Friday, April 26, 2013

Seeking input: Inventory of opportunity areas for arts and cultural investment in North Jersey and Jersey Shore

By Leonardo Vazquez

PlanSmart NJ and The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking are developing an inventory of 'opportunity areas' for arts and cultural investment in North Jersey and the Jersey Shore. Opportunity areas are underutilized buildings or lots of at least 30,000 square feet in communities that demonstrate support for creative placemaking. 
This is to inform a regional sustainability plan for Together North Jersey.  But as importantly, we hope that it will help guide new investment that can enhance community and economic development in the 13-county region.  This region includes the following counties:  Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

If you are a property owner, broker, or have special knowledge of any opportunity areas in the Together North Jersey region, we would appreciate your taking a few minutes to complete the survey:

For more information, please contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or 973-763-6352

Friday, April 19, 2013

Louisiana adopts community coaching to promote creative placemaking

By the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana and Leonardo Vazquez
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is announcing the Louisiana Creative Communities Initiative, a program created to assist communities in reaching cultural and economic development goals. Civic leaders in the ten selected communities have been paired with an experienced coach to participate in a six-month training and planning process, after which the communities are eligible to receive a small grant to help implement their plans.
The 10 communities’ proposed projects include creating arts markets, transforming bus stops into public art and creating local arts organizations.  Each community is working with at least one coach for six months through a program called community coaching.  The coaches were trained by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, which also created the community coaching program.

“The arts and culture contribute significantly to our communities, our citizens and our cultural economy. We are pleased to support this new concept of community coaching to enhance the economies and create jobs in several communities throughout the state,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said.

The program is designed to assist communities in developing strategy to promote cultural tourism, taking advantage of the growing creative economy and becoming more welcoming to the arts.

The 10 communities selected are as follows:
·         Mid City Baton Rouge
·         Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana
·         Minden
·         Mandeville
·         Washington
·         Houma Downtown Cultural District
·         Corridor des Arts (Sunset, Grand Coteau and Arnaudville)
·         Monroe Riverside Cultural District
·         Monroe Chamber of Commerce
·         Plaquemine

The Louisiana Creative Communities Initiative is made possible through a partnership between the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development and the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation. For more information on the Creative Communities Initiative, visit

For more information on community coaching, please contact Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, at or 973-763-6352

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ohio State University and NCCP team up to offer nation's first graduate certification program in creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez

Ohio State University’s city and regional planning program will be offering a certification in creative placemaking this summer.  The certification, which will be offered online, is designed and directed by Leonardo Vazquez, a leader in creative placemaking and continuing education for placemaking professionals.

The Certification in Creative Placemaking is the first program of its kind in the United States to offer graduate credit.  It combines six graduate modules segments that students can participate in at their convenience with 10 videoconference sessions focused on entrepreneurial leadership.  Each participant can also work on a real creative placemaking project during the program, and have a valuable product to share with decisionmakers in their community.

Instructors will include some of the top experts and practitioners in the emerging field of creative placemaking.  The initiative director, Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP, is a national award-winning urban planner who founded Arts Build Communities at Rutgers University and is now the Executive Director of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  It is a new offering by the City and Regional Planning Section of the Knowlton School of Architecture, which has been a pioneer and leader in online education for planning professionals.

The program runs from August 2013 to May 2014.  Those who complete the full program will get a Certification in Creative Placemaking from OSU’s City and Regional Planning Section.    

You can take the program for credit or noncredit.  Noncredit tuition -- which allows you to earn the certification but not graduate credit -- is $3,000 for the entire certification, and there is no requirement to travel to Columbus for the program.  Degree-seeking students can take this program as a set of two three-credit courses.  Learn more about fees if taking the program for graduate credit.

Most of the reading materials will be provided free in the classroom. There will be a graduation ceremony in Columbus in June 2014.  

The six “deep learning” modules cover such topics as community development, economic development, analysis for creative placemaking, building the capacity of community residents to lead creative placemaking, site planning and cultural tourism.

The program is open to anyone, but is designed for artists, arts administrators and other cultural professionals, architects, landscape architects, public administration professionals, urban planners or anyone working in community and economic development. Undergraduate OSU students must get special permission from the program director to take any 3-modules  for credit.

The program website will be open soon. Registration will begin by June 1.  For more information, please contact Leonardo Vazquez at or 973-763-6352