The Role of the Arts and Culture in Planning Practice

Arts and Culture Briefing Papers 1

By Kimberley Hodgson, Kelly Beavers



This overview paper provides planners and policy makers with comprehensive definitions, an overview of the arts and culture field, and a framework for how the field's strategies can enhance and inform planning practice. The subsequent briefing papers expand upon this introduction and explore how arts and culture contribute specifically to:

  • strengthening cultural values and preserving heritage and history
  • building community character and sense of place
  • enhancing community engagement and participation
  • enhancing economic vitality

These briefing papers support the work of countless people — policy makers, planners, and economic development and community development professionals, as well as professionals in architecture, landscape architecture, and arts and culture — in the creation and development of healthy communities.


Page Count
Date Published
March 1, 2011
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Kimberley Hodgson
Kimberley Hodgson, MURP, MS, AICP, RD is the founder of Cultivating Healthy Places, an international consulting business specializing in community health, social equity and sustainable food systems planning. As a certified planner and health professional, her work focuses on conducting policy-relevant research and providing technical assistance to the public and private sectors related to the design and development of healthy, sustainable places. Hodgson served as co-investigator of a $3.96 million grant awarded to the University at Buffalo by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Food Systems Program. The project, Growing Food Connections, generated knowledge about the effectiveness of local and regional government policies in improving food security in underserved communities, strengthening the resilience of rural communities, and supporting the economic viability of food production. She is the author of Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems and co-author of Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy Sustainable Places. Ms. Hodgson holds an undergraduate degree from New York University in pre-medicine, a Master of Science in food policy and applied nutrition from Tufts University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in community health and sustainability from Virginia Tech.

Kelly Beavers