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Developing Urban Arts Districts
 

Developing Urban Arts Districts

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Amanda Johnson's presentation from the...

Amanda Johnson's presentation from the

Penn Urban Doctoral Symposium

May 13, 2011

Co-sponsored with Penn’s Urban Studies program, this symposium celebrates the work of graduating urban-focused doctoral candidates. Graduates present and discuss their dissertation findings. Luncheon attended by the students, their families and their committees follows.

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  • Overlap = AED and urban revitalizationPolicy Momentum for AEDRenewed focus on arts and physical planningFueled by public, private, and third-sector initiativesDiversifying and strengtheningCurrent ResearchAgglomeration and behavior(Florida 2002; New England Council 2000; Evans 2004; Markusen and Schrock 2004; Rosario Jackson 2006 ; Stern and Seifert 2008; Currid 2008)Community stabilization, cultural participation and civic engagement (Moriarty 2004; Alvarez 2005; Markusen and Johnson 2006; Stern and Seifert 2008)Critical perspectives(Zukin 1982; Mele 2000; Lloyd 2005; Wolf Powers 2005)Urban redevelopment theory(Weiss 1991; Friedan and Sagalyn 1989; Fainstein 1994; Sagalyn 2001; Altshuler and Luberoff 2003; Birch 2005; Birch and Wachter 2009)ContributionScholarship: Putting the “D” back in AED through one type of districtPractice: Making viable/better policy choices in city buildingWhile there is powerful momentum around place-based district planning in the arts, there are significant controversies about whether it is a good investment as an economic development and/or planning strategy. Critics debate what kind of district, if any at all, to promote; how to upgrade older districts; whether the investment justifies the expense; what type of art or artist to support; what scale and building type to construct; where to place these locations; and if a city can have too many. They question whether economic developers should prioritize a different type of arts physical development (i.e. arts incubators) or another strategy entirely (i.e. creative economy initiatives). Moreover, at the most basic level, it is unclear if arts economic development in any of its manifestations is a good bet. Cut, this current research focuses on “Artists” or “Arts Economic Systems” in AED and the “D” or Development” has been left out. My work provide knowledge that specifically deals with development – through the lens of one type of arts district – AARD.In prior work, I conducted research to layout different types of districts based on a range of factors including economic motivation, design, and planning objectives. My talk today talks about one type – AARD – so as to create a better understanding of its use and evolution. AARD - revitalize urban areas by building and programming large performance and visual arts institutions in a circumscribed location through expending sizable resources, acquiring significant portions of land, and engaging in multi-sector collaboration.
  • My big question was whether AARD made sense as an arts economic development and urban revitalization policy. To answer this question, I had to look at whether AARD could meet economic development objectives (grow economic place, transform place, attract and recruit educated workers and residents, stimulate neighborhood development, and support sustainable development goals)., under what conditions AARDs emerge and adapt over 50 years (understand how districts form and what the implementation process looks like), and whether they are more suitable for some places than others. Comparative case analysis. Case study research supported by national scan of arts district activity. My criteria for case selection was AARDs that had gone through several phases of implementation, represented different geographies, market healths, and population sizes, and represented different ACAs.
  • The Shrinking City AARD features powerful third-party mobilization in the face of severe population decline and limited municipal support through long range planning, incremental opportunism, and plentiful resources. PCD's mobilization does not resemble the public-private partnerships found in many federal urban renewal and local redevelopment strategies; instead, it relied on a single sector where powerful civic leadership harnessed extensive political, financial, and regulatory resources to pursue AARD in a centralized manner. Thus, the Trust and the PCD narratives are interchangeable.
  • The Accidental AARD reveals fluctuating leadership engaged in a relay race to grow a single project in the CBD to a multi-mile AARD through combining independent arts projects and leveraging a robust arts ecology. The decentralized nature of mobilization spoke to the different tracks of AARD development: 1) top-down search for a new home for the Philadelphia Orchestra, 2) the grassroots efforts to build smaller community-based projects, and 3) the expansion by the University of the Arts. today is a marketing rather than a fully formed development strategy.
  • The Highly Planned AARD is a $1 billion 19 block district, with a mix of mega/big projects and historic preservation, that is 30-years old – an idea that came from Kevin Lynch to transform this office center into a more complete downtown. Details how sustained civic resolve overcame a weak arts ecology and 40 years of fits and starts to move arts facilities from a peripheral location to a downtown iconic district.
