ATLANTA—Creative placemaking can help planners focus on collaborations and community needs rather than the resource challenges they may face in meeting their community goals, according to a recent study co-authored by Georgia State University nonprofit expert Mirae Kim.
The study examines the impact of creative placemaking, a type of arts-led planning that taps into arts, culture and creative initiatives to implement change in a community.
Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Management & Policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, co-authored the study with Jamie Levine Daniel of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. It is forthcoming in the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs.
Creative placemaking “intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creative initiatives to implement changes in communities,” according to the authors. It is a grassroots approach that contributes to a community’s livability and economic health by addressing public safety, aesthetics, infrastructure and design. If successful, creative placemaking can attract spending that contributes to local tax revenue.
For the study, they conducted surveys before and after an Indiana Arts Commission-sponsored workshop that brought people from diverse backgrounds together to facilitate community development and engagement through creative placemaking.
“Artists have not always been part of the conversation around social, economic and community goals, although creative placemaking has been on the rise in the past 10 years,” said Kim. “Planners and artists don’t always know how to talk to each other. However, our study shows that when artists are involved, it makes a difference: the stakeholders’ focus shifts from external, resource-based challenges to initiating collaborations and being more responsive to the community.”
Earlier studies of creative placemaking have identified the challenges of forging partnerships across sectors, particularly the need to attract buy-in from the private sector as well as the general public. Kim and Levine Daniel argue that their study’s results suggest intentional intervention led by local government as well as arts and cultural leaders can make it easier to overcome such challenges.
Short interventions like the workshop they studied can educate communities through what they reveal about creative placemaking and its ability to foster collaborations, especially those communities that already have an interest in this strategy but need additional nudges. Using the language of economic development is one way stakeholders can demonstrate the value of creative placemaking.
And finally, their findings suggest that not only is incorporating the artistic community in the planning process important to a successful outcome, so too is building partnerships across all sectors of government.
Story by Alison Tryer
Department of Public Management & Policy
Mirae Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She holds a master’s degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and a doctoral degree in public management from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University. From 2014 to 2017, She was an assistant professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she initiated the Nonprofit Organization Research Panel (http://norpanel.org) project.