2018 National Planning Conference

Placemaking's Role in Preserving Community Identity

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 2:45 p.m. - Sunday, April 14, 2019, 5:15 p.m. PDT

CM | 2.50

Activity Type: Deep Dive Sessions

Activity ID: NPC199004

Location: 2016

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  • Learn about several distinct approaches by which planners can collaborate effectively with social practice artists to engage and energize residents in the design of innovative solutions to community development challenges.
  • Examine how arts and culture strategies preserve community identity and address the challenges posed to ethnic enclaves and racially diverse neighborhoods by gentrification and hot real estate markets.
  • Distinguish between arts and cultural strategies that are grounded in equity-guided principles and practices and other versions of creative placemaking that may lack attention to these priorities.


ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments (CDI) initiative launched in 2015 to investigate and support place-based community development organizations to sustainably incorporate arts and culture into their core work. This session focuses on how three grantee organizations helped strengthen community identity through placemaking as they contend with issues such as disinvestment, gentrification, and displacement.

The Little Tokyo Service Center representatives share their work to preserve Los Angeles's Little Tokyo as a local center of Japanese American life and reflect the current mixed-income and multiracial character of the neighborhood — all in the face of intense gentrification pressures.

Jackson Medical Mall Foundation representatives discuss how the foundation has enhanced its role as a neighborhood anchor through fusing arts and culture with its health, wellness, and economic development goals.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority representatives demonstrate how collaborations with artists have strengthened community identity and catalyzed reinvestment in the diverse Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage, Alaska. See video documentation of these efforts, commissioned for this project.

Victor Rubin from PolicyLink, the research partner for the CDI initiative, moderates and leads discussions and activities highlighting takeaways for planners and community development organizations new to arts and culture work.

Session Speakers

Victor Rubin
Oakland, CA

Tyler P. Robinson, AICP
Cook Inlet Housing Authority
Anchorage, AK

Primus Wheeler
Jackson Medical Mall Foundation

Grant Sunoo
Little Tokyo Service Center
Los Angeles, CA

daniel johnson
Significant Developments

Enzina Marrari
Anchorage, AK

Tina Takemoto
California College of the Arts
Daly City, CA