand how they relate to one another. Utilizing the PechaKucha format to address this question facilitates a focus on the similarities and differences of the terms’ definitions, enabling viewers to quickly grasp areas of distinction and overlap. The goal of the presentation is to set the stage for further discussion of the relationships among these terms and their usage in research and in practice.

A Capabilities Approach to Creative Placemaking in West Philadelphia Presentation
Andrew Zitcer, Drexel University

Philadelphia’s University City has undergone a rapid and thorough transformation over the last 15 years, led by anchor institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Drexel University. There have been massive changes to housing, retail, streetscapes and the public safety climate. The adjacent neighborhoods in West Philadelphia, after long periods of disinvestment, have begun to face development and gentrification. A 2014 study by the Arts Administration faculty of Drexel University noted a large presence of artists and arts organizations in the neighborhoods of Mantua, West Powelton and Powelton Village, yet the neighborhoods’ cultural ecology is plagued by a lack of material support and a dearth of opportunities for connection. This presentation follows up on that study, proposing a vision for creative placemaking based on the capabilities approach developed by economist Amartya Sen and philosopher Martha Nussbaum. The capabilities approach posits that people succeed when they are given the tools to realize their creative potential. The presentation will go over the findings from the Drexel study, briefly outline the capabilities approach, and discuss future potential opportunities for creative placemaking in these neighborhoods.

Measuring What Matters: Debating standardized outcome metrics for Creative Placemaking Projects Presentation
Larry Bomback, Cultural Data Project

Philanthropy is most effective when its recipients manage to outcomes. In theory, outcomes should be easy to define and measure if a standardized taxonomy of indicators exists, and the entities charting their impact are similarly structured. For example, clearly defined financial ratios have served as a suitable set of indicators of the organizational health of nonprofits. These indicators have helped grantmakers with goals to improve the capitalization of nonprofit entities establish baselines, measure progress, and in some instances, even prove causality. In recent years, the number of funders directing dollars and grants to creative placemaking projects has increased rapidly, but many are quickly finding that charting the effectiveness of these investments is not so cut and dried. It is acutely challenging, in fact, as there seem to be as many definitions of what creative placemaking is as there are groups pursuing this work Using a series of quotes and charts, this PechaKucha style presentation will highlight some of the key arguments for and against the use of data-driven assessment to measure the impact of creative placemaking investments.

Building Capacity for Creative Placemaking in Pinellas Park, Florida
Debra Rose, City of Pinellas Park; Certification in Creative Placemaking Program, 2015

What roles can public officials play in building the will and capacity of community stakeholders to engage in quality creative placemaking? This presentation explores an approach for engagement and partnerships between and among public officials and community stakeholders. The focus will be on Pinellas Park, a small residential community in the Tampa Bay area.

Creating the Space to Talk about Place: Creative Placemaking in the Arts Management Classroom
Brea M. Heidelberg, Fine Arts Department, Rider University

This presentation explores the considerations, practices, and ongoing exploration of how to discuss, facilitate, and encourage informed Creative Placemaking in the Arts Management classroom. Examples from Rider University’s Arts Management program are used to initiate 3 dialogue about what knowledge and skill sets arts managers need regarding Creative Placemaking – and if it differs from what they need to be effective arts managers.

The Micropolitics of Performance: Pop-up Art as Urban Communication
Amanda J. Ashley, PhD, Department of Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University

Politically motivated pop-ups (PMPs) are a new phenomenon raising provocative questions about participatory democracy in urban development. In this presentation, I address the questions: How are PMPs organized and employed? How is pop-up art, one type of PMP, leveraged as a form of civic engagement? How do PMPs connect to creative placemaking? To what extent do such political performances imbue change? How can planners influence and respond to this phenomenon? I discuss a national database of such activity then compare PMP art in four cities. I will discuss how diverse actors champion temporary revitalization tactics relying on partnerships to build capacity. PMP art moves beyond simple placemaking excelling as a form of urban communication and engagement. However, its long-term impact is unclear as is whether planners will embrace such alternative participation practices. My research shows PMP as a potential planning instrument connecting urban policy and community activism.

Reconnecting with the Community through Public Art
Rodney Gilbert, Yendor Productions; Maren Greathouse, Rutgers University; Perris Straughter, City of Newark

This presentation focuses on how public art in Newark, NJ connects neighborhoods to partners that they haven’t always felt an authentic connection to. Taking an in-depth look at partnerships created through mural-making that have bridged the gap between stakeholders invested in the city from government, higher education institutions, community based organizations, and local artists.

