Courting artists to revitalize American cities

Artist garret as growth machine? Local policy and artist housing in U.S. cities

From Journal of Planning Education and Research

In the last ten years the arts, and artists, have come to be seen as catalysts for the revitalization of American cities. This article demonstrates that in most cities, artist housing programs are considered part of an economic development agenda. Once on the fringes of the municipal policy arena, they have woven their way into core areas of urban development policy making. City and state policy makers now see the arts as a potential generator of jobs and tax revenues rather than as expendable luxuries.

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Abstract

While artists have always lived in cities, never before have city governments so actively sought to court artists, most notably by supporting the development of subsidized artist housing. This article relies on a survey of municipal officials, interviews, and secondary sources to document the spread of publicly supported artist housing. The article argues that artist housing programs can be found even in cities not known as cultural cities. It further demonstrates that in most cities, artist housing programs are considered part of an economic development agenda. It concludes that the unique class position of artists render them well suited in the eyes of public officials to play a transformative role in urban neighborhoods.

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Article details:
Strom, E. (2010). Artist Garret as Growth Machine? Local Policy and Artist Housing in U.S. Cities Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29 (3), 367-378 DOI: 10.1177/0739456X09358560

     
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