PPS has long said that by starting with small-scale improvements a community can build widespread support for ambitious public space projects that transform their neighborhood. In today’s shaky economy, many promising plans have been put on hold. But as discouraging as that can be, communities can still make significant progress by enacting short-term, easily accomplished measures — like planting petunias — that create positive change and help win over cynics who say things will never get better.

By making strategic use of existing resources, a community can improve its quality of life at surprisingly little cost. One good way to achieve this is to tap into the local arts community and other creative people.  You’ll find countless opportunities to boost the creative potential of your community while simultaneously making it a better place to live, work or visit.  Examples include matching creative people in need of studios and lofts with vacant buildings; partnering with non-profit organizations like ArtSpace to set up galleries and studios in empty store fronts; engaging artists and performers to bring life back to local parks; and revitalizing a drowsy downtown with artist fairs and special events.  These endeavors do not cost a lot, but can inspire a healthy sense of local pride and goodwill.

–Craig Raphael

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