Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Louisiana Creative Communities Initiative highlighted by NASAA

By Leonardo Vazquez

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has highlighted the Louisiana Creative Communities Initiative in its July newsletter.

LCCI is an innovative approach to creative placemaking.  The program, designed and directed by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, provides coaches to 10 communities that want to enhance their communities and local economies through arts and culture.  The coaches are all Louisiana residents -- many of them from the arts and public affairs communities -- who were trained by NCCP.

LCCI is produced by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development.

NCCP supporting public health through training in community planning

Protecting public health is one of the driving forces of urban planning.  The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking is pursuing this goal in a distinct way.  We are teaching community planning skills to New Jersey officials working on substance abuse and behavioral health issues in their counties.

On behalf of the Rutgers University School of Social Work, with support from the New Jersey State Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, NCCP is producing the Community Based Planning Certificate.  This program offers 30 directors and coordinators training and development in:

*Data collection and use,
*Community engagement,
*Cost-effective evaluation, and
*Presenting plans to the public

The participants are required to create long-range county comprehensive plans for alcohol and substance abuse prevention in 2014.  This program is also an opportunity for the participants to learn leadership skills, so they can be better persuade fellow county officials and the public to promote public health.

NCCP gets continuing support from Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts

By Leonardo Vazquez 

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking has received $20,000 in grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  This is a great show of support for our work in creative placemaking.

"We have been impressed by Leo Vazquez's determination to build a national reputation for the organization, while simultaneously developing model demonstration projects in New Jersey," Dodge Foundation President & CEO Chris Daggett said in the award letter.

The support of the Dodge Foundation and the State Council on the Arts will be used to help make New Jersey both a laboratory and model for high-quality creative placemaking in the United States.

Over the next few months, we will be working on developing conferences and other events to build the creative placemaking community, conducting more research on creative placemaking activities in New Jersey, and providing thought leadership to promote better policies.

For more information on The National Consorti

East Orange Planning Board to hear plan to revitalize city through its parks and open spaces

By Leonardo Vazquez

A plan to revitalize East Orange NJ through its parks and open spaces will be presented to the City’s planning board on August 7.  The plan includes public art strategies to promote safety and navigation, as well as East Orange’s diverse cultural heritage.
Proposal for deck park between City Hall and Public Library

The Park Master Plan is East Orange’s most comprehensive effort to date in using parks to promote community and local economic development.  Some of the key ideas in the plan include:

  • Creating a ‘deck park’ over what is now part of Interstate 280 between City Hall and the main branch of the East Orange Public Library.  More than a new open space, the deck park would help reconnect parts of the city that were scarred by the construction of the highway in the 1960s.  The deck park would also include an outdoor performance space.
  • Physical improvements and upgrades to all the parks in the city.
  • Creating ‘friends of the parks’ groups, which would be government-community partnerships to help maintain improvements to the parks.  These friends groups may also become the foundation for new civic leadership in the City.
  • Development of greenways and ‘artways’ (streets with a larger share of public art) to promote safer walking and bicycling between open spaces.
  • The use of public art in parks that helps promote East Orange’s recent history and current culture.

The plan was created by a team led by Philadelphia landscape architects Wells Appel  and that includes Nishuane Group.  Leonardo Vazquez, the Executive Director of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, is also a Senior Associate with the Montclair, NJ-based Nishuane Group
and led public outreach for the plan.  He also developed several of the creative placemaking strategies in the plan. 
City residents prioritizing issues at one of several public engagement sessions

The East Orange Planning Board meets 7 pm August 7, at East Orange City Hall, 44 City Hall Plaza.

You can learn more about the project at the East Orange Parks Plan Facebook page