Monday, February 8, 2016

Creative placemaking plan developed by NCCP wins statewide award

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The field of urban planning is recognizing creative placemaking and Community Coaching.

Creative Perth Amboy, a plan for the New Jersey city developed by The National Consortium for
Perth Amboy Creative Team members create their plan
(Photo courtesy: Noelle Jimenez Zaleski)
Creative Placemaking, got the 2016 Outstanding Plan - Municipal award from the American Planning Association New Jersey chapter.  The award was given to the City of Perth Amboy at the NJAPA's conference on Friday, January 29.

Creative Perth Amboy seeks to enhance the downtown and waterfront areas and revitalize the working-class Gateway neighborhood through arts and culture.  Connecting both community prosperity and social equity, the plan aims to bring more resources to the city through cultural tourism and help residents and local artists benefit from the new opportunities they bring.

The plan was made possible with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, the New Jersey Recovery Fund (a collaborative initiative of several New Jersey foundations) and the City of Perth Amboy.   The City partnered with the Jewish Renaissance Foundation in developing the plan.

Besides the document, the planning process has led to a catalog of properties that could be suitable for arts-related uses, a new Perth Amboy Arts Council, and a new festival in May that highlighted the city's waterfront and local artists.  The catalog was developed by Nishuane Group, an NCCP partner.

The plan was developed through Community Coaching, a planning model created by NCCP to help build plans and the stewardship to turn those ideas into action.  For about a year, a team of about 20 to 30 Perth Amboy residents and other stakeholders met every three to four weeks to explore social, economic and cultural issues in the city -- and how arts and culture could address those issues.  Team members met with other stakeholders in the city and held public dialogues.  Among those actively participating in this effort were City Council President Lisa Nanton (pictured above, standing at left) and city planners Leigh Anne Hindenlang and Andrew Toth.  NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez, along with former Program Associate Denisse Ortiz, coached the team and packaged their ideas into a robust, comprehensive plan.

To get a copy of the plan, please contact Perth Amboy Director for the Office of Community and Economic Development Leigh Ann Hindenlang by email or at 732-826-0290 ext 4028

For more information about the plan or about Community Coaching, please contact NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez at or at 973-763-6352

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