Streamlined Regulations and Urban Design Guidelines as an Economic Development Strategy
By Steve Wright
Cities benefit from using the arts as an economic development tool.
From almost the beginning of time, the arts have been supported by everyone from monarchs to popes to commoners because of its humane, beautiful, spiritual and life-affirming qualities.
In these challenging economic times, an equal argument can be made for valuing the arts like precious infrastructure, as important to cities as walkability, transit and parkland, and as essential as streets, water and sewer lines.
By Judy Newman
Throughout the United States, housing and commercial construction have slowed to a crawl, as banks have tightened lending and consumers have cut back on spending.
Construction spending nationwide hit a 10-year low of $805 billion in July, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Public Food Markets Enhance the Quality of Life in a Community
Early in the country’s history, Americans bought much of the food they didn’t grow themselves from local farmers at public markets that were a focal point of their communities. Many of those markets faded away in the last century, but now public markets are roaring back.
After the residents of Damariscotta, Maine, blocked development of an 187,000-square-foot Walmart in 2006, the town with roughly 2,000 year-round residents was left battered and divided. It also faced a “What now?” dilemma.
Is a city appealing because it’s prosperous or is it prosperous because it’s appealing?
That may sound like a chicken-or-egg question, but in this case, there’s a right answer — or at least a growing awareness that creating vibrant public spaces is a winning economic strategy.
As a report by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) points out, place has always mattered. The first cities, after all, emerged because people gathered at crossroads, creating lively hubs to exchange goods and ideas.