Creative Placemaking

How to embed Arts-led processes within cultural regeneration?

Anita McKeown

Creative Placemaking (CP), a strategic policy platform that was established in the USA, (Landesman, 2009) is a sub-field of ‘Placemaking’ and can be considered as the latest iteration of the evolving effort to embed Arts-led processes within cultural regeneration. ‘Cultivating permaCultural resilience (pCr) – towards a Creative Placemaking critical praxis’ (McKeown, 2015) integrated the ethics and design principles of Permaculture, into Situated Art Practices to develop a critical praxis for Creative Placemaking.

Informed by the Situationists’ dérive, Art Services Unincorporated1 re-imagined CP as a situated process of creative co-production for self-organisation. The initiation of a process of self-organised CP is achieved through the creation of opportunities to reveal and actualise local potential and resources and encouraging emergent adaptive behaviour and resilient practices from the inside out. As an emergent critical praxis (a theoretical framework, practical toolkit and nascent evaluative matrix) - permaCultural resilience, fosters the ability of a location to adapt to changing conditions initiated by a systemic arts-led process.

Proposed as an operating system for CP, the pCr approach grounds an eco-social commitment into CP to foster opportunities to re-imagine existing place-narratives that include diverse understandings of place. Trialled in London, Ireland and the U.S.A. by an itinerant artist-in-residence, this summary outlines the emergence of CP and the aims of ASU’s research; to enshrine the dynamic, emergent and ethical qualities of permaculture design within a Situated Arts Practice to contributes to the on-going evolution of CP - a deeply politicised practice and philosophy.