  • Incubator AARD: 74 acre strategy, built off of Seattle Center’s World’s Fair, that is slowly shrinking as it sells of its land to held fund operating costs. Its adjacent to the new Gates Foundation world headquarters, the Paul Allen-led South Lake Union development project, and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Narrates how a city-run AARD incubated a citywide arts ecology despite inconstant support and a planning culture that prioritized process over implementation.
  • Urban Renewal AARD: 12 acre site; in downtown Denver next to the Convention Center and the historic LoDo neighborhood. It emerged in the 1970s by the CEO of the Denver Post who used urban renewal funds to strengthen the city’s cultural identity. It is part of five districts: Cultural Taxing District, a Business Improvement District, a Theatre District, a 14th Street General Improvement District, and the former Urban Renewal Project Area. Describes how a traditional public/private partnership capitalized on urban renewal momentum to build an anti-urban performing arts AARD that is situated within five overlapping districts.
  • Different case histories yield common themes.AARDs are artifacts of citywide campaigns for development from the heyday of urban renewal that are now trying to become strategies for 21st century cities. Seek to transform place: Policymakers employ AARDs to "save" these cities as these cases coincided with urban renewal momentum to make cities more attractive, memorable, and competitive.Quest for re-invention on two levels: 1) initial re-invention and 2) today’s reinvention; what is the modern citySustainability: 1) urban arts anchors, 2) arts ecology, 3) linked to urban landscape   Anchor Rootedness in a city due to mission, sizable real estate holdings, and reliance on a diverse labor force, audiences and/or consumers that a city location supports. The AARD is an anchor because of its clustering attributes, and it also houses several important institutions that act as anchors as they are a key part of the AARD or are important to the economic life of the AARD. At the same time, it would be an imprudent move to focus on these select institutions but to think more broadly about the AARD and the different meanings that the "anchor" term encompasses (Arts educational facilities, small arts orgs). The AARDs largely provide facilities for institutions that act as anchors but in many instances, the arts organizations also anchor other communities. Many of these clusters provide performance homes but not administrative, rehearsal, or design space. Linked to the Urban Landscape Compared to most other economic development strategies, AARD has the ability to value beyond economic development but can participate in larger strategies for making cities interesting, memorable, and unique. AARD took on different design forms to further enhance its place within the city. Arts EcologyAARD mobilization appears simple and uncomplicated as each case involves philanthropic, public, and nonprofit support; however, it is complex and continually shifting. Motivations change over time in response to internal and external forces. The players and governing bodies (and their respective implementation methods) fluctuate and even sustained partnerships evolve in their respective roles. The cases show that AARD development requires collaboration to ensure implementation. Yet, despite these formal and informal partners, the mobilizers operate in a competitive environment with limited resources, which unearths important concerns about power and equity. Finally, these efforts are further complicated by the pressure of external forces.PRODUCT OF MOBAs these cases demonstrate, there are some places more suitable. It is not location, geography, or market health that determines AARD fit (although they do contribute); rather, it is mobilization that matters. The choices that AARD implementers make about design, governance, and location shape the ability for AARDs to respond to economic development and planning objectives; they can speed/slow the pace of development; and they can respond/become overwhelmed by powerful economic forces. These cases show that the decision to pursue AARD is reactive while the decisions to adapt the AARD are proactive. Diverse, Dynamic, and Fine-Grained DesignDiversity and Fine Grained Design: physical (capital on non-arts invetments)Dynamic: what happens inside Dynamic: Healthy Institutions (financially stable) ACAChanging nature and what this means for AARD
  • The study concludes that although AARD can be viable public policy for urban revitalization, in most cases it has not lived up to its full potential. Explanations for this include: in some instances it has not realized AED goals either because of the failure to embrace these goals or to mobilize support, the inability to overcome external economic conditions, and the fact that some of these efforts are too new to have a record strong enough for full assessment. AARDs are not static places, they are not "finished" places, they ARE constantly evolving, changing, and continually developing places. It is important to understanding the ways in which these places have done well and the areas or ways in which they continue to struggle. This work can help local policymakers make more informed, better decisions and also face the realistic challenges that lie ahead. Policy RecsDistrict Design Diversify the AARD Make the arts more lively Plan beyond the physical districtDistrict Management Empower a governance body Have realistic goals Connect to other arts districtsDistrict Evaluation Incorporate in sustainability plans
  • Short and long termEvaluate financial tools for arts developmentCompare international creative production districts to U.S.Assess the role of AED in crisis and disaster planning Appraise neighborhood AEDAnalyze creative economy incubators, innovation parks, and work spaceTrace influence of philanthropic trends on arts space development

