Week 10a–Creative placemaking helps to improve the city recilience

The bridge, Bethelehem, PA (Paul Warchol)

Facing different levels of industrial decay in the urban area, many developed cities need to find new ways to renew their community. And creative placemaking can help them to rebuild the social resilience, which is aiming at engaging the arts in community activities and placemakings. (Jason Schupbach, 2015)

The science of how to do the technical parts of community development is well understood – how to build water infrastructure, housing units, transportation systems – but we as community development officials have forgotten about the ‘people’ part of the equation. (Ben Hecht, 2015)

West Dance JAM (Los Angeles County Arts Commission)

What is creative placemaking? Creative placemaking seeks to help communities develop a stronger sense of identity, building on native cultural assets to create more cohesive, healthy, and resilient places. The deliberate integration of arts and culture into community development work brings arts organizations and artists to the table, helping to design land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. There are typically 5 ways to engage the arts in resilience:

  1. Engage artists to rethink infrastructure.
  2. Use public art, public space, and cultural facilities to build community cohesion.
  3. Use graphic design as a community visioning tool.
  4. Map cultural assets to truly understand your community before planning starts.
  5. Urban gardening + Folk arts = new entrepreneurial activities

Successful use of creative placemaking requires making the people part of the resilience equation work. To do this, cities have to treat creatives with the same gravity afforded other community development assets and colleagues. We have seen that cities that that pay more attention to creative placemaking find their interventions have a more balanced, holistic approach that brings the projects to the very stakeholders they seek to benefit, truly promoting city resilience.

FIG.3 LA Mural (Los Angeles County Arts Commission)

FIG.4 People enjoying new art (Mark Demko)


Jason Schupbach, 2015, ‘Five Ways to Engage the Arts in Resilience’, viewed 26 May 2015, <http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/five-ways-to-engage-the-arts-in-resilience#/-_Yz5jJmg%2FMSd1PWI%3D/>

Jason Schupbach, 2015, ‘Putting the Arts to Work for City Resilience: Creative Placemaking’, viewed 26 May 2015, <http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/putting-the-arts-to-work-for-city-resilience-creative-placemaking#/-_/&gt;



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