Currid, E. (2010). Symposium Introduction—Art and Economic Development: New Directions for the Growth of Cities and Regions. _Journal of Planning Education and Research_, 29(3):257-261.

In this symposium introduction, Currid identifies the scholarly subtopics and various authors’ findings regarding arts and economic development, as well as themes common to all of them.

For the scholarly subtopics: (1) there exists an “uncomfortable subnarrative” (259) that while the arts might help places flourish, those newly-minted places might not help the artists; (2) social capital and solidarity are “unintended benefits” of the arts; (3) there is a tension between economic growth and cultural legacy/historic preservation; (4) some telecommunications-enabled artists are still able to cluster in specific cities; (5) that even in cities with vastly different geographical urban forms, the arts co-locate in likewise formations, “around high-value infrastructure” (259); (6) that the success of a new flagship cultural institution hinges on specific contextual factors — the best projects express the area’s own artistic “distinction” (Markusen & Schrock, 2006); (7) arts subsidies should not underestimate the stickiness of cultural industries — revenue and job growth is in fact negatively impacted in states with film subsidies; and (8) we still don’t know if cultural planning is best served by housing, economic development, or cultural policymaking.

And the recurring findings: (1) most cultural policy is city, not state-driven; (2) said cultural policy is implemented by city planners, not urban designers or cultural planners (though they might be better suited); and (3) we still lack a concrete causal link between arts and economic development.


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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Cultural Economy, Minor Field, Research Fields


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