GOOD Ideas for Cities


Funding Received: 2011
Multiple, Multiple
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
May 11, 2012

GOOD Ideas for Cities continued its cross-country tour with a stop last month in Richmond, Virginia, better known to its residents as RVA. The April 24 event saw over 250 people gather at the Virginia Historical Society to watch three presentations from local creative teams that addressed issues ranging from spurring economic development on the city's riverfront, to bringing more tourism to the region, to increasing community involvement for middle school in public education. RVA enthusiastically welcomed this program to the city, and the incredibly tech-forward audience kept the hashtags from the evening active well into the next week. Check out photos from the evening and coverage of the evening by RVANews and and stay tuned for videos of the presentations, which will be posted at the GOOD Ideas for Cities site.

And there's still more to see. Back in March, GOOD Ideas for Cities facilitated a program with students from the Design Thinking class at Portland State University's graphic design department, and professor Nicole Lavelle wrote a wonderful recap of the program with links to all the great student projects. Meanwhile, videos continue to post of the presentations from the recent St. Louis event, and more events are coming up: Cincinnati, Ohio is on Wednesday, May 16 as part of CEOs for Cities' annual meeting. And then it's off to Dallas and New Orleans, with events in June and July, respectively. Keep tabs on their activity at or on Twitter at @IdeasforCities.

ArtPlace asked Alissa Walker, the editor of GOOD Ideas for Cities, what she thinks are the three keys to creative placemaking. Here's what she said:

"Our project is interesting in that we get to travel to all these different cities and see many different types of effective placemaking. But there are some basic fundamentals present in each city that allow for creatives to take part in building the city in which they want to live. The first is a firm commitment from some kind of government agency. In every city we've worked with, the mayor's office has had a presence at our events, which I think says a lot about their interest in working with creatives. You have to have at least one advocate at the government level. The second thing that much be in place is a community for creatives to come together that's not affiliated with a particular school or institution (which is usually what happens in most cities--one organization ends up dominating the landscape). In Richmond, for example, one of our hosts was the i.e.* Initiative of the Greater Richmond Chamber, which sponsors events for creative entrepreneurs and has fostered an incredibly lively group of smart, active Richmond residents who are willing to get things done. Finally, one quality we've noticed in each city that engenders placemaking is the presence of engaged journalists. As a writer myself, I've been completely impressed with how active local media has been in not only covering the events and bringing the ideas to a wider audience, but also how thoughtfully they've offered their opinions on certain solutions and how they would work for the city. Journalists and creatives together can a powerful team when it comes to sharing complex ideas with the general public, and I'm looking forward to seeing how else this manifests in other cities we're going to visit."