We don’t all share the same taste when it comes to art, but we all recognize a thriving neighborhood when we see one. It’s the place that’s bustling with activity and energy, where leasing and occupancy take care of themselves—and urban infill developers are competing for the last remaining opportunities. According to ArtPlace, a collaboration of national and regional foundations, banks, and federal agencies committed to “accelerating creative placemaking,” the arts are central to creating neighborhoods where people (such as renters) want to be. Having artists live in the vicinity—and having a focus on the arts within a community—can impact the vitality of the neighborhood and serve as a catalyst in revitalizing older housing stock. The local economy also benefits.
ArtPlace backs up its premise with solid research and Vibrancy Indicators devised to help define and measure neighborhood change. Recently, ArtPlace released a list of America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces. It has identified these communities as the most vibrant and arts-centric based on a look at the largest
44 metropolitan areas in the country. Selections were based on a set of six indicators identified by Impresa Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of metropolitan economies. Four indicators measure ingredients of vibrancy: the number of retail and service businesses; the percentage of independent businesses; the neighborhood’s Walk Score; and the percentage of workers in creative occupations living in the neighborhood. Two arts-related indicators were also used: the number of arts-related non-profits and the number of arts-related businesses. Multifamily decision-makers are taking note—some more than others. In this month’s cover story, “Art is at The Heart,” Contributing Editor Leah Etling profiles Miami-based Pinnacle Housing Group, which develops affordable housing communities that take a page from luxury properties. Pinnacle also aims to bring entire neighborhoods up in value in the process. The secret weapon is a major investment in art, with works appearing at 52 Pinnacle properties in Florida, Mississippi and Texas. What’s your policy for incorporating art? Do you think it makes good business sense? Reach me at [email protected] to share your Letter to the Editor on this topic privately, with the MHN editors or for
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