New from Tom Borrup: The Power of Culture in City Planning

The Power of Culture in City Planning focuses on human diversity, strengths, needs, and ways of living together in geographic communities. The book turns attention to the anthropological definition of culture, encouraging planners in both urban and cultural planning to focus on characteristics of humanity in all their variety. It calls for a paradigm shift, re-positioning city planners’ “base maps” to start with a richer understanding of human cultures. Borrup argues for cultural master plans in parallel to transportation, housing, parks, and other specialized plans, while also changing the approach of city comprehensive planning to put people or “users” first rather than land “uses” as does the dominant practice. Available for Pre-order...

“Tom has written one of the most thoughtful books on how to think, plan and act culturally. This helps us reimagine how to create great cities that go with the grain of who they are and their local distinctiveness. And that in the end gives them strength and personality” -Charles Landry (inventor of the creative city concept, one of leading thinkers on cultural planning, and author of The Creative City and The Art of City Making)

The Routledge Handbook of Placemaking

Edited By Cara Courage, Tom Borrup, Maria Rosario Jackson, Kylie Legge, Anita Mckeown, Louise Platt, and Jason Schupbach

This Handbook is the first to explore the emergent field of ‘placemaking’ in terms of the recent research, teaching and learning, and practice agenda for the next few years. Offering valuable theoretical and practical insights from the leading scholars and practitioners in the field, it provides cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on the placemaking sector. It consists of 45 chapters by contributors from across the world. This seminal Handbook offers a timely contribution and international perspectives for the growing field of placemaking. It will be of interest to academics and students of placemaking, urban design, urban planning and policy, architecture, geography, cultural studies, and the arts. Available for Pre-order...

