Creative Placemaking and Public Health


New Initiative on Arts and Public Health

Two weeks ago, I was invited on behalf of NJIT and CCP to participate in a gathering for a new 2-year initiative focused on  “Creating Healthy Communities-Arts and Public Health in America.”  This initiative is developed through an alliance between  ArtPlace America and the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine with funding support from The Mellon Foundation.  The initial 2-day workshop took place at the University of Cincinnati through their Office of Research.  It brought together the beginnings of a consortium of thought leaders and stakeholders who work at the intersections of public health, the arts, and Creative Placemaking.

Participants from across sectors joined together for a deeply informative and enriching  two days of sharing and hearing from leaders such as Josh Miller, Ideas Xlab, Matthew Clarke, Director of Creative Placemaking at Trust for Public Land, Captain Moira McGuire from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who enlightened us on their projects and focus areas.   Deans from University of Texas/Dallas, Oregon State University, Janet Fulton, Chief in the Division of Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC and leaders from the National Academy of Medicine, as well as Architecture and Design professors brought their expertise to the proceedings.   Department and center chairs as well as leaders, researchers and investigators from Harvard, Brown, Georgetown , Duke, Johns Hopkins, Boston, George Washington, Virginia Commonwealth, Kansas and Arizona State Universities provided additional perspectives. Executives from the Barr Foundation, Grantmakers for the Arts, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation elaborated on funding priorities.  Debra Cullinan of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts gave us a compelling presentation of their creation of Culture Bank: a new paradigm for arts and community investment.

Leaders of this gathering and the entire initiative are Jamie Bennett,  Executive Director of ArtPlace America, Dr. Jill Sonke, Director of the Center for Arts in Medicine at U of Florida, and Dr. Laurie Baefsky, Executive Director of a2ru housed at the University of Michigan.  You can read more about this groundbreaking  project here.

and closer to home while we’re  on the subject of Creative Placemaking and Public Health….

New Food Security Assessment work being undertaken for New Jersey

Together North Jersey, was created in 2011 under the auspices of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the Vorhees Transportation Center to help develop a regional plan for North Jersey.  The The Plan is organized around these four themes Competitive, Efficient, Livable, and Resilient and there is a task force working alongside the institutional partners leading efforts around each theme.

CCP provides leadership for the Livable Task Force which has to date generated a Greenway Development Guidebook.   This guidebook provides details on “how to develop a greenway, troubleshooting in the development/implementation process and funding sources for greenway development.  It has been developed on the basis of the successful Middlesex County Greenway and will be helpful for various types of communities ranging from rural communities to densely populated urban communities.  Currently, the guidebook is in draft form awaiting final approval.  Stay tuned for updates!

In the meantime, we have begun to develop and identify the scope of work around creation of a Food Security Assessment Guidebook.   This guidebook will delve into methodology and data collection and analysis and will be developed in phases with focus on the cities of Dover and Newark.  If you are interested in learning more and in joining us for upcoming Livable Task Force meetings, please visit Together North Jersey and sign up for news updates.

As a final note: Information gleaned through both of these projects will be provided as two of the many rich resources examined during the Certificate in Creative Placemaking course of study.

For more information and to register, click here.