Placemaking and Community | Cara Courage | TEDxIndianapolis

hello I'm a place maker there are lots of place makers around the world I work with place makers in all sorts of different cities I work with place makers here in Indianapolis too hence picking up on this heart Indy sticker from Fountain Square a few years back now I would go so far to say that everybody in this room is a place maker but you may not know what placemaking is or you might have heard the term before but you're not entirely sure it's become a bit bit of a buzzword of late for me very simply placemaking as a set of tools and it's an approach to putting the community right at the front and center of changes to where they live there's a golden thread of the arts as well that works through placemaking but it won't be that kind of art that you see on a gallery wall necessarily what this person here our participant in home-baked and artists and community bakery and Anfield in Liverpool in the UK has said it gets it absolutely right the creative actors in the doing it's the making that's what makes the artists in all of us in place making so when I say you're all probably place makers I say that because you've all probably been involved in a project in some way that's gone about making a place so you may have been involved in painting a mural like this one here in Indy you could have been involved in a community garden you could have been involved in a potluck dinner this one's taking place on a housing estate in London you might have taken in the Sun in a park clips you might have walked the High Line you could have borrowed from a community library this one's in Charlottesville Virginia if you're passing in you fancy a read or you could have taken part in a pop-up event like this incredibly popular karaoke in Berlin what all of these place makings have in common is a love of place so where we live it might be a bit scruffy around the edges it may not function perhaps as we'd like it to do all the time but they are loved and this kind of place making work makes creators of all of us it's the doing of the making of the place is creative act now when I first came to Indianapolis in 2014 I was researching big car and this is their to factory based on in Garfield Park on my second day in Indianapolis I was asked a really tricky question and that was what is the magic of what we're doing what's that magic ingredient that gets people giving up their time again and again and again and getting hands-on in the making of their places and I had a hunch about what the answer might be and I'm going to go some way to answer for that to you here today but to do that I first going to go back a few years so this is where I grew up it's a tiny town in the West Country of the UK I grew up there in the 70s and 80s and I grew up there with a gay dad and in fact my dad passed away hiv/aids in the 90s and that was really hard our lives weren't often made easy because of those things and it's an incredibly remote place to and to be really honest I ran as fast as I could to the city and the city that I chose was brightened this is on the south coast of the UK and it's where I still live now and this is where the magic of place began to really come alive for me says Brighton was a place where it was okay for me to have a gay dad I could dress differently I could like different music I could be into the art I have friends from all over the world because Brighton is beautiful diverse and creative city was the city that cared for me and I began to care for it back is where I also began to do some of my first work bringing arts into places over the years I've gone on to use a certain amount of spectacle I'm always putting art into places where you wouldn't expect to see it and I often use interventions that you just see from the corner of your mind there I wanted to use that side for years so thank you for giving me the opportunity and the place making work I do it takes place at the scale of the sidewalk and it takes place across the whole of a city cause whole blocks whole neighborhoods across the whole of a city stretch what all of this hasn't no and it's my primary tool as a place maker and that's the tool of the voice it's the voice that articulates these ideas and it's a voice that powers them through interaction for me you see really essentially what placemaking comes down to it's about getting people together in their place and it's about getting them talking to each other when people start to tell stories of themselves or of their places they begin to understand their places better and they begin to understand what role they can have in changing those places for the better these conversations happen in what I call the hyperlocal so these had conversations happen in the here-and-now of where you are the slide that you're seeing as a conversation that artists and residents are having on a housing estate in London talking about its rapid rate imminent gentrification these conversations are a form of social horticulture and I'm going to give you an example now of what social horticulture is and how it can go about making change so this is art tunnel Smithfield in Dublin it's closed now unfortunately but when it was open it was a community art gallery and garden on a vacant strip of land in Dublin it was on a street on the north side of the city and it was the street that had a much maligned reputation for drug dealing and prostitution at night now essentially what the artists in the community did was co-create this space where they could come and gather they came here to talk this is the social quarter culture bit so when they were doing constantly doing the weeding and planting out the garden when they're involved in art projects in that space they were talking about Smithfield well it used to be like what it was like now the changes that they saw coming and they talked about what they wanted Smithfield to be now for some people it was enough that they just came out and met their neighbors for the first time and talk to them and get to know them and that is absolutely no small thing let's not forget that but what others went on to do is become really politically and civically active in their inviting their neighbourhood some people brought in a farm delivery service to the area others started and got involved in various different not inherited projects in the area others petition for some things to be brought in and also in protested about some of the things that were coming into the area too I saw exactly the same kind of process happen with the drawing shed on housing estates they worked in across London and I saw exactly the same kind of process happening here in Indianapolis with big car so the tools of placemaking they're undoubtedly the paintbrushes the hammers the garden trowel zuv all of this work and it takes place at a scale from where I'm standing now to across a whole of a city but I think biggest of all it's that intimate moment where you share food with your neighbors where you take a breather from doing the gardening or like here in Brighton with Sir Carlo where whole streets will take out chairs on to their pavements and they'll talk to their neighbors and they'll talk to their passers-by and this is where we're getting close to that magic of placemaking to work in this kind of project fosters something called place attachment very simply when you get involved in your place you begin to care for it you become attached to it and you begin to love it and you will enact that love sometimes through placemaking projects so a vacant plot of land like this this is in Dublin again but we see these plots absolutely all over the place all over the world a plot like this with the power of the voice and with that neighborliness in action to be turned into a library into a cafe it can become a meeting place and it can be a playground this again is this magic of place making where you as an individual join that community of others and you get involved in your place and you make changes in your place for the better now when we see images like this more and more often and when we may be the one in sapphire Khan's place facing down division in where we live and where so many of the issues that we're talking about neither a divisive calm down to issues of place I think more than ever we need to be talking to our neighbors getting to know them working with them getting involved in a places and this is where it comes back to you here now we all know what it's like to live in our city we all know the good of it and they're not so good at it as well and we all have voices and I think now is the time to be using these voices for the good of our community so we all have it in us to be place makers and this is my call to you now to get on out there and to get on doing it thank you very much you


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