The course will explore the practice of creative placemaking, one of the most important contemporary cultural policies for urban development. Placemaking refers to a wide range of projects—developing new or repurposed buildings, designating cultural districts, designing streetscapes, and encouraging cultural activities that contribute to greater urban vitality and a distinctive sense of place.
In this course, we will combine reading, discussion, and research with a final client-based, group project. We will begin by looking at the current research on cultural placemaking, with an eye toward methods and frameworks for evaluating the success of arts-based placemaking projects. We will then look at successful (and less succesful) case studies, evaluating federal, state, and local public policy initiatives that are affecting creative placemaking at the local level. Finally, we will work with a client—the Six Corners Association, a local organization spearheading revitalization efforts in the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side—on a report that it can then use as a template for advocacy, grant-writing, and other development initiatives. The course readings and discussion will give students a shared language about creative placemaking; it will also provide a hands-on education in how these projects come to life, as well as a final group report that students can add to their portfolio of work.