Creative placemaking: Reflections on a 21st-century American arts policy initiative (2019)

In the book Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice, Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus co-authored the opening chapter, ‚ÄúCreative placemaking: Reflections on a 21st-century American arts policy initiative.‚ÄĚ Markusen and Gadwa Nicodemus recount creative placemaking as a cultural policy shift, analyze ongoing challenges in the field, and review evaluation approaches. The book brings together a range of scholars to critique and deconstruct the notion of creative placemaking, presenting diverse case studies from researcher, practitioner, funder and policymaker perspectives from across the globe.

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City Creative Industry Strategies: Unique American Cases (2015)


For a special issue of Aspen Review Central Europe, Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus review three US cities’ outstanding efforts to design and implement creative industry strategies: Seattle, Washington: City of Music, a partnership to support musicians, music venues, a broad and diverse music industry, nonprofit music organizations, and researchers; San José, California’s ZERO1 Biennial and Garage, wedding art with technology and pairing tech companies with artists; and Providence, Rhode Island’s decades long innovative City support for creative workers and industries, such as tax-free arts districts, real estate assistance, and a new initiative that links growing design-based businesses with seed capital and mentorship. Read online

Creative Placemaking: How to Do It Well (2014)


In a special¬†creative placemaking issue¬†of the¬†Community Development Investment Review¬†for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco,¬†Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus contributed¬†‚ÄúCreative Placemaking: How to Do It Well.” ¬†In this article, they focus on the¬†challenges in partnering, project design, securing finance, and evaluating progress. They go beyond the limits of their initial definition and case studies, adding insights from subsequent research, consulting, public speaking, and community engagement.

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CulturalTrendsFuzzy Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking as Ascendant US Cultural Policy (2013)

Gadwa Nicodemus contributed ‚ÄúFuzzy Vibrancy‚ÄĚ for a special issue of the UK-based journal Cultural Trends. The article introduces international audiences to creative placemaking as a major new US cultural policy and funding trend and contextualizes it within past patterns of arts-based economic and community development. Through an analysis of policy rhetoric and a sample of initiatives, it explores the interplay between policy and practice. It focuses on the challenges of a tendency towards ‚Äúfuzzy concepts‚ÄĚ within policy development.

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The Arts, Consumption, and Innovation (2013)

Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development

‚ÄúThe Arts, Consumption, and Innovation‚ÄĚ explores the limitations of the dominant theory that exports drive overall city and regional economic growth. Using the context of arts and culture, it offers a complementary consumption base theory. It argues that incentives for capacity expansions of locally-oriented arts enterprises sustain jobs and incomes through four means. First, these enterprises offer residents opportunities to spend more of their discretionary income locally. Second, they provide a testing ground for artists and art works that later expand into export markets. Third, such incentives nurture organizations and occupations that re-spend high shares of income locally. Last, they help attract and retain residents, entrepreneurs, firms, and workers in non-arts sectors. By exploring variation in nonprofit arts and cultural activity across California regions and cities, the chapter probes the evidence for and against export vs. consumption based growth theories. By Ann Markusen, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, and Elisa Barbour. A contributed chapter for Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development (Brookings Institution press, 2013).¬†Purchase book

Spatial Divisions of Labor (2013)

Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography

In their contribution for the Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus argue that researchers and economic developers should shape regional job creation strategies by analyzing what workers do (occupational composition) as well as what they make (industrial composition). They document considerable variation in the occupational structure of specific industries across cities and regions, especially for innovative sectors such as high-tech, creative/cultural, business services, and information. Markusen and Gadwa Nicodemus speculate that on the causes of these patterns; they suggest that actors other than employers’ job offers or industrial agglomerations shape workers’ location choices, especially in high (artists, tech specialists) and medium-skilled (e.g. truckers, construction) occupations with high rates of self-employment. Their evidence includes an analysis of cultural industries and artist occupations for a subset of large US metros, and they innovatively define cultural industries as those with high concentrations of artistic occupations. Purchase book

Arts and Culture in Urban and Regional Planning: A Review and Research Agenda (2010)

Arts and Culture in Urban and Regional Planning: A Review and Research Agenda

Published in a special issue of the Journal of Planning Education Research dedicated to art, culture and economic development. The most downloaded JPER article in 2010 from all articles published in 2009 and 2010, it is also one of nine selected for publication in a special Chinese edited volume that highlights the best of recent JPER articles. ‚ÄúArts and Culture in Urban and Regional Planning: A Review and Research Agenda,‚ÄĚ argues that most city cultural planning exercises do not have clear and measurable goals, do not understand either the causal relationships involved or institutional and design alternatives, and do not have access to studies that clarify the impacts, risks, and opportunity costs of various strategies, investments, and revenue and expenditure patterns. We review the state of knowledge about arts and culture as urban/regional development, exploring norms, summarizing the evidence on causal relationships, and addressing stakeholders, bureaucratic fragmentation, and citizen participation in cultural planning. The paper also examines designated cultural districts and tourist-targeted cultural investments as special cases.¬†Read Online