Articles, Papers, and Book Chapters

Authored by Tom Borrup during the past few years these articles, papers, and book chapters help define the emerging field of creative community building. His writing will deepen your understanding and challenge your thinking about the work you do. If you’re a practitioner in community development or the arts, these articles will help put your work in a broader context, and hopefully help you push your work to new levels of effectiveness.
  • Forthcoming Book: The Power of Culture: City Planning in the 21st Century, Routledge, 2020; advocates city planners adopt some practices of cultural planning for more just communities.
  • Forthcoming Book Chapter: Artists Creativity and the Heart of City Planning, in The Placemaking Handbook, Cara Courage, editor, Routledge, 2021; history and role of artists as facilitators in city planning
  • Cultural Planning at 40: The Community Turn in the Arts, Journal of Urban Culture Research, a study of cultural planning in the United States with direct comparisons to a similar study conducted in 1994, 2019.
  • Creative Disruption in the Arts—Special Issue Introduction, Guest Editor, Journal of Arts Management Law and Society, Taylor & Francis, 2018.
  • How to do Creative Placemaking”, published by the National Endowment for the Arts, releasing December 6, is a compendium of instructive essays by over two dozen leaders in the field. A chapter by Tom Borrup entitled Stitching It Together: Community Planning as Creative Act reflects on both theory and practice of artist-led planning activities as new tools for planners to foster dialog and problem-solving across race, class, and other differences.
  • “Equity and Resilience: Planning and Developing Horizontal Networks through Cultural Districts”, Chapter in: The Rutledge Handbook of Community Development: Perspectives From Around the Globe, edited by Sue Kenny, Brian McGrath and Rhonda Phillips, 2018.
  • “Creative Placemaking: Arts and Culture as a Partner in Community Revitalization”, Chapter in: Arts and Cultural Management: Critical and Primary Sources, edited by Ellen Rosewall and Rachel Shane. Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.
  • “Just Planning: What has Kept the Arts and Urban Planning Apart?” Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Vol. 6, Issue 2. pp. 46-57, 2017.
  • “Just Planning: Can Cultural Planning Help Build More Equitable Cities?" GIAreader, Grantmakers in the Arts: A Journal on Arts Philanthropy, Vol. 28, No. 3, Fall 2017.
  • “Creative Placemaking: Arts and Culture as a Partner in Community Revitalization” The emergence of placemaking and the recent and more multi-dimensional work of creative placemaking, popularized across the U.S. since 2010, are subject of this 10,000-word article. Commissioned as a chapter in the 6th Edition of Fundamentals of Arts Management, 2016, published by the University of Massachusetts Arts Extension Service, it includes examples from communities across the United States and explores benefits that can accrue when creative and civic sectors, together with planning and development sectors, expand their toolboxes and enter new kinds of partnerships.
  • “Protecting Cultural Space or Urban Re-colonization: When Do Cultural Districts Cross the Line?" The formation of arts and cultural districts or clusters may be organic or planned (or a hybrid) but often results in dislocation of those outside the district’s dominant cultural group or those without escalating economic capacity. Some districts primarily serve real estate interests; some propel local artists and creative enterprises; some protect space for community cultural expression and make life better for existing residents. Whether they evolve in ways that foster civic engagement and accrue political capital among a wide range of stakeholders determines the winners and losers. Published in the Journal of Urban Culture Research, Volume 11, 2015, this paper reviews six cultural districts in the United States, each at a different stage of a development continuum.
  • “Creativity in Urban Placemaking: Horizontal Networks and Social Equity in Three Cultural Districts" The phenomenon of cultural district formation in cities around the globe presents challenges and opportunities for leaders, planners, and managers. This Ph.D. research focused on cultural districts in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Miami. It found that strong social and organizational networks characterized by dense and active grassroots leadership were present at the same time as relative community stability and higher levels of social and economic equity. Where networks were weak, social and economic tensions were higher.
  • “Cultural Districts: Bottom-Up And Top-Down Drivers" This is one of five essays commissioned by Americans for the Arts spanning the intricacies of arts, entertainment, and cultural districts specifically for policymakers, arts leaders, planning professionals, community development practitioners, and others who are interested in developing new districts or adapting existing ones. This is part of the Natural Cultural Districts Exchange, 2014.
  • “Artists & Creativity in Urban Placemaking - Reflections on a Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District" In this article, published in The Journal of Urban Culture Research (JUCR), Volume 7 2013, I suggest that creative methods employed by artists can engage people of more diverse backgrounds and draw them more deeply into the analytical and visioning work of city planning. A Minneapolis case examines inclusion of a theater artist, choreographer, vocalist/songwriter and muralist in leadership of a district planning project that generates a richer analysis, more robust options, and greater sense of participant ownership through creative planning activities. The JUCR is published jointly by Chulalongkorn University, Thailand and Osaka City University, Japan. See full journal.
  • “Shaping a Creative Milieu: Creativity, Process, Pedagogy, Leadership, and Place" This paper surveys research in relation to the conditions and processes considered important in fostering creativity in a variety of contexts including cities, organizations and learning environments. Two established schools of the arts, and their leaders serve as case studies in the examination of milieu designed to foster creative thinking and work. The paper identifies ten characteristics found to be common in the formation of creative milieu by scholars in psychology, business, economics, anthropology, geography, leadership, urban studies, education, and the arts.
  • “Something Different Is Stirring: DIY Culture in Silicon Valley," In late 2008, Tom was asked by 1st ACT Silicon Valley to conduct an in-depth inventory and analysis of the formal cultural infrastructure of Silicon Valley and its core city, San Jose. Borrup and his team interpret the region's rapid change as a signal that Industrial Age models of cultural organization are either evolving or being left behind, replaced by new forms of organization, production and distribution.
  • “Creative City Fever: The 2010 City, Culture and Society Conference, Munich" Tom attended the Munich conference to hear experts from Singapore, Tokyo, Auckland, Toronto, Rotterdam and other world-class cities talk about unfolding creative-economy development and explored some vexing questions. Among them: Is the Creative city idea an opportune rationale for repositioning investment, or a smokescreen obscuring issues of social justice, environmental sustainability and real inclusion for all people?
  • “Cities, regions, even entire nations, are pursuing the Creative Economy. What can we learn from Singapore, Glasgow, and Ogulin" Is an article for Architecture Boston Posted in Vol 12 No 3 by bsaab on August 19, 2009.
  • “There's No Place Like Silicon Valley: An Emerging Cultural Ecosystem for the 21st Century", A Report on the Cultural Infrastructure of California's Silicon Valley By Creative Community Builders for 1st Act Silicon Valley. DRAFT July 1st, 2009
  • “The Creative Economy: Views from Abroad" thoughts on place, culture, creativity and economic livelihood for The Community Arts Network, January 2009.
  • “Up from the Roots: Re-examining the Flow of Economic and Creative Capital," thoughts on connections between informal arts practices and grassroots economic development, Grantmakers in the Arts READER, Summer, 2006. [Please note that the link to this article is a PDF that is 1MB. Right click or Control-Click to download the PDF.]
  • “The Creative Community Builder's Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts and Culture." This 280-page book assesses 20 arts-centered community development projects and provides a step-by-step guide to building economic, social, civic and physical infrastructure of communities through the arts. Commissioned by the McKnight Foundation. Includes case studies from urban, rural and suburban communities and best practices related to ten successful community building strategies. Fieldstone Alliance (formerly A.H. Wilder Foundation Publishing Center), St. Paul, MN and Partners for Livable Communities, Washington, DC, 2006.
  • “Thinking Outside the Cubicle? Does the 501(c)(3) Box Stifle Creativity in the Dot-com Era" Examining Maribel Alvarez' book, There's Nothing Informal About It: Participatory Arts Within the Cultural Ecology of Silicon Valley, this article explores similarities between informal arts and high-tech cultural, and how conventional arts institutions are letting down audiences, Community Arts Network, 2006.
  • “Fuel for the Creative Engine: Arts and the Economy," University of Massachusetts, Arts Extension Service, Fundamentals of Arts Management, text book chapter that summarizes the economic development strategies addressed in the Creative Community Builder's Handbook (see above), 2006.
  • “What's Revolutionary About Valuing Assets as a Strategy in Cultural Work," a description of how asset-based practices used by artists and cultural organizations relate to other community development practitioners, Community Arts Network, 2005.
  • “Culture as Community Connector," Progressive Planning, Fall 2005, a survey of arts organizations participating in active community transformation, and of research evaluating the effectiveness of these practices.
  • “The State of Film: Massachusetts Media Arts Organizations Grow a Community of Practice and the Practice of Community", National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Winter 2005. Borrup assesses the historic and contemporary role of storytellers in fueling an urban economy. In this article he looks at the significance of independent media artists in Boston and how they are organizing themselves to play a stronger role in the region's economy.
  • “Putting the Arts to Work in Neighborhoods: Creating Active Public Spaces," Ford Foundation Reports, Spring 2004, Page 40, a survey of how leading cultural organizations are working to revitalize their communities, and current research that is confirming their multiple impacts.
  • “Bigger Footprints: Building Shared Vision Around Mutual Goals," MAIN Newsletter, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, San Francisco, CA, Summer 2004; key issues raised during a three week on-line conversation on community engagement and the media arts.
  • “Creative Organizations: Putting Culture to Work in Community Development" This piece was written in October 2003 as a report to for The Role of Arts and Culture in Community Development Initiative of 'Active Public Space,' part of the Ford Foundation Asset Building and Community Development Program, and published on Community Arts Network in January, 2004.
  • “Urban Alchemy: In Search a Formula for the City of Tomorrow" A report on the Bruner/Loeb Symposium on Transforming Communities through the Arts, Chicago Cultural Center, November 14, 2003
  • “Taking it to the Bank: Unlocking Community Cultural Assets". A review of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else by Hernando DeSoto (Basic Books, 2000, 276 pp.)
  • “Administration of Cultural Democracy: Three Experiments," Community Arts Network, September 2003
  • “Aesthetics Are Crucial to a Walkable City," Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 2003
  • “The Dialectic of Community Arts Practice and Globalization, or Is This Parade Going the Wrong Way?" Community Arts Network, June 2003
  • “Toward Asset-Based Community Cultural Development: A Journey Through the Disparate Worlds of Community Building,"  Community Arts Network, April 2003
  • Case Study: “IFP-North and Media Artists Resource Center: An Experiment in Merger," A Closer Look, National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture, 2002
  • “Intermedia Arts: A Multicultural Home Away from Home," National Endowment for the Arts Web site, Lessons Learned: Case Studies, 1999" NEA Website