Arts and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity — the unique meaning, value, and character — of the physical and social form of a community. This identity is reflected through the community's character or sense of place. A community's sense of place is not a static concept; rather, it evolves and develops over time, reflecting the spectrum of social values within and around the community.
In this way, the community character of a city, county, town, or neighborhood can be seen as a story or narrative of a place. Planners and community members can come together to reveal and burnish this narrative through:
- an articulation of the historic, cultural, economic, and cultural context of the community;
- a commitment to the reinforcement and enhancement of the community's identity; and
- the implementation of policies, regulations, and incentives that support and enhance this evolving identity.
About the Authors
Jeffrey Soule, FAICP
Mr Jeff Soule FAICP, is Director of Outreach and International Programs for the American Planning Association, formally its Policy Director. Previously he held planning and policy positions in government and the non-profit sector, including as a senior planner for the Tug Hill Commission in Watertown, New York. He oversaw the small town revitalization programme for the Department of Agriculture. In addition to his post as the Director for the NEA Design Program, he provided policy and technical advice for state and federal officials as Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Mr. Soule has served as visiting lecturer at the University of Maryland and lecturer at other universities in the US on urban and regional planning. He has established relationships with a variety of university-based centers for design and community planning assistance for the APA. Overseas, he has served as special advisor to the Mayor of Nanjing, developing a strategy for revitalizing the city’s historic neighborhoods and produced an innovative plan for a large site in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. Mr. Soule serves as a US delegate to the General Assembly for ICOMOS and advises governments regarding cultural conservation and is member of the US committee for Habitat III.
Kimberley Hodgson, AICP
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.