Culture as Urban Acupuncture
“Sometimes for determinate problems it is necessary to 'stick some needles' of good local action that can create new energy, which is the principle of acupuncture."
–Jaime Learner, Urbanist and author, Urban Acupuncture
In a few generations, culture has helped elevate Toronto’s reputation from Hogtown to one of sophistication. It has helped West Queen West earn Vogue Magazine’s distinction as the second-coolest neighbourhood in the world and Regent Park construct a new narrative from the shadows of stigmatization. These transformations have had a profound impact not just on reputations, but in delivering a wealth of positive social outcomes and in unlocking billions in development activity. Despite these enormous wins, many still regard culture as a low-priority amenity.
Artscape is a Toronto not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and renews communities. Ten years ago they coined the term “creative placemaking,” a practice that leverages the power of art, culture and creativity to catalyze the change, growth and transformation of communities. For decades, public policy has framed arts and culture as a need for which someone must take responsibility. Urban planners and developers have viewed cultural transformation as a mysterious phenomenon driven by nebulous factors in an unclear organic process. Artscape CEO Tim Jones believes these perspectives hold us back from engaging culture as a powerful resource in city-building.
Artscape has gained a unique perspective from the front lines of some of Toronto’s most ambitious and successful urban revitalization projects. Tim Jones and his team have worked to understand how cultural projects can empower artists as agents of change, contribute to dynamic patterns in neighbourhood evolution, and be intentionally leveraged as trigger points in urban growth and development.
Imagine a future where we use culture as a tool to tackle some of Toronto’s toughest problems. Join us as Tim shares Artscape’s vision and asks us to step into a creative future.
Speaker: Tim Jones
Tim Jones, CEO of Artscape, is a champion for the role that the arts play in transforming cities and communities. Under his direction since 1998, Artscape has grown from a provider of artist studios in Toronto to an internationally recognized leader in creative placemaking: leveraging the power of arts and culture to act as a catalyst of change, growth and transformation of place. Tim coined this term in 2006; today, city builders around the world employ creative placemaking strategies to make cities more vibrant, prosperous, sustainable and liveable.
With Artscape, Tim has built an impressive portfolio of unique facilities that serve hundreds of thousands of people annually, and which play an important role in advancing the arts and culture, public policy agendas, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.
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When & Where
MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports promising young ventures that are tackling key challenges in the health, cleantech, finance & commerce, as well as work & learning sectors. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.