December 31 2012

A Creative Approach to Community Building via Creative CityMaking Initiative in Minneapolis, Minnesota

The arts have always been an important mechanism of integration and a valuable tool in community-based building, particularly in urban and diverse settings. Economically based studies indicate that the arts are a secure investment for urban centers and are habitually supported and championed by the community in times of both economic growth and fiscal difficulty.

Intermedia Arts, a catalyst in the development of art-based approaches, by building an understanding among people through solving social, economic and political issues in urban communities, carries the slogan Art. Changes. Everything. Through this initiative, it sets out to do just that: foster community change via people-centered approaches and community engagement to create vibrant urban places. In partnership with the City of Minneapolis’ CPED – Planning Division, Creative CityMaking is undertaking the creative collaboration between local artists and urban planners in order to examine the impact on “placemaking, vibrancy, and community change.” Through the selection and pairing of 4 local artists/city planners, the project seeks to develop an original and fresh approach for “addressing the long-term transportation, land use, economic, environmental, and social issues facing Minneapolis, Minnesota.”

The initiative, which is made possible with the support from ArtPlace, contains four key ingredients as pointed out in this graphic, including: Artists, Community Voice, Neighborhood Organizations, and City Plans.

Based on the overall initiative, the main GOALS (taken from the Creative CityMaking website) are to:

  1. Develop new creative strategies for community planning;
  2. Create a laboratory and learning environment for artists and City staff;
  3. Increase artists’ and planners’ ability to facilitate community change;
  4. Provide new tools for community engagement and working with under-represented communities;
  5. Document and communicate lessons learned.

The approach of utilizing the arts and local artists as a tool to increase the understanding of social issues in urban and diverse communities, will give more people the sense of trust and ownership in changes occurring in their own neighborhoods, and more importantly, will provide an incentive to become directly involved and have their voices be heard. The Creative CityMaking initiative sets out to accomplish just that via people-centered approaches to community development and placemaking.

Nonetheless, the arts have proven to be more than just a minor player in community development and are a valuable approach in recognizing identity, culture, and tradition on a local scale; resulting in successful bottom-up community building. Do you agree with this approach and in what ways have the Arts become successful catalysts for Economic Development in your community?

Credits: Image by author. Graphic courtesy of Intermedia Arts. Data linked to sources.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 31st, 2012 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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