Developing Urban Arts Districts Developing Urban Arts Districts Presentation Transcript

  • Developing Urban Arts Districts: An Analysis of Mobilization in Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Seattle
    Amanda Johnson
    Doctoral Candidate, City and Regional Planning
    School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
    Penn IUR: Penn Urban Doctoral Symposium
    May 13, 2011
  • Context and Positioning
    Urban Revitalization and Arts Districts
    • Arts Anchored Redevelopment (AARD)
    • Artisan/Artist
    • Creative Production
    • Cultural Taxing
    • Neighborhood Arts
    Arts, Culture, and Creativity
    Economic Development
    Urban and Regional Planning
  • Research Questions
    Are Arts Anchored Redevelopment Districts viable policy?
    Does it meet economic development and planning objectives?
    Why and how do cities mobilize around it?
    Are some places more suitable than others?
    Methodology
    Comparative Case Analysis
    .
  • Case 1: Pittsburgh Cultural District
    "The Cultural District wasn't a Balkan State. We [The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust] were a private sector intermediary. We couldn't do anything without the City; however we took the burden off of them.”
    "At some point, we will crack the code: it is a question of when, how, and who does it.”
  • Case 2: Philadelphia Avenue of the Arts
    "The Avenue of the Arts tended be a series of random events that were tied to particular agendas. They happily converged in a positive way. It was an accidental process, it wasn't like Ed Bacon.”
    "There is a balance between strong armed muscle and civic legacies."
  • Case 3: Dallas Arts District
    “For a long time, the arts district existed on paper more than anything else. It was ironic that they used to call it the largest arts district. Sometimes these things are slow in the making.”
    "I don’t think Lincoln Center holds up to this...Bear in mind that Dallas is a young city. We have made great progress but we are still behind other cities."
  • Case 4: Seattle Center
    "If you want to start an argument here, touch a blade of grass - that's what we say here.”
    “It was about creating our own companies rather than importing them.”
     
    “This [is an] ambitious but frequently indecisive city."
  • Case 5: Denver Performing Arts Complex
    “We want it to be part of the urban fabric and not an island to itself.
    One performing arts complex does not a theater district make.”
    "It is hard to force development when the market isn’t ready. This is the
    story of the [Denver Performing Arts Complex]. It is why it has taken 30 years. As a complex, it is successful. As a revitalization piece, it is not.” 
  • Comparative Case Analysis
    1. Struggle to meet full potential
    Sought to transform place but takes time
    Continued quest for re-invention
    Reinforced sustainability agenda
    2. Mobilization is a complicated process
    Relied on third sector but players fluctuate
    Demanded collaboration
    Entrenched in competition
    Thwarted by external forces
    3.Product of mobilization: some places are better suited than others
    Well-funded, adaptable, and realistic mobilization works
    Diverse and dynamic districts excel
    "Artscompetitive advantage" helps but is not essential
  • Research Questions
    Are Arts Anchored Redevelopment Districts viable policy?
    Yes, but room for improvement
    Policy Recommendations
    District Design
    District Management
    District Evaluation
  • Next Steps
    Book and articles
    Future research
    Arts and
    Culture
    Economic Development
    Urban and Regional Planning