Towards Beauty and a Civics of Place: Notes on the Thriving Cities Project
Written with Joshua Yates, this article is part of an edited volume that offers the first comprehensive evaluation of creative placemaking in the US and UK (Routledge, 2018). It developed from a presentation I gave at the 2015 meeting of the Royal Geographic Society (UK) and updates the Beauty brief for Thriving Cities.
Our chapter proposes a new paradigm to address some of the central challenges of the creative placemaking movement: a framework of urban thriving based upon a model of human ecology. We introduce the paradigm as it emerged over five years of research and practice at the Thriving Cities Project; then highlight the role of ‘beauty’ (in an expanded sense) within this framework, in its potential to engender attitudes of care and commitment foundational to civic agency. In conclusion, we suggest that the intersection of aesthetics and civic agency - conceptualized in terms of placemaking as a ‘civics of place’ - as a promising area for future research.