Placemaking via Community Design: Planning for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Presentation
Jason Hachadorian, Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities

This presentation explores a framework for developing a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Plan through a participatory Geodesign process, and then applying the framework in two urban Philadelphia watersheds. Specifically, the presentation discusses the process of using community design methods to develop site plans combining GSI and recreational and community-building assets. Both watersheds are considered “ultra-urban” and are subject to a number of environmental issues, including impaired water quality, ecological degradation, flooding, and poor stormwater management. These stormwater problems are created due to increased impervious cover, destruction of limited riparian buffers, widespread floodplain development, more frequent extreme precipitation events, extensive channelization and piping, higher peak flows, and increased runoff volumes. This presentation focuses on the process of using community design methods to address these dual functionalities through developing three site plans in three diverse Philadelphia neighborhoods. This project demonstrates how public input and community engagement can be used to develop placemaking projects. In total, approximately 80 people participated in the design charrettes, organized by the project team with the assistance of professional experts and three community-based organizations. This bottom-up approach was supported by an objective understanding of the communities, the quality of life of residents, and the long-term sustainability of the proposed projects. This presentation details the processes and outcomes of blending Geodesign and community design and collaborative partnerships to initiate and develop plans for placemaking projects. Such a process is expected to improve community involvement, ownership and empowerment, and environmental stewardship, and will be replicable in other urban areas.

Cairo’s Street M-ART Project: A Creative Placemaking Approach to Cairo’s Downtown Culture and Locality Presentation
Amira Mostafa Badran, The American University in Cairo, Egypt; Certification in Creative Placemaking Program, 2015

In the past few years, Egypt has witnessed major changes at social, political and physical levels. But the downside of revolutions are inevitable, the chaos, insecurity were a major consequence of the uprising. Although things are getting back in place in terms of politics and normal day to day activities, there has not been yet a revolution in the public physical space of Cairo. To regain the order, security and rekindle the revolutionary spirit and directing it to the public space in Cairo; to go back to the true purpose of the public space and how can we use it as part of our fair share in the country, exactly like the freedom, equality and fairness needed — these all spill and apply directly to using public space as a tool for cities’ development in all sects. Through history, El Azbakeya/Attaba Square area, located in the heart of downtown Cairo, has 5 witnessed and produced change and development of the city. This cultural and economic hub still holds great potential for a new reformed horizon. The research of the area inspired the idea of integration between a pop-culture of street vending, art, creativity, local potential, culture and economics to revive the area. With that thought present, an approach based on Creative Placemaking was soon to emerge and to guide the public space design as well as cultural and economic development of the area.

Skateboarding and Sewing Help Spark Revitalization in Camden, New Jersey Presentation
Kate Dowd, Drexel University

In 2014, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a development corporation in Camden, New Jersey, received a grant from the Kresge Foundation to use creative placemaking, public art, and design to help transform vacant and blighted areas of the city to be more livable and accessible. I worked in Camden on this pilot program called “Connect the Lots.” I wrote a thesis and conducted research on the necessity of arts and artists to the process of community revitalization. I conducted interviews and observed specifically how two artist projects’ created by Kathryn Scalavi and Public Workshop helped to improve communities in North Camden. From my direct observation of “Connect the Lots” I demonstrate the importance of artists with both high artistic and social goals in mind to be included in the conversation of city and community development as well as new placemaking initiatives. Since this was a pilot program I will briefly highlight what were the positives and what we some of the negatives for a project of this size and scope, including community engagement, stakeholder relationships, and evaluating outcomes.

Arts as the Driver for Innovative, Award-Winning Cultural, Economic and Community Transformation: Shreveport Common
Wendy Benscoter, Shreveport Common; Certification in Creative Placemaking Program Instructor

The principles of Creative Placemaking have guided an Arts-led revitalization of an urban area to a vibrant, creative cultural district that is dedicated to deep and imaginative community engagement and “no displacement!” Now $40M complete of a $100M portfolio of public/private projects, this community-changing project was recently named the 2015 6 Outstanding Community Development Project by the National Development Council, the 2014 Innovations and Solutions Winner by the National Association of Counties, and the “Poster Child for Creative Placemaking” by former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman. The presentation will feature images of innovative and transformational community, cultural and economic development in a formerly un-named 9-block area that was a blighted chasm between Shreveport’s designated HUD Choice Neighborhoods and the downtown business district.

Growth of Freelance Artists in New Jersey: Implications for Community and Economic Development Presentation
Leonardo Vazquez, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking

How can arts and artists contribute to compact, sustainable communities? This presentation explores the growing numbers of freelance artists, writers and performers throughout New Jersey and discusses how this growth can affect development patterns and quality of life in communities throughout the state.

 

Thank You To Our Hosts

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Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors

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