Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange a success

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Nearly 50 creative placemakers from the world of arts, government and community affairs came to the first ever Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange to share their insights.  Intended to be a creative take on a scholarly conference, the event let participants explore the latest thinking in a new field that explores how best to make places better through arts and culture.

They gathered June 26 at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) in Newark, NJ.

Amira Badran, a recent graduate of the
Certification in Creative Placemaking program,
shares her proposal for reinventing a public
square in Cairo, Egypt.
In the morning, participants listened to a dozen presentations from a variety of scholars and practitioners from the United States and Egypt.  Among the presenters were graduates of the Certification in Creative Placemaking program.

Presenters explored a wide range of topics, from defining and measuring creative placemaking to the impacts of current initiatives.  Learn more about the presentations and see some of the presentation slides.

After lunch, participants toured the future home of Express Newark, a new arts center being developed by Rutgers University in the old Hahne & Co. building in downtown Newark.

Then they shared ideas in an Open Space conversation. Open Space lets participants choose and lead their own discussion topics.

Surveys after the event show that 100% of attendees found the conference informative and 95% found it enjoyable.  100% of respondents who participated in the Open Space conversations found it informative and enjoyable.  81% enjoyed and learned a lot in the walking tour.  85% said there was enough time for networking.

The event was produced by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, in partnership with SPAA, The Ohio State University City and Regional Planning program, and the Rutgers University Newark Department of Arts, Culture and Media.  Several organizations sponsored the event, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, the Rutgers Newark Department of Arts, Culture and Media, and  the Ohio State University City and Regional Planning program. SPAA donated the building and staff time to support the program.
Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange participants in an
Open Space conversation