Throughout 2014 Urban Idea hosted a series of events and programs highlighting the importance of art and design in city building. Hands-on activities involving professional artists engaging with community members, businesspeople, policymakers and more, examined physical space and considered options for creating positive change in our city and our public spaces. The Urban Idea Exchange in January inspired citizens with real-world examples of how the arts improve cities and generated possibilities for Winnipeg. City Builders youth camp taught teens to use art and design to change their communities for the better. The Creative Placemaking Challenge gave ordinary people the tools to transform some of Winnipeg’s forgotten spaces into hubs of activity for a day.

cpc_wordpressThe Creative Placemaking Challenge (CPC) puts the power of art to work using a LIGHTER, QUICKER, CHEAPER approach to neighbourhood development. While some places experiment with large-scale megaprojects, we’re taking the low-cost, high-impact route to alter the West Exchange District. The idea is to imagine, and then to realize, artistic projects that demonstrate how embedding art into the street can transform neighbourhoods. Drawing on the success of arts-focused alley revitalization projects in cities like Melbourne and Seattle, the CPC is a design competition that invites anyone to creatively re-imagine a public space.  Through an open call / juried process, participants will be given a limited budget and a window of time to prototype designs and install them in the Exchange District during 2014.

See pictures of the results as well as filmmaker Mike Maryniuk’s document of  the whole day here.

citybuilderscamp_webbannerCity Builders is a program for youth that employs art, design and experiential learning to help young people gain an understanding of how cities are built, planned and work. Using downtown Winnipeg as a classroom, hands-on creative workshops, experiential field trips, and presentations from community and civic leaders, youth participants will be invited to think critically about local urban sustainability issues and design creative projects proposing innovative solutions.

uix-save-the-date2 The Urban Idea Exchange is a conversation on Creative Placemaking in Winnipeg that will serve as a kickoff to the Year of Urban Ideas.  Aimed at anyone interested in art, design, and cities, we invite artists, architects, landscape architects, academics, designers, businesspeople, and government to attend.  It is a forum to talk about creative placemaking as concept, as policy, and as practice.  Keynotes from Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota) and Dan Maginn (El Dorado Studio, Kansas City) anchor the day but participants will be fully engaged throughout the day by taking part in discussions, round tables, and more. The Urban Idea Exchange took place on January 23.

Creative Placemaking

Visionary city planners and community development leaders know that the health and well-being of a city is ultimately measured by the quality of life enjoyed by its residents. Great cities provide residents with a great quality of life by creating urban environments that are dynamic, people-friendly and alive with creative energy.

Creative placemaking is a movement in city building that seeks to improve community and urban health by recognizing the important role that art, culture and design contribute to creating vibrant and sustainable urban public spaces.

The Team

Molly Johnson, Project Coordinator:  Molly holds an a MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Hons) in History in Art from the University of Victoria.  She has worked as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of City Planning at the University of Manitoba, as a Program and Policy Analyst for the Province of Manitoba’s Urban Development Branch, as the Policy Assistant for the City of Winnipeg’s Civic Environmental Committee, and as a Research Associate for the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg.  For several years she produced and hosted Living City Radio on the University of Manitoba’s campus and community radio station, 101.5 UMFM. Her other volunteer experience includes committee member of the City of Winnipeg’s Public Art Committee, and Communications Chair for the Manitoba Professional Planners Institute Executive. In 2008 she was a conference co-chair for the Planner’s Network Conference. Later that year she was a co-organizer of Winnipeg’s first Park(ing) Day installation.

Dominic Lloyd, Project Manager: Dominic is originally from the Yukon Territory where he worked in a number of capacities with several arts organizations including the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, the Dawson City International Short Film Festival, and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture.  He served as both Producer and Artistic Director of the Dawson City Music Festival from 1998 to 2004. In that year he relocated to Winnipeg to become Artistic Director of one of the country’s premier music venues, the West End Cultural Centre.  He held that position for nearly six years before joining the Winnipeg Arts Council as Project Manager for Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010, moving into the role of Manager of Programs and Arts Development in 2011. Throughout his career he has served on numerous arts and community boards, been a juror and advisor for agencies across the country, and presented at conferences in Canada and Australia.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian History and Political Science from Simon Fraser University.

The Year of Urban Ideas is a project of Urban Idea and the Winnipeg Arts Council with support from The Winnipeg Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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