Rural communities across the country have abundant natural beauty and a heritage of hard work. By bridging the gap in broadband capabilities, these communities are creating a new resource for their current residents and making themselves more competitive in the national economy.
Development can do great things for a city—as long as neighborhoods can keep their communities and their culture intact.
The 2016 LOCUS National Leadership Summit took place last week at the Algonquin Club of Boston, MA, bringing together the nation’s leading real estate developers, investors, and local elected officials from around the country. Participants shared ideas, created new business deals, discussed smart growth issues, and prepared themselves for the future of smart growth development.
Smart Growth America — along with our signature transportation program Transportation for America — is pleased to announce today the hiring of Ben Stone as director of arts and culture, a new position designed to lead the organization’s broad efforts to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture, and creative placemaking into neighborhood revitalization, equitable development, and transportation planning efforts.
For the past four-and-a-half years, Ben has served as the executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, a dynamic cultural district in Baltimore, MD. In that role, he helped make Station North a place that supports artists and attracts visitors and residents alike to the lively, creative community surrounding Baltimore’s Penn Station. (Station North was profiled briefly in Transportation for America’s recent online guidebook to creative placemaking, The Scenic Route.)
“Including the arts in neighborhood development can create well-rounded places that are powerful catalysts for smart, new, inclusive growth,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Ben has an incredible wealth of experience in this field, and we look forward to helping him share it with the local elected leaders, real estate developers, and advocates making neighborhoods great across the country.”
“We’re thrilled to bring someone of Ben’s caliber on board to help lead this emerging area of integrating local arts and culture to produce better projects and places through a better process,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “He’s a respected expert and leader who has on-the-ground experience with creative placemaking, an emerging approach to planning and building transportation projects that taps local culture to produce better projects through a better process.”
The National Endowment for the Arts just launched funding guidelines for Art Works, an update to the existing Grants for Arts Projects category, and Our Town, a new grant opportunity that supports creative placemaking projects in communities across the United States.