Blog Post 4 Group 2

Welcome back everybody to the Fantastic (Group 2’s) 4th blog post. I’m sorry I just wanted to make a Fantastic 4 joke. This week we’re discussing our latest reading about creative placemaking. Specifically, we noticed how the author speaks of the hierarchical power dynamics that exist between large civic institutions and agencies. This sparked our interest because we’ve explored power dynamics between individual constituents and governmental bodies, but this text introduces the idea that the power of local governments (with the help of legislation and more powerful government entities) is enough to stifle action from actual organizations. It begs the question of who is working for who, and thus how human relationships operate. It seems that a power struggle exists because there is a societal need to place oneself in a rank in relation to others. This could be something that we emphasize in our final project. Like Vaugn, one of the councilmen could show disinterest in the meeting by constantly checking their phone or not paying attention to questions to check their emails, and this would cement a feeling of deserved rank.

Something else we also found interesting from the reading was the creative placemaking ecosystem. After reading about both sides of the debate, it seems as if both sides have merit to their arguments. We noticed that both arguments stemmed from different intentions. The arguments for creative placemaking seemed to like the idea of interconnectedness and bringing together different diverse fields while the criticisms come from focusing on stopping the misplacement of the people who live in these communities. While the idea of creative placemaking seems unique and interesting, we also feel like the concept of creative placemaking just has too many potential downsides and adverse effects for it to truly be helpful. Our society has tried to shift away from gentrification and bring light to the issue. The idea of creative placemaking not only could allow for more gentrification, it also benefits organizations that are able to get the funding. While we do believe it is important to ensure artists can have places to express themselves and possibly branch out and show the importance of art in other fields, doing it by exploiting low income communities for the benefit of already established organizations is sort of antithetical to what creative placemaking prides itself on.

Another aspect of creative placemaking that we discussed is its effects. Many pieces do an amazing job of facilitating discussion on community issues.​​ They demonstrate problems of a community often through a unique lens. However, many projects do not elevate to the next level in creating solutions to these issues. For this reason, it is important to distinguish creative placemaking that serves to produce genuine change. This is another important difference between individual contributors and governmental legislation. Often, individuals from a certain community are incredibly motivated to improve the lives of the people around them. For example, the creator of Project Row Houses in Texas. This project used creativity to make noticeable changes. In contrast, many governmental agencies do not carry the same motivation to bring rapid change. These bodies do not have the same insight into the unique struggles of a community. Thus, issues such as gentrification or the exploitation of low-income communities arise.

It seems as though my classmates have thoroughly covered the readings, and while reflecting on their thoughts I couldn’t help but notice the difference between this blog post and our first two. Our first two posts were recorded in-person conversations in which we could not delete anything said and our classmates knew who said what. However, on these posts, our identities are anonymous and our thoughts are something we have come up with over the time we have also been given the opportunity to change our words and rewrite our responses. This response is well-crafted due to the lack of pressure to perform and the ability to change our ideas. However, we lack connections crafted by conversation and our personalities and identities are no longer a part of our argument. Life in general and the field of humanities, in particular, is all about finding this balance between crafting strong arguments and creating meaningful connections to convey them. -Fallon, Eric, Matteo and Genevieve

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