Working Group #2: Creative Placemaking and Housing

March 9, 2016

By: Jamie Hand, Director of Research Strategies

Following quickly on the heels of our Public Safety Working Group in Oakland last month, today ArtPlace is joined by The Kresge Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners to kick off our Housing Working Group in Detroit.

And what an exciting group it is! The following thought leaders and practitioners represent many facets of the (notoriously complex) housing sector, as well as artists and arts organizations working in a range of ways to advance housing and housing-related goals: 

Ramona Alexander, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Roxbury, MA

Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce Magazine, Albany, NY

Ellen Baxter, Broadway Housing Communities, New York, NY

Laurel Blatchford, Enterprise Community Partners, Columbia, MD

Julie DeGraaf Velazquez, McCormack Baron Salazar, St. Louis, MO

Eileen Fitzgerald, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, Washington, DC

Salin Geevarghese, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Rick Goodemann, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, Slayton, MN

Colin Hamilton, Artspace, Minneapolis, MN

Jamie Hand, ArtPlace America, Brooklyn, NY

Theresa Hwang, Department of Places, Culver City, CA

Fred Karnas, The Kresge Foundation, Troy, MI

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, New York City Housing Authority, New York, NY

Danielle Lewinski, Center for Community Progress, Flint, MI

Mark Matel, Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation, Portsmouth, VA

Gina Reichart, Power House Productions, Detroit, MI

Ben Phillips, Housing Partnership Network / Develop Detroit, Detroit, MI

Danya Sherman, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Cambridge, MA

Ascala Sisk, NeighborWorks America, Washington, DC

Regina Smith, The Kresge Foundation, Troy, MI

Ken Stewart, Rebuild Foundation / University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, Chicago, IL

Katie Swenson, Enterprise Community Partners, Boston, MA

Nick Tilsen, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Porcupine, SD

Nia Umoja, Cooperative Community of New West Jackson, Jackson, MS

Sherry Wang, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, New York, NY

Jeff Yuen, New Jersey Community Capital, New Brunswick, NJ

Diana Yazzie-Devine, Native American Connections, Phoenix, AZ

*Additional staff from ArtPlace, the Kresge Foundation, the Monitor Institute, and partner organizations will also be in attendance as observers.

Kresge and Enterprise are key co-conveners with ArtPlace on this effort because of the deep knowledge and network they each bring with regard to housing, as well as their respective commitments to cross-disciplinary investments and a comprehensive approach to housing. Local visits for the working group this week include N’namdi Center for Contemporary Art and the Sugar Hill Arts District in Midtown Detroit; Orleans Landing along Detroit’s east riverfront; and a stop in Banglatown to discuss several projects led by artists Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert of Power House Productions.   

As was the case with the public safety working group, those gathered in Detroit this week will begin a conversation that builds on the findings surfaced by Danya Sherman in the field scan that ArtPlace commissioned last fall. There is a long history of individuals and organizations working at the intersection of the arts and housing, both formally and conceptually, to achieve community goals: from Broadway Housing Communities’ decades-long commitment to incorporating the arts into supportive housing developments and Artspace’s longstanding track record of building affordable live/work units for artists and their families, to more recent artist-led projects such as Rebuild Foundation’s Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative and the Breathing Lights Project in upstate New York. There is no lack of fertile ground for investigation, and the research challenge, as I see it, is to make sense of the wide range of work and to articulate its impact for housing practitioners who are eager to find new and innovative solutions to the challenges they face on a day to day basis. 

We have convened this working group precisely to help us build such a case, and along the way we will undoubtedly uncover tensions and opportunities that we all can learn from. Stay tuned for more information and materials as the Housing Working Group gets up and running!