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Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Creative Placemaking on Vacant Properties

Lessons Learned from Four Cities

Published: July 2018

Author(s): Center for Community Progress, Metris Arts Consulting

Vacant properties, especially those that are long vacant, can feel unsettling and unsafe. They detract from the appearance of the neighborhood and lead to unsafe conditions and bring down surrounding property values. They also cost municipalities significant tax revenue.

But what would you think if you saw an abandoned house painted entirely gold? Or stumbled upon performance art, led by young people, on a long-vacant lot? Incorporating the arts into place-based community development can spark fresh interest in vacant property. Simultaneously, as a community-centered process, creative placemaking is a powerful tool to support equitable revitalization.

This Center for Community Progress report offers practical guidance for communities curious about leveraging the power of creative placemaking to transform vacant properties. It includes a creative placemaking primer and key takeaways based on work conducted over two years. It also explores emerging practices in four communities: Kalamazoo, Michigan; Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; Newburgh, New York; and Macon, Georgia.

Published: July 2018

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