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At the Inquiry Answer Service, we answer, on average, more than 300 questions for our subscribers each month. We consult a variety of sources to create a custom research packet — which may include APA publications, sample ordinances and plans, articles and literature from partner organizations, and the most current information available online — for each question.
Each month, we choose one question to feature here, so you can see what your peers around the country are asking and how we answered. When your organization subscribes to PAS, you and your colleagues will also have access to previous editions.
How do communities support a creative economy?
How do other cities promote and foster their creative industries, including ensuring adequate and appropriate housing, gathering spaces, and business. How do these efforts manifest (e.g., plans, changes to zoning, programmatic investments, etc.)?
Creative industries seem to be attracted to areas with the following characteristics:
- An adequate supply of flexible and affordable housing and co-working space
- The presence of arts-based anchor institutions and venues (e.g., theater companies, performance spaces, museums/galleries, etc.)
- A mix of uses that bring residences, workplaces, and recreational opportunities into close proximity
Municipal efforts to promote and foster creative industries may be policy oriented (e.g., updating comprehensive plan and zoning designations to sanction a mix of uses or offering development incentives), infrastructure oriented (e.g., streetscaping, transit, or stormwater upgrades), or programmatic (e.g., providing space for cultural programming or organizations, providing direct grants, marketing/branding, serving as an information clearinghouse, offering financial incentives, etc.).
While economic development efforts that focus on attracting and retaining creative industries are not new, in recent years there seems to have been a renewed interest in communitywide cultural/creative economy plans that bring together policy, infrastructure, and programmatic recommendations under one strategic framework. However, given the diffuse nature of these plans, systematic implementation may be extremely difficult.
Apart from communitywide plans, a number of cities and counties have adopted subarea plans for targeted arts or cultural districts. Often these plans prioritize policy and infrastructure strategies, with a predictably greater emphasis on specific physical interventions and regulatory changes to ensure adequate and attractive space for creative industries.
Often communities use special zoning districts or overlays to implement subarea plans or other place-based arts and cultural district policies. These special districts typically sanction live-work space and mix of other uses intended to foster a vibrant corridor or neighborhood center with a high concentration of cultural amenities.
Finally, a few communities have added provisions to their municipal codes that explicitly sanction various programs that support creative industries. These may take the form of direct financial assistance (e.g., loans or grants) or special purpose district designations that open the door to financial or development incentives.
- Ada (Oklahoma), City of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 58: Planning, Zoning, and Development. Article IX: Arts District Ordinance. https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=13470
- Aurora (Colorado), City of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 2: Administration. Article V: Finance. Division 4: Art District Loan Program. https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10331
- Broward (Florida), County of. 2012. Creative Broward 2020. www.broward.org/Arts/Resources/Publications/CulturalPlan2020
- Carbondale (Colorado), Town of. 2012. Code of Ordinances. Title 18: Zoning. Chapter 18.27: Community Arts Zone District (CA). https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16244
- Chicago (Illinois), City of. 2012. Chicago Cultural Plan. www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/cultural_plan.html
- Columbus (Ohio), City of. 2012. East Franklinton Creative Community District Plan. http://development.columbus.gov/planning/eastfranklinton.aspx
- Covington (Kentucky), City of. 2012. Code of Ordinances. Title XV: Land Usage. Appendix A: Zoning Code. Article 4: Special Purpose Zones. Section 4.06: ART, Arts and Technology Zone. www.amlegal.com/library/ky/covington.shtml
- Denton (Maryland), Town of. 2013. Municipal Code. Chapter 128: Zoning. Article IV: Purpose and Intent of Zoning Districts. Section 128-21.6: AE Arts and Entertainment District. www.ecode360.com/DE1138
- District of Columbia. 2013. Municipal Regulations. Title 11: Zoning. Chapter 11-19: Uptown Arts-Mixed Use (ARTS) Overlay District. www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/ChapterHome.aspx?ChapterNumber=11-19
- District of Columbia. 2007. "Chapter 14: Arts and Culture Element." In General Plan. http://dc.gov/DC/Planning/Across+the+City/Comprehensive+Plan/2006+
- Los Alamos (New Mexico), County of. 2012. Los Alamos Creative District Plan. www.losalamosnm.us/gov/bcc/cdac/Documents/Los%20Alamos%20Creative
- Minneapolis (Minnesota), City of. 2012. Plan-It Hennepin: Creative Placemaking for Downtown Minneapolis. www.hennepintheatretrust.org/plan-it-hennepin
- New Orleans (Louisiana), City of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 142: Special Districts. Article III: Community Cultural Districts. https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10040
- Pittsfield (Massachusetts), City of. 2012. Municipal Code. Section 4.320: Downtown Arts Overlay District (D-A). www.ecode360.com/documents/PI1888/ZONING-SECTION%204.pdf .
- Prince George's (Maryland), County of. 2004. Gateway Arts District. www.pgplanning.org/page10253.aspx
- Providence (Rhode Island), City of. 2009. Creative Providence: A Cultural Plan for the Creative Sector. www.providenceri.com/efile/47
- Raleigh (North Carolina), City of. 2009. "Arts and Culture." In 2030 Comprehensive Plan. www.raleighnc.gov/content/PlanLongRange/Documents/ComprehensivePlan/
- San Antonio (Texas), City of. 2005. The Cultural Collaborative: A Plan for San Antonio's Creative Economy. www.info.sahearts.com/attachments/127_adoptedplan.pdf
- Santa Monica (California), City of. 2007. Creative Capital: Culture, Community, Vision. www.smgov.net/uploadedFiles/Portals/Culture/Resources/
- St. Petersburg (Florida), City of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 16: Land Development Regulations. Section 16.30.030: Artist Enclave. https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=14674
- Tulsa (Oklahoma), City of. 2012. The Brady Arts District: A Small Area Plan. www.cityoftulsa.org/community-programs/planning/small-area-and-neighborhood-revitalization-planning/brady-arts-district-plan.aspx
- Westminster (Maryland), City of. 2013. Municipal Code. Chapter 164: Zoning and Subdivision of Land. Article IXC: Arts and Culture Overlay District. www.ecode360.com/WE0761
- Williamsburg (Virginia), City of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 3: Arts and Cultural District. https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=11284
- Worcester (Massachusetts), City of. 2002. Worcester Arts District Master Plan. www.worcestermass.org/arts-culture-entertainment/arts-culture/worcester-arts-district/arts-district-master-plan
Related PAS Products
- Moore, Terry, Stuart Meck, and James Ebenhoh. 2006. An Economic Development Toolbox. PAS Report No. 541. Chicago: American Planning Association. www.planning.org/pas/reports/subscriber/archive/