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Public Art and the Do-It-Yourself City

Jonna McKone profiles various public art projects across the U.S. and Canada, showing that participation in such projects indicates that some residents are taking an increasingly vested interest in the cities they live in.
November 17, 2010, 8am PST | Emily Laetz
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City dwellers seem to be taking the welfare of their communities into their own hands more than ever these days, as indicated by a slew of "do-it-yourself" campaigns popping up from Portland to New York. Many of the programs aim to get residents to care about their city by involving them directly with changes to the built environment. Some city governments have even started offering small grants to local groups and organizations wishing to beautify and revitalize micro-areas with meaningful artwork, street furniture, or landscaping:

"These types of projects are tactile, unlike a lot of abstract digital tools. What we can really see and grasp with our urban hands is what makes an immediate difference, especially in high-crime neighborhoods or areas with vacant buildings. The Project for Public Spaces says good public spaces - from markets to corners to intersections - jump start local economies, encourage volunteerism and tourism, attract investments, lower crime rates, improve pedestrian safety and public health, increase the use of public transportation and improve the environment."

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Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 in The City Fix
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