Monday, December 22, 2008

Creative Cities and the New Economy

During the 20th century America's economy developed around key characteristics that drove growth - efficiency, productivity and flexibility. Today, as we move into the New Economy, creativity becomes the central driving force.

New technology and the internet have accelerated change and has put creativity at the center of success for the public and private sector as we undergo this transition. Innovators in business have sped up the process of introducing new ideas and more efficient ways of doing business in the economy. As with the case in business, success for cities will depend on creativity. "Creative Cities" will be home to innovative businesses and organizations and the individuals who direct and propel them. Ideas and innovation are capital in the new economy.

Charles Landry, Author of The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators, writes, “Cities have one crucial resource – their people. Human cleverness, desires, motivations, imagination and creativity are replacing location, natural resources and market access as urban resources. The creativity of those who live in and run cities will determine future success.”

Urban Assets in the New Economy
Without a doubt today’s economy differs from the old manufacturing-centered economy. Today’s economy is focuses on a world view. Landry further states; “The maturing of the globalized network of cities and its connected competitive drive has led cities to change dramatically over the last 20 years. In this new global dynamic, all cities, small and large, need to reassess and rethink their role and positioning – regionally, nationally and globally. This challenges cities to think their opportunities and problems with ingenuity and to review their assets – or lack of them. ”

Today, ingenious, creative cities want to move up the value chain and become a central hub of wealth creation by exporting, yet controlling from a distance, low-cost activities while attracting high-value ones to themselves. These activities include research and knowledge creation centers, headquarters, advanced manufacturing or cultural and artistic creativity.

Ambitious cities succeed when they blend the dynamics of attraction, retention, resources and talent. These cities are moving from an “urban engineering” approach to urban development, to a ‘creative city-making’ approach.

Creating an Attractive Place to Live and Work
Core characteristics of communities, including density and diversity, have become attractive to young workers, “the creative class”, and to older baby boomers in the revitalization of cities. These characteristics include:
Magnets for visitors- Cities are taking advantage of the tremendous expansion in the areas of tourism and recreation. Today, successful communities are leveraging urban and cultural / artistic amenities to create exciting destinations.
Regeneration of the economic base – Many cities have realized that their choices are not limited to high tech or low tech, new tech or old tech. Many have worked to innovate and produce improvements in productivity incorporating advanced technology in older business sectors.
Poised to seize new economic opportunities – Not limited to well known areas such as Silicon Valley, cities around the country are developing high tech sectors by attracting companies and stimulating the creation of new ones. They are leveraging their strengths in research and educational institutions and incubators to support the birth and growth of innovative enterprises.

Cities have one crucial resource – their people. Human innovation, imagination and creativity are replacing location, resources and market access as urban resources. Successful cities seem to have similar attributes in common – visionary individuals, creative organizations and a political culture sharing clarity of purpose.

A strong cultural perspective is crucial to the success of urban planning and one that can shape urban change alone is unites divisions across disciplines, institutions, and public, private and voluntary sectors.

Creativity is the new currency. Entertainment, culture, and art contribute to the reinvention of the community, creating a destination location and a sense of place for its citizens and the “new economy” companies that are relocating to creative cities.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sharing a Vision for the Future of Your Community

Now, more than ever, art is becoming a dominant force in our lives. It inspires us in our world. Art brings a fresh outlook to the individual and affirms the goodness in our lives and communities. I believe that art not only contributes significantly to the beauty and vitality

“America’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year.*”

of a community but its economy as well. Public arts programs bring a community together, provide a tourist destination and is an engine to economic development.
My experience as an artist, community leader and business woman places me in a unique position to assist you in your efforts to develop and maintain a public arts program.
In 2005 I founded LAFTA, the Lampasas Association for the Arts of which I’m president. My vision of a sculpture garden for the city was realized then and I continue to work with the city and county to provide public arts programs to assist in the economic development of our region.
I’ll assist you with your goal of creating a community that arts visitors want to come back to over and again because of its vitality, making your city a magnet for a more “creative class” of workers and the corporations that employ them. Studies show that communities that take this new and bold approach to repositioning arts and culture as an economic engine are successful.

*Information courtesy of Arts & Economic Prosperity III,
by Americans for the Arts Foundation

Is Your City a Creative Community?

A powerful new movement is going on in America's cities as we redefine our personal and spiritual values and the communities in which we live. In today's business, political, social and creative environment a quantum change is occurring. Forward-thinking communities realize the importance of public art and culture's contributions to not only its citizens but its economic well-being too.

Benefits of Art and Culture Programs

1) Unites communities
Public art programs engage people of all ages and abilities to foster dialogue within communities and present art in innovative ways. These programs promote partnerships within the community and build bridges between people.

2) Enhances civic pride
Public art represents many things to many people but the bottom line is; how does it reflect the quality of life? In towns and cities where public art is established citizens feel pride in their community because it makes a statement about their unique heritage and identity.

3) Helps provide educational experiences
Public arts and cultural programs can be utilized to help fill the gap in cuts to educational funding. Student tours, art and performance art projects and student interaction in the process of creating art enriches the community at large.

4) Creates a tourist destination
The arts and culture industry leverages a significant amount of event-related spending by its audiences. Attendance at arts events generates related commerce for local businesses such as restaurants, parking garages, hotels and retail stores. By creating cultural hubs, nonprofit arts businesses help cities define themselves, draw tourists and attract investment.

5) Attracts businesses that employ the “creative class”
Creative workers and the industries that employ them locate in creative hubs, which become economically supercharged. These hubs become magnets for visitors, and the ripple effect of this builds vitality across all economic sectors.

6) Involve disenfranchised ethnic groups
Public art can also reflect the character of ethnic groups in your community. Programs that celebrate cultural heritage can bring all citizens together, building better understanding and a more culturally rich community.

7) Creates a fundraising source within the community
Public art and culture programs can be effectively used as fundraising tools that can unite the community, provide media coverage and help fund educational programs, art grants and new programs.

8) Provides an engine for economic development
Once struggling communities throughout the country are reinventing and rebuilding themselves by investing in art and culture - a proven catalyst for growth and economic prosperity.