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The Waterfront BlogCreative Placemaking: The Arts

Creative Placemaking: The Arts

It’s an exhilarating experience when art and culture intervene with placemaking communities.  These components of creative placemaking can add value to many aspects of the built environment, including even the transportation systems, public spaces, stormwater management systems, and other lesser celebrated site aspects. Creative placemaking is both a component of a healthy, resilient, equitable, thriving community and a strategy to help create one. A goal that The Waterfront is in high gear working to achieve.

Research shows that creative placemaking provides triple-bottom-line benefits— social, environmental, and financial — for residents, visitors and the developing community. Anecdotally, it can be seen that communities enjoy enhanced health, well-being, and shared growth economic outcomes. Local governments see gains in local commerce growth that allow them to enhance community services, as well as employment growth and improved public safety.

It’s imperative to support and sustain a robust arts and cultural environment at The Waterfront. It makes good business sense to integrate creative placemaking with other development best practices from the start of—and throughout—the project lifecycle. Looking at other site developments with a healthy platform of creativity helps inspire, but also shows what a successful arts environment can do for the health of a thriving community.

Here are some examples of successful arts & cultural integration with development planning.

Houston Street, San Antonio 

Photo Credit | Centro San Antonio

Houston Street in San Antonio has long been overshadowed by the San Antonio River Walk — the place to go for food, scenic strolls, art, and entertainment. But things are changing on Houston Street. This part of San Antonio’s historic downtown Center City is undergoing a transformation representing over $1 billion of development. The site also hosts a number of chalk street artists in residence. This area is filled with eye candy.


Library Square, Salt Lake City 

Photo Credit | Art & Conflict

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, speaking at a mayor’s roundtable hosted by the Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use at ULI’s 2018 Spring Meeting in Detroit, said she wants her home to be known as an art and cultural city. And, thanks to local tax programs Salt Lake City is quickly becoming a mecca for artists and culture seeking visitors.


Miami Beach, Miami

Photo Credit | Conde Nast

Miami Beach has branded itself as an art city. It is also at the forefront of municipalities coping with the need to improve their resilience in the face of rising sea-water and severe storms. In addition to dealing with such critical needs detracting from the city’s celebrated artistic flair, Miami Beach is repositioning its arts and culture strategy.  The developers responsible for the renaissance are seeking local artists to improve the areas quality of life and compete for new residents and businesses.


Camden, New Jersey

Photo Credit | Inspiring City

The Camden street art scene, so vibrant for the past few years, found a new center of gravity following the massive redevelopment of the area around what was formerly the Camden Lock Market. Once known for its street art sheds, the area of land on either side of the railway arches running along Water Lane is no longer accessible as the bulldozers have moved in and started to clear the space. It was something that had long been on the cards and so in the intervening few years the area had become a playground for street artists as they came from all around the World to add their mark to the burgeoning popularity of Camden as a cultural destination.


Detroit, Michigan

Photo Credit | Michigan Radio

In a city like Detroit, urban art and outdoor art installments have become a way to beautify neglected spaces. The alleyway between the Z Garage, called The Belt is one of the most recent spots in Detroit to get a facelift — it has been turned into an outdoor gallery where international, national, and local urban artists have contributed murals and graffiti pieces. The urban redevelopment surrounding the art installments were almost in essence spurred by the art first. Amazing.


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