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.
“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.
“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?
“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.
“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.
“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.