Strategies of creative placemaking in local economies: Results from the NEA Our Town program

Authors: James Murdoch*, 2M Research Services, Patricia Moore Shaffer, National Endowment for the Arts, Terry Nichols Clark, University of Chicago, Carl Grodach, Monash University, Daniel Silver, University of Toronto Scarborough
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: creative placemaking, arts, culture, community development, economic development, cultural policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cultural policy researchers have established evidence demonstrating links between the arts, artists, and cultural activity and positive economic and community change. In this context, several researchers examine how partnerships of planners, community developers, nonprofits, residents, and other actors implement “creative placemaking” in local communities to integrate arts and cultural activity in community development and realize the benefits of the arts. To date, however, work discussing when, how, and why intentional creative placemaking policy initiatives produce economic outcomes is limited. In this work, we address this gap and utilize a rich administrative data set from grantees of the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) creative placemaking grant program Our Town to understand the types of creative placemaking activities grantees utilize to produce economic change in local communities. The data, which comes from the grantee final reports delivered to NEA at the end of the Our Town grants, facilitates a typology of creative placemaking strategies and the identification of specific economic outcomes related to the strategies. The work is a strong first step toward adding nuance to theory on the benefits of arts-led planning and creative placemaking.

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