Without the involvement of community stakeholders public art won’t be able to solve the dysfunctional urban planning of the past

Although ‘Creative Placemaking’ may be the design world’s current buzzword, there is more to it than simple hype. The term demands that in order for public space to be better utilised creative practitioners, like artists, architects and urban planners working in the public environment, must make place more creatively.

A new article in the Public Art Review is asking for a change in thinking around how professionals can function in this environment as more than simple creators, but rather as creative collaborators.

According to authors, Fred Kent and Cynthia Nikitin, communities tend to feel intimidated by creative professionals working in the public environment, and thus increasingly feel alienated from the creative decision making process – even when pertaining to projects in their own community. “In the face of these experts and their implicit authority, communities have been intimidated and made to feel impotent. The public has been convinced to leave the creative function solely in the hands of the specially trained — namely architects, artists, and designers — and to abdicate its role in nurturing the creative life of the city. As a result, the communal psyche has atrophied and the public realm has suffered” – they state.

However, Kent and Nikitin say, there is hope. Planners, artists, and architects and others, are increasingly willing to act as creative resources who facilitate and collaborate with communities. Rather than view themselves as experts, they are asking questions and challenging assumptions.

“In such cases, the design of art in public spaces moves away from reverence for textbook ideals and toward flexibility, changeability, evolution, and an appreciation for humanity.We salute this new paradigm, one in which designers actually welcome the opportunity to work with communities to open up places for new interpretations, creating more room for public art—especially in parks, transforming them from ersatz cemeteries and static sculpture gardens into great multi-use public destinations” the authors say.

It’s a good read so for the full article go here http://www.pps.org/reference/collaborative-creative-placemaking-good-public-art-depends-on-good-public-spaces/