Thursday, September 18, 2014

Creative placemaking certification program has record enrollment and diversity

By Leonardo Vazquez

A public official from Christchurch, New Zealand.  A planner and nonprofit executive from Manila, The Philippines.  Five planners from Los Angeles County, California.  A community artist in Brattleboro, Vermont.  A Master of Business Administration candidate at The Ohio State University.

These are some of the 25 students in this year’s Certification in Creative Placemaking program.  They represent the largest and most diverse class since the program started at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School in Fall 2013.

This unique and challenging 10-month program helps students think broadly and deeply about creative placemaking, build their leadership skills, and practice creative placemaking planning and analysis.  

To get their certification, students:
·         Complete 6 ‘deep learning’ courses in topics such as community development, economic development, capacity building, site planning and destination marketing;
·         Participate in 8 to 10 entrepreneurial leadership sessions, where they explore cost-effective and ethical ways to influence individuals and groups, build alliances, and work in diverse environments.
·         Develop a creative placemaking plan or evaluate existing creative placemaking efforts in a community of their choice.

“The group is amazing,” said Audrey Stefenson, an AmeriCorps Member with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area who joined the program this year, “(Instructor) Tom (Borrup) has been incredibly engaging and helpful, and the progression of topics has been very helpful, yet challenging. I'm learning a ton! I particularly enjoy learning from such a diverse group of people.”

Graduate students and continuing education students work alongside one another (virtually, since the
program is entirely online.)  They read the same scholarly materials and engage each other in instructor-led conversations.  Students also learn from one another.

Instructors are experts in the growing field of creative placemaking. They include Borrup, a nationally-known consultant and author of The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook and Juana Guzman, who is known for development cultural tourism in non-traditional communities.

The Certification program is a joint production of the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning program and The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  Registration is closed for this year’s program, but it will be offered again next year.


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