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The City Creative: The Rise of Urban Placemaking in Contemporary America

The City Creative: The Rise of Urban Placemaking in Contemporary America, David's co-authored book with Michael Carriere, was published by The University of Chicago Press in April 2021 (360 pages, 145 color plates, 8.25" x 9").

Description from The University of Chicago Press

    In the wake of the Great Recession, American cities from Philadelphia to San Diego saw an upsurge in hyperlocal placemaking—small-scale interventions aimed at encouraging greater equity and community engagement in growth and renewal. But the projects that were the most successful at achieving these lofty ambitions weren’t usually established by politicians, urban planners, or real estate developers; they were initiated by community activists, artists, and neighbors. In order to figure out why, The City Creative mounts a comprehensive study of placemaking in urban America, tracing its intellectual history and contrasting it with the efforts of people making positive change in their communities today.

    Spanning the 1950s to the post-recession 2010s, The City Creative highlights the roles of such prominent individuals and organizations as Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Richard Sennett, Project for Public Spaces, and the National Endowment for the Arts in the development of urban placemaking, both in the abstract and on the ground. But that’s only half the story. Bringing the narrative to the present, Michael H. Carriere and David Schalliol also detail placemaking interventions at more than 200 sites in more than 40 cities, combining archival research, interviews, participant observation, and Schalliol’s powerful documentary photography. Carriere and Schalliol find that while these formal and informal placemaking interventions can bridge local community development and regional economic plans, more often than not, they push the boundaries of mainstream placemaking. Rather than simply stressing sociability or market-driven economic development, these initiatives offer an alternative model of community-led progress with the potential to redistribute valuable resources while producing tangible and intangible benefits for their communities. The City Creative provides a kaleidoscopic overview of how these initiatives grow, and sometimes collapse, illustrating the centrality of placemaking in the evolution of the American city and how it can be reoriented to meet demands for a more equitable future.

Purchase through bookstores everywhere, like the independent Milwaukee community space Lion's Tooth.

Financial support for The City Creative was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

"This is essential reading for this year of crisis and beyond." — Eric Avila, UCLA

"This breathtaking book inspires hope and confidence in what committed members of a community can make possible." — Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University

"The City Creative offers an unprecedented and refreshing history of creative placemaking ... that acknowledges its shortcomings, incorporates more inclusive ideas, and celebrates novel practices. With honesty, rigor, and remarkable visual appeal, Carriere and Schalliol encourage readers to seek more holistic outcomes and benefits that can be distributed equitably." — Journal of Planning History

The City Creative "raises questions about the very core of city revitalization — the interaction of markets and public policies. ...a useful reference on the power of citizen-initiated action outside of the usual parameters of officialdom to reshape neighborhood environments and reinvigorate city centers." — Journal of Urban Affairs

"The City Creative is an important book, the first to offer an extensive study of the increasingly ubiquitous practice of creative placemaking. Carriere and Schalliol are the first urbanists offering a persuasive (or any) history of that phenomenon. Drawing upon their rigorous investigation of grassroots local projects, they provide a vital direction for mainstream placemaking to follow." — Journal of Urban History

"Carriere and Schalliol consider ideas about revitalizing cities by putting arts at the center of economic development....This is a good reference book for students, urban planners, and community activists.... Recommended. " — Choice



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