Cultural Planning, an Urban Renaissance?

Cultural Planning, an Urban Renaissance?

Cultural Planning, an Urban Renaissance?

Cultural Planning, an Urban Renaissance?

Synopsis

From its ancient roots in classical Athens and Rome, to the European Renaissance, public culture shows both a historic continuity and contemporary response to economic and social change. This work examines how and why the cultures have been planned and the extent to which cultural amenities have been considered in town planning.

Excerpt

Like good cultural development and community planning, this book has had a long gestation. Working in an inner-city arts centre in the early 1980s gave me my first experience of how communities respond to the arts and the role of culture in education and the urban environment. From action research and model projects, which ranged from city farms, a weekend arts college, community media, and both adult and young people’s touring theatres, the aspirations of and exposure to many communities, audiences and organisations naturally led to the provision of technical aid to local groups undertaking arts and cultural development and site-based facility proposals. This entailed working alongside colleagues in community architecture and planning (before it became fashionable and appropriated by mainstream design firms and politicians), in organisational development which brought together youth and social workers with local authority planners and artists, and in what was then new technology, which brought low-cost IT and media facilities into the reach of local groups and creative artists. This period coincided with a national concern and response to various forms of urban economic, social and environmental decline, which gave me the opportunity to work with communities and agencies in cities such as Liverpool (post-riots), Huddersfield and in other countries, notably the resettlement town of Ashkelon in Israel. The emergence of what became a now-established association between the arts and urban regeneration spawned in London two seminal ‘think tanks’: the Arts & Urban Regeneration and Planning London’s Arts & Culture groups, convened by the regional arts body with voluntary members, including myself, from architecture, planning, arts policy and finance institutions. These were served by a series of case-studies developed by the British American Arts Association which provided a range of examples—good and bad—of how the arts had and could be incorporated with urban regeneration and the input of artists and local communities to this process and also by the concurrent arts and CityPlan being developed by Metro Toronto. The model guidelines for Arts Culture and Entertainment that arose from these working groups provided the basis for much thought on how the arts and town planning might better interact and the resulting guidance offered an opportunity for local boroughs to develop cultural planning within their statutory land-use development plans for the first time. When serving as Director of the London Association of Arts Centres in the late 1980s, the issues of spatial distribution, arts development and equity in cultural provision became even clearer to me, and the cumulative experience of the arts centre movement in the UK, Europe and North America has provided a foundation for much of the detailed analysis provided in this book. In particular, the notion emerged of a hierarchy of arts facilities and cultural resources through both the arts in education, com-

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