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rP’s Graham Macdonald on Creativity Led Development

Graham Macdonald has been busy sharing research projects based on case studies in Tanna, Vanuatu and Medellin, Colombia. Each project focuses on the importance of cultural and regional context when transferring urban development policy across geographies.

Graham published Making Creativity Social: Exploring Alternative Creativity-Led Frameworks in Tanna, Vanuatu as a working paper for the Martin Prosperity Institute. The Institute, which is affiliated with the Rotman School at the University of Toronto, is the world’s leading think tank on the role of sub-national factors, including the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.

Graham’s paper explores conceptions of the creative city policy model as a panacea for urban economic development. Rather than focusing on the limitations of existing creative city policy agendas, he explores the potential of an alternative creative economy framework recognizes both inherent social qualities that may or may not be connected to the market, and context dependent community development goals through the documentation the feasibility phase of a creative arts and community development project underway in Tanna, Vanuatu.  You can read the paper here.

He has also recently presented at the both the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto and the North Van Urban Form in Vancouver on Medellin and the Rise of Social Urbanism. With a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and a rich and vibrant cultural history, Medellin has experienced informal settlement, poverty, and guerilla violence related to the drug trade. The presentation outlines how in recent years, the municipal government has been working hard to reverse some of these trends, through state investment in social infrastructure. The movement is called social urbanism and it is an emerging model that is spreading to other Latin American cities. You can view the presentation here.