The necessity of public homeplace in urban revitalization

Timm-Bottos, J.

Public homeplaces are community sites of creativity, collaborative wellness and resistance which in the past have been given far too little attention, so little in fact that they have been written about as “a tradition that has no name” (Belenky et al. 1997). The current revitalization project, occurring in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, calls these spaces of dialogue and possibilities (Greene 1988), back into awareness as necessary locations to build community, nurture new types of leadership and to collectively question the way a city is produced. Albuquerque’s latest revitalization plan is based on a master developer’s vision, public and private investments, and entertainment strategies that, if successful, will result in a highly anticipated gentrification process attracting wealthy investors from other states into the central downtown corridor. This expensive process not only lacks accountability and citizen input but also, whether successful or not, negatively impacts people from lowest socioeconomic class who have traditionally made urban centers their home. This dissertation addresses a contemporary trend that is occurring in cities throughout the world and advocates for practical place based methods, specifically “public homeplaces” that respects people of all ages and
socioeconomic backgrounds to actively participate by constructing an art identity, developing a public voice and by collaboratively creating a shared public culture.

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