Inventory assets, gain feedback, and craft a cultural plan
Decatur, Georgia was an early adopter of cultural arts master planning. The city began by conducting an inventory of its creative assets, and then holding focus groups with local citizens to determine what types of arts and culture people prioritized. As a result of responses in those focus groups, the city chose to prioritize emerging artists and participatory arts practices, and developed a cultural master plan to shape how it would do so. www.decaturga.com/index.aspx?page=154
Encouraging locals to incorporate arts and culture
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the region’s metropolitan planning organization, offers an Arts and Culture Toolkit. This roadmap is available for municipalities in and beyond Northeastern Illinois to incorporate arts and culture into their communities. The toolkit includes definitions, planning steps, case studies, external resources, and model regulatory language.
Developing more helpful indicators
While sites of culture can be mapped, it’s still a fairly two-dimensional picture of a region’s assets. Developing a more comprehensive set of indicators — while a more experimental approach at this point — can provide a fuller picture about those opportunities, who participates, and a region’s level of overall support. All of these together constitute a region’s cultural vitality according to The Urban Institute. 1
In a case study, the institute shows how leaders in the San Joaquin Valley of California have used cultural indicators to transform segments of Route 99 through freeway improvements and beautification efforts that point people towards arts and culture venues. www.urban.org/projects/cultural-vitality-indicators/caseexample.cfm
- The Creative City Network of Canada has a step-by-step cultural mapping toolkit designed to take you through the entire mapping process, from creating an inventory to drawing up and presenting your map.
- Americans for the Arts offers an overview of cultural planning and how to develop a cultural plan, with links to several examples and case studies.
- The Creative City Network of Canada offers a Cultural Planning Toolkit
— The toolkit includes an adaptable model and practical checklists for charting and tracking progress.
- Healthy City offers a Participatory Asset Mapping Toolkit for communities. http://communityscience.com/knowledge4equity/assetmappingtoolkit.pdf (pdf)
- Chapter 5 on page 40 and chapter 7 on page 57 have examples of this practice, though it’s still somewhat experimental and brings a new set of challenges as a more groundbreaking approach. www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/311392_Cultural_Vitality.pdf