- Space Toolbox
Cultural Planning: Understanding Your Community
First - A Note on Cultural Planning
This section of our site focuses on how you inventory your community if you are focusing on creating spaces for artists. If you are a city which is looking at culture and artists as a form of economic development and regeneration, you are probably looking at doing some broader 'cultural planning' work.
Note: If you are struggling with 'making the case' for arts development or support for the arts in your community, be sure to check out our page on 'Making the case' and also CreativeCity Canada's pages on making the case for culture.
If you want to know more about cultural planning, we recommend starting by purchasing (we would provide it for free except for those pesky copyright laws!) a few books on cultural planning and doing assessments of your local cultural community:
1. Community Cultural Planning Handbook: A guide for community leaders
Craig Dreeszen, Ph.D. 1997. Published by Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C. Distributed by Americans for the Arts and The Arts Extension Service
The Community Cultural Planning Handbook provides an overview of the practice of cultural planning. It is intended to help local officials and community and cultural leaders decide if cultural planning makes sense for their communities, and if so, how to proceed. Community cultural planning can be used to identify and mobilize cultural resources in service of improved cultural and community development. Purchase here.
2. Community Cultural Planning Work Kit
Developed by Louise K. Stevens, ArtsMarket, Inc. in association with the AES staff. 1987.
Vol. I: Conducting a Community Cultural Assessment
Vol II: Developing a Strategic Cultural Plan
Community cultural planning is an effective way to identify appropriate strategies for community and economic development through the arts. This work kit enables arts and community leaders to take a self-help approach to planning with minimal costs and consultant intervention.
Two comprehensive, how-to books guide the reader from the initial steps of assessment through the final stages of a comprehensive strategic plan. They contain step-by-step descriptions of the assessment and planning process, as well as advice about using consultants and planning formats. Purchase here.
3. Creative Community Builder's Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts, and Culture
Author: Tom Borrup
Art and culture can be a powerful catalyst for revitalizing the economic, social, and physical conditions in communities. This handbook gives you successful strategies, best practices, and “how-to” guidance to turn cultural gems into effective community change. You can purchase it here.
Also - if your community is interested in pursuing a cultural economic development strategy in Massachusetts, you should look into the John and Abigail Adams Cultural Economic Arts Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. You can find out more about that program here.
4. Maine's Creative Economy Community Handbook
A how to for creative businesses and communities interested in creative economiy issues. Download it here.
5. Comedia in the UK has a very large list of books for sale around cultural planning.
7. The Creative City Network of Canada has launched two free toolkits, one for cultural planning and one for cultural mapping. You can download those and lots of examples here.
10. The Bruner Foundation's Rudy Bruner Awards: These awards recognize excellence in social change through physical place and highlight many successful artist space projects and strategies.
Please note that this web page links to a series of web sites which represent the work of many other artist assistance organizations and entities. In no way does ArtistLink take credit for the work of any of the organizations listed on this page.
Representation of Artist Assistance Organizations
Organizations listed on this page should contact ArtistLink immediately if their organization has been misrepresented in any way. Changes will gladly be made to the website as soon as possible.
For more on this topic see our page on policies and disclaimers.