How serious is the commitment to building more vibrant cities? This whole creative city thing isn’t confined to just cities – entire states are taking such a proactive approach to modernizing their economies, from Michigan’s Cool Cities Initiative to now, Vermont’s Creative Communities Program (CCP):
“Communities apply to participate in the Creative Communities Program. Successful applicants receive technical assistance in the form of a community visit process that moves quickly from community-wide brainstorming sessions to setting out specific, focused project plans that local teams can begin work on immediately.”
Initiated in 2004 with their first statewide conference, Advancing Vermont’s Creative Economy, the state celebrated its success by recognizing 11 communities that participated in the program:
The “Virginia Council on Rural Development (VCRD) developed the Creative Communities Program to help residents look at their towns and regions through a creative economy lens and identify specific projects to pursue that would make them more vibrant communities – places that would attract and inspire innovative entrepreneurs. The program was modeled on the revitalization of Vermont towns like Brandon, Bellows Falls and Vergennes where local leaders built partnerships between artists, cultural non-profits, town government, and key businesses to build activities, redevelop properties, and establish reputations as towns that encourage innovative business development. Today, these towns are building their creative workforces, attracting businesses, and developing jobs. Tax revenues are up. They have a public image – a brand – as a town on the move with rising energy and spirit.”
Image source: Church Street, Burlington Vermont, by no3rdw.