It should come to no surprise that Richard Florida’s “creative class” is found associated with the idea of tranforming and re-branding Rust Belt Cities into vibrant places to work. live and visit. Karl’s reflection article, The ‘Creative Class’ and Comeback Cities: Beyond the Hype was written after attending the a cities in transition (CiT) panel at University of Colorado Boulder’s Conference on World Affairs.
Touched upon in the article, many Rust Belt or CiT communities struggle with finding the right mix of intermediate/temporary and long-term strategies for their individual locations that will not produce gimmicky, misguided or inept solutions to real problems facing their respective communities. Crafting partnerships, programs and policies that serve existing resident’s, while drawing new jobs, tourists and residents, whatever the “desired mix” is for that particular community is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Context, timing, sequencing, place and people matter.
The article does touch upon an growing movement in Rust Belt, distressed communities and the field of urban planning, which is using art and creative endeavors to heal distress, create intermediate solutions and form new community engagement and partnerships. Whether it’s the Heidelberg project in Detroit, or the Rust Belt to Artistbelt in St. Louis, or D.C.’s own Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River program. There are several new and exciting examples showing up all over the country and beyond that Rust Belt communities can share and learn from.