Creative Placemaking and Neighborhood Change

A white paper released by Kresge Foundation explores creative placemaking initiatives and the assessment of community development strategies. The latest white paper on creative placemaking, penned by Maria Rosario Jackson, makes the case on how the field could benefit from a more nuanced understanding of the roots of urban inequality, and improved ways of tracking change in communities.

The paper Rethinking Neighborhood Change and Tracking Progress offers ideas and critical needs as the field continues to develop through leaders, practitioners, philanthropy, and community members interested in building healthy, equitable communities.

Also, the paper makes the case that addressing urban inequality through creative placemaking practices requires a broader and more comprehensive approach, and an evolution in methods to track community impact.

The roots of urban inequality are multi-layered with factors including housing, employment, education and health among others. Public policies addressing these issues are typically poorly coordinated and constrained by systemic flaws in the institutions and practices designed to address them. Successful creative placemaking work will help overcome those shortcomings by addressing issues holistically at the individual, family and neighborhood levels.

Kresge Foundation’s creative placemaking grantees that operate in neighborhoods have in common "the focus on attempting to strengthen comprehensive approaches with arts, culture, and community-engaged design elements," explains the paper.

This involves activity such as the inclusion of artists, designers and culture-bearers in the crafting and implementation of community organizing, empowerment and visioning efforts; the creation of physical structures and changes in the built environment that are meaningful and beautiful; the
delivery of social services that are culturally relevant and appropriate; and the creation of businesses and other enterprises that tap into community imagination, talents, and heritage. As a result, approaches to community development build on the creativity and wisdom of residents, lift up cultural assets and are, in fact, even more comprehensive.

Read the paper here.

Image: Facebook/Pillsbury United Communities, a Minneapolis-based organization mentioned